The White House reportedly agreed on Friday to provide the Senate Intelligence Committee with documents on the terrorist attack against the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, last September.
Getting to the bottom of the Benghazi affair has been like pulling teeth ever since that fateful night that cost the lives of four brave Americans, including Christopher Stevens, the first U.S. ambassador to be killed in more than 30 years.
The promised documents center on the debate within the Administration over how to characterize the attack. Defense and State Department officials have acknowledged that they knew almost immediately that the assault was a well-orchestrated terrorist attack. Yet President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice all publicly peddled the misleading narrative that spontaneous demonstrations had erupted in Benghazi because of an anti-Islam video. Why? With whose help within the intelligence community was this fiction created?
Senator Lindsey Graham (R–SC) this time has threatened to block President Obama’s pick to lead the CIA, John Brennan, whose confirmation vote in the Senate Intelligence Committee is expected this week. “I want to know who the survivors are and for the appropriate committees to interview them,” Graham said. “We know it was clear from the beginning it was a terrorist attack. I want to know what kind of help they asked for.”
As a result of Graham’s delay of the confirmation of former Senator Chuck Hagel (R–NE) for Secretary of Defense, the White House admitted in a written statement that President Obama made no effort to contact the president of Libya for help the night of the seven-hour-long Benghazi attack.
Until Senators get the answers they want, they will have to keep up the pressure on the Obama Administration. The investigation in Libya appears to have stalled, and Senators have been barred from access to the survivors of the attack and State Department and CIA staff serving in Benghazi who were evacuated on September 12. Only the FBI interviewed the survivors, whose names are held secret.
The White House claims that it has already turned over more than 10,000 pages of Benghazi-related documents and produced witnesses and hours of testimony. That may be. Testimony of former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was contradictory. And dumping masses of unsorted documents is a specialty of the Obama Administration, making the investigation a needle-in-a-haystack search.
On Benghazi, we have yet to arrive at clarity, let alone accountability.