A Republican lawmaker is renewing his push for a select committee to investigate the Benghazi terror attack following the release of emails tying a White House aide to former U.N. ambassador Susan Rice’s controversial Sunday show statements about the attack.
Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, calling for a select committee to be established to conduct an investigation, interview Obama administration officials and hold public hearings on the probe.
“It is now abundantly clear that senior White House staff were directly involved in coordinating the messaging in response to the Benghazi attacks and were actively working to tie the reason to the infamous Internet video,” Wolf wrote Wednesday.
New emails indicate a White House adviser helped prep Rice for her Sunday show appearances and pushed the explanation linking the attack to an anti-Islamic film — and now, the White House is facing credibility questions after having downplayed their role in Rice’s “talking points.”
Read More – Smoking Gun Email
The worst excuse ever: The Rhodes memo debacle
The White House damage control on the latest batch of Benghazi emails is not going well. The White House’s belated release of the documents at the very least show it has been actively evading legitimate congressional requests for relevant information. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) issued a blistering statement:
Four Americans lost their lives in Benghazi, and this White House has gone to extraordinary lengths to mislead, obstruct, and obscure what actually took place. I am appalled to learn that the administration concealed relevant documents after the House subpoenaed all emails related to the misleading talking points. When four Americans die at the hands of terrorists, the families of the victims – and the American people – deserve the full, unvarnished truth and nothing less. Instead, this White House been callously dismissive of our efforts to get answers… The House has a constitutional obligation to carry out oversight of the administration, and the president has an obligation to cooperate. This evasiveness must end. Our investigation into the events of that September night is going to continue until this White House owns up to the truth – and until these terrorists are brought to justice.
As for the content of the Rhodes email, in a raucous back and forth with ABC News’s Jonathan Karl Jay Carney insisted that the instructions from Ben Rhodes issued on Sept. 14 to prepare then ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to go on multiple Sunday shows to stress the anti-Muslim video and to deny this represented a presidential lapse didn’t refer to Benghazi.
Read More – Worst White House Excuse Ever
The Missing Benghazi Email
Most of the media refuses to cover what happened in Benghazi in 2012, and Congressional Republicans have been less than skillful in their probes. But the story isn’t going away despite the best efforts of the Obama Administration and the Hillary for President campaign.
The latest revelation comes from White House emails in the days after the September 11, 2012 terrorist strike on the U.S. mission in Libya’s second largest city. These emails weren’t included last year in what the Administration claimed was a complete set of documents about its handling of the attack and its aftermath. They were released Tuesday after the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request. We can see why the Administration tried to keep them under wraps.
A September 14, 2012 email from Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, sets out the Administration’s view of the cause of the Benghazi attacks. He wrote it to prepare U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. and current national security adviser Susan Rice for her appearances on the Sunday news shows two days later. As Mr. Rhodes wrote, the Administration wanted her “to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”
In fact the attack on the diplomatic compound and CIA annex was a planned and well-coordinated assault by Islamist groups with ties to al Qaeda that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Within hours, State and CIA officials at the Embassy in Tripoli, Libya’s president and video footage made that clear. Yet the Administration settled on deceptive spin and stuck to it for over a week.
Top Intel Chief Testifies
Testifying in front of a House Oversight Committee hearing Thursday on Capitol Hill, retired Air Force Brigadier General Robert Lovell said the military should have and could have done more to help Americans who were killed in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. Lovell is the former deputy director for intelligence at Africa Command. His testimony today is the first testimony from a member of the military who was at Africa Command during the time of the Benghazi attack on the U.S consulate. [Bolding is mine]
“Many with firsthand knowledge have recounted the heroism displayed by the brave Americans in Benghazi that night. They fought the way they trained. That is in the record. Outside of Libya there were discussions that churned on about what we should do. These elements also fought the way they were trained. Specifically, the predisposition to interagency influence had the military structure—in the spirit of expeditionary government support—waiting for a request for assistance from the State Department. There are accounts of time, space and capability discussions of the question, could we have gotten there in time to make a difference. Well, the discussion is not in the “could or could not” in relation to time, space and capability—the point is we should have tried. As another saying goes: “Always move to the sound of the guns,” Lovell said. “It is with a sense of duty as a retired General officer that I respectfully submit these thoughts and perspectives.”
Lovell also confirmed again that the 9/11 Benghazi attack was not a result of a demonstration but instead was a well planned out assault and said the situation of holding back help made the military feel “desperate.”
“The military should have made a response of some sort,” he said.