Benghazi Today: What Difference Does the Select Committee Make?

The travesty that was Benghazi has now been dragging on for two years due in large part to the deception of our current administration. Obtaining information regarding the sadistic assault that ended in the deaths of four Americans – former SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, and FSO Sean Smith – is less like pulling teeth and more like actually passing through the back of an armoire and finding oneself in Narnia. It’s fantastically impossible, and so much time is spent discerning truth from lies it has taken fact-checking to an entirely new level.

President Barack Obama, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, delivers a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House, Sept. 12, 2012, regarding the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
President Barack Obama, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, delivers a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House, Sept. 12, 2012, regarding the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

In reality, there seem to be two main players at fault: Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama. Hillary holds a heaping portion of blame for failure to send help to Benghazi; as Secretary of State, her job was to “Ensure[s] the protection of the U.S. Government to American citizens, property, and interests in foreign countries.” Of course, Obama is the only person capable of authorizing Cross Border Authority, which allows our military to take action on foreign soil. The players hold staggering power; who would dare cross them? John Boehner’s Republican-led select committee – hopefully.

The committee includes a stellar cast of Republicans: West-Point graduate Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), staunchly conservative Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), military supporter Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), Tea Party and Ten Commandments advocate Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) (the man who referred to the Obamas as “uppity”), and Rep. Peter Roskam (R-ILL), the man who put his own time and money into retrieving dog tags of American Vietnam War soldiers from the streets of Vietnam and returning them to families.

And then there’s the man heading the committee: Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC). Gowdy has impressive credentials, including years as a successful criminal prosecutor and a history of vehement defense of American rights and liberties. But it wasn’t until he rushed the podium in October 2013, during his second term, that he made the leap from respected conservative politician to fearless fighter for truth. In three minutes, Gowdy ripped apart the White House’s cover up of Benghazi, although he really said it in three sentences: “No one has been arrested, no one has been prosecuted, no one has been brought to justice,” he began. “I am not surprised the President of the United States called this a phony scandal, I’m not surprised Clinton asked ‘what difference does it make?’ I’m just surprised a lot of people bought it.” There’s the crux of the problem: the ignorance and blind trust of the American people.

Five Democrats were also appointed to the committee by Nancy Pelosi despite her claim the committee was “not necessary.” However, Democrat participation was deemed necessary by none other than Hillary Clinton. Hillary went out of her way to inform House Dems she’d like them to participate in the proceedings rather than leaving her open to what she called “enemy fire.” A Democrat close to Clinton labeled the committee’s goals a “political witch hunt.” Dems nominated include Intelligence Committee member and gun-control advocate Adam Schiff (D-CA), gun-control advocate Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA), carefully-placed Iraq War veteran Rep. Tammy Duckworth (who supports gun control and women in combat, saying she entered the military looking for “an equal opportunity”), gun-control and military-cuts supporter Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), and top Democrat member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who said “Republicans will attack Hillary Clinton by any means necessary.” It has been made crystal clear the entire purpose of the Democrat’s presence on the committee is not to help but to hinder.

Benghazi Committee

And although the Select Committee, which was specifically created to investigate Benghazi, announced plans to turn up the heat in September 2014, the permanent House Intelligence Committee made a disturbing announcement at the end of July. Their investigation, they said, showed there wasn’t any wrongdoing on the part of the administration. They admitted there were warnings of looming attacks, but felt lack of specific dates of attacks absolved the administration of guilt – apparently choosing to ignore threats of clear and present danger taking place in the days immediately preceding Benghazi. That seems fairly specific, doesn’t it?

Additionally, the permanent committee stated no stand down order was given by the administration, which is a sticky web: simply withholding Cross Border Authority effectively stayed everyone’s hands. Perhaps worst of all, they admit the way the White House handled it was “flawed” but don’t feel anyone should be blamed for the blatant lies. Their report was carefully worded; words have greater power than many believe, and in politics, proper phrasing is king. With the right words, poison oak becomes a luscious emerald leaf, Armalite rifles become assault rifles, and lies can be cast as truth.

The investigation meant to be the final word on Benghazi begins in earnest now, as Congress comes back from its August recess. But with the declassification of the permanent House Intelligence Committee’s report over the summer – a move most certainly meant to knock Gowdy’s hard-hitting select committee off course – what can we really expect?

The media refers to the Benghazi select committee as a “witch hunt.” Time and again, other committees have seemed to turn their backs on blatant evidence, instead tipping their hats to the White House. Gowdy says he wants Hillary Clinton and General Petraeus – who resigned under rather suspiciously timed poor circumstances – to testify. Obviously, the President himself is off the hook for any sort of testimony. Verbally, Gowdy remains firm, saying “This is going to be serious, fact-centric. There are not going to be leaks. There are not going to be selective releases.” It will not, he said, be a media circus, “If you want to get on the news, rob a bank.” And when pressured regarding the events of the summer and fall (think elections) he will not be dissuaded. “I’ve decided I’d rather be right than first, so we’re going to do it methodically, professionally. There is no timeline.”

We are left with a bit of a conundrum. Because, you see, it is the Democrats who truly hold the keys to the Benghazi timeline kingdom. There is an apparently stalwart team of Republicans leading the select committee, but the Democrats appointed by Pelosi have a decidedly antagonistic air. By attempting to paint the Republicans as nothing more than frenzied, witch-hunting schoolyard bullies looking for a scrap, Democrats are setting the stage for American doubt. This is not what it appears, they say, pay no attention to the shadowy figures behind the curtain. Is Hillary Clinton guilty of abandoning Americans in their most dire hour of need? Did Obama fail on a monumental scale by not giving Cross Border Authority? The questions are numerous, and the answers are hidden in shades of political gray.

There are no guarantees. There’s no way to know how successful the committee will be, despite Gowdy’s reputation and take-no-prisoners style. One thing is agreed upon by both sides of the media: Hillary’s involvement could easily reduce her presidential aspirations to nothing but rubble and ash. As for the President, it seems rather unlikely he will ever feel repercussions from his inaction on that day.

Vengeance may be the Lord’s, but justice belongs to the dead of Benghazi. That is the difference the truth makes.

Disclaimer: The opinions in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of this website. This author accepts all responsibility for the opinions and viewpoints in this article.

Katherine Ainsworth

Katherine Ainsworth

Katherine is a military and political journalist with a reputation for hard-hitting, no-holds-barred articles. Her career as a writer has immersed her in the military lifestyle and given her unique insights into the various branches of service. She is a firearms aficionado and has years of experience as a K9 SAR handler, and has volunteered with multiple support-our-troops charities for more than a decade. Katherine is passionate about military issues and feels supporting service members should be the top priority for all Americans. Her areas of expertise include the military, politics, history, firearms and canine issues.
Katherine Ainsworth
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