JANUARY 14, 2014
It’s no coincidence that, days after prominent conservatives—including Judicial Watch—and family members of Benghazi victims demanded action and accountability, House leaders released classified files documenting the Obama administration’s lies and cover-up involving the terrorist attack.
On September 11, 2012 Islamic jihadists raided the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi, Libya. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, the first diplomat to be killed overseas in decades, and three other Americans were murdered in the violent incident. The Obama administration has worked hard to keep details of the attack—and the negligence that led to it—from the American public and Judicial Watch has gone to court and filed a number of public records requests to expose the truth. JW has also published two in-depth special reports on Benghazi, the last one on the first anniversary of the terrorist attack. Read the special reports here and here.
Last week JW joined forces with surviving Benghazi family members, U.S. military leaders and other top conservatives to call House Speaker John Boehner on the sad and pathetic job he’s doing investigating the tragedy. In a scathing letter, JW and the other signatories blast the Republican leader, demand action and accountability concerning the Benghazi terrorist attack and justice for the four murdered Americans. The group also demands that Boehner install a select committee to thoroughly investigate the atrocity. The letter, personally addressed to Boehner, received substantial media attention.
There’s little doubt that this public grassroots outrage over Republican leadership failures compelled House leaders to act. The selective leak includes 450 pages of sworn testimony delivered over several months by senior Pentagon officials in closed-door hearings conducted by the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) last year. The briefings were part of the committee’s examination of the actions of the military chain of command before, during and after the attack, according to a press release announcing the documents’ availability as well as an upcoming report summarizing the panel’s “conclusion.” The declassified files are available on the HASC website.
The previously classified testimony reveals that, minutes after the American compound in Benghazi came under assault, top defense officials were informed that it was a “terrorist attack” and not a spontaneous strike that started as a protest over a U.S.-made anti-Islam video as the Obama administration has said. General Carter Ham, who headed the Pentagon’s combat command (AFRICOM) with jurisdiction over Libya, testified that he broke the news about the unfolding attack to then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff. Shortly afterwards the two senior officials left the Pentagon to meet with the president.
The testimony is critical to documenting the Obama administration’s repeated lies and cover-up concerning Benghazi, but the material merely scratches the surface of the whole story of what really happened. It’s not a substitute for a special Select Committee on Benghazi with subpoena power, a capable staff of qualified and experienced investigators and the resources to conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation.
The importance of these terrible facts being revealed to the public is certainly appreciated, but it’s unfortunate that we were compelled to shame the Speaker and the rest of the Republican leadership into doing their sworn duty. We reiterate our demand for a Special Select Committee to further uncover the Obama administration’s shameful conduct and possible unlawful acts related to the Benghazi terrorist attack.
In the meantime, JW will continue investigating what really occurred in Benghazi. JW has a number of pending lawsuits and public-records requests related to the incident and it was JW that obtained the first photos depicting the devastating aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the U.S. diplomatic and CIA facilities in Benghazi as well as details of the inexperienced foreign company hired to protect the American compound. The State Department paid the virtually unknown British firm $794,264 for nearly 50,000 guard hours, according to the federal contract obtained in the course of JW’s ongoing Benghazi probe.
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