The head of the House select committee investigating the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, on Wednesday defended the decision to continue probing the events surrounding the deadly assault.
“To those who believe it is time to move on, that there is nothing left to discover, that all questions have been asked and answered, that we have learned the lessons to be learned — we have heard that before,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said in his opening statement. “And yet the attacks and the tragedies keep coming.”
“Some question the need for this committee. I respect your right to disagree, but the mark of a professional, indeed the mark of character, is to do a good job even if you do not think the task should have been assigned in the first place,” he added.
Gowdy noted that the 2012 attack was not the first time a diplomatic outpost had come under siege, citing instances in Beirut, Kenya and Tanzania.
Gowdy said it was “stunning to see the similarities” between the security recommendations made in the wake of those attacks and the ones made after the Benghazi attack.
“We do not suffer from a lack of recommendations. We do not suffer from a lack of boards, commissions and blue ribbon panels. We suffer from a lack of implementing and enacting those recommendations. That must end,” he said.
The panel’s inaugural hearing will focus on the State Department’s Accountability Review Board recommendations, and how well they have been implemented in the wake of the 2012 attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Democrats initially considered boycotting the process when the panel was created in May, perceiving it to be a politically motivated way to attack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and fire up the GOP base ahead of the midterm elections.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the top Democrat on the panel, said the investigation marked a “transformational moment” for all involved.
He said the examination should cause lawmakers to “stop and pause” and make sure the security at U.S. diplomatic outposts is improved going forward.
The 12-member panel is set to hear testimony from Greg Starr, assistant secretary for diplomatic security for the State Department; Mark Sullivan, chairman of the Independent Panel on Best Practices and former U.S. Secret Service director; and Todd Keil a member of the Independent Panel on Best Practices and a former Homeland Security Department assistant secretary.
[by Martin Matishak, writing for THE HILL]
As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by
NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis