Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s congressional testimony (here and here) failed to deliver new information regarding the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. If anything, the hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee more or less offered Secretary Clinton an opportunity to say “good riddance” to Congress.
Some Members weren’t ready to let Secretary Clinton off the hook that easily. Senator Ron Johnson (R–WI) charged that the American public has been “misled that there were supposedly protests and then something sprang out of that, and an assault sprang out of that.” This led Clinton to dramatically respond, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”
Similarly, frustrated with the Obama Administration’s investigation, Senator John McCain (R–AZ), kicked off his questioning by saying, “For months after the Benghazi tragedy…there are many questions that are unanswered, and the answers frankly that you’ve given this morning are not satisfactory to me.”
During the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, Representative Jeff Duncan (R–SC) stated, “There was a request made, for more security, and it was denied on June 7th. And so, Madame Secretary, you let the consulate become a death trap. And that’s national security malpractice. You said you take responsibility, what does responsibility mean, Madam[sic] Secretary? You’re still in your job.”
Despite the grilling, political rhetoric from Congress does not make up for the creation of sound legislation that would prevent tragedies like the attack in Benghazi. To achieve this, a complete investigation is required.
Last December, The Heritage Foundation recommended the creation of a congressional select committee on Benghazi to examine the attack and determine what should be done to improve U.S. diplomatic security. And, earlier this month, Representative Frank Wolf (R–VA) reintroduced legislation (with 20 original co-sponsors) to create a House select committee to investigate the terrorist attack in Benghazi and the U.S. response.
Yesterday, Senator Rand Paul (R–KY) and Representative Duncan joined the call for further congressional oversight over the Benghazi attack by issuing a letter to House and Senate leadership. The forum for the proposed investigation was not specified.
Such initiatives are steps in the right direction. Furthermore, they demonstrate that while Secretary Clinton’s days at Foggy Bottom are numbered, questions regarding the Benghazi attack should still be answered.