Bob Goodlatte: Seeking answers on Benghazi

bob-goodlatte-afp2Congressional efforts to uncover more details about the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012 continue. Last week, as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, I released a report as part of an ongoing review of the events that led to the death of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Like most Americans, I was deeply disturbed by the attack in Benghazi. Also very troubling was the response to the attack by the Obama Administration. Since the Benghazi attack, the President and his Administration have not been forthright with Congress and the American people about the cause of the attack and the Administration’s prior knowledge of security concerns in Libya. Because of the conflicting information and outright stonewalling from the State Department, the House Committees on the Judiciary, Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight and Government Reform took action to perform the necessary oversight and conduct a comprehensive review of all the available data in order to determine what happened before, during, and after the Benghazi attack. This review is an important first step in shedding light on the attack. The findings help to identify the pieces of the puzzle that are still missing and those that need further investigation. More can and must be done.

Read the full report: Interim Progress Report on Benghazi

Many questions remain surrounding the Administration’s failure to respond to repeated requests for additional security in Libya. The report finds that despite knowledge that the threat environment was high and the Benghazi compound was vulnerable, the State Department continued to systematically withdraw security personnel. There are also questions about the Administration’s decision to initially communicate to the American people that the attacks stemmed from a demonstration inspired by a YouTube video rather than revealing the likely al-Qa’ida connections of the parties responsible. In addition to the report, I have sent a letter to President Obama requesting the draft talking points used by Ambassador Susan Rice on television on September 16, 2012 regarding the cause of the attacks, as well as email traffic leading up to the final version of those talking points.

This first portion of the review has taken time because we wanted to get it right to prevent such an attack on Americans in the future, not to make political hay for partisan purposes. This report will continue to be updated as the committees with jurisdiction continue their investigations.

Acts of terrorism against the United States will not be tolerated. I will continue to investigate this terrorist attack and demand that the Administration hold accountable, with appropriate disciplinary actions, those who made these poor and costly decisions. The American people and the families of the victims deserve answers.

Bob Goodlatte represents the Sixth District in the U.S. Congress.

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