The Establishment of the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi.
My Congressman, Pete Sessions, is now fully involved in the fight to expose the TRUTH about the actions of the Obama regime regarding the attack on our Diplomatic mission at Benghazi. Make no mistake, the Democrats will go into full defense mode in an effort to protect Barack Hussein Obama, Hillary Clinton and every other White House official involved in that terrible tragedy.
If this Committee does as it is expected to do, there is a very good chance that heads WILL roll. Ladies and Gentlemen, friends, family and readers; I stand in support of this effort!
On May 6, as Chairman of the House Rules Committee, I introduced, and the Committee adopted on May 7, H. Res. 567, legislation to form a select committee to investigate Benghazi. I am enclosing for your review a copy of the bill text for H. Res. 567. By the time you receive this letter, the House of Representatives will have completed its legislative work to form such a committee to carry on this vital investigation.
After the tragic attacks in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012, I believed the most prudent course of action was to utilize the full weight of Congressional oversight of our existing committees, so that Congress could get information quickly. The standing committees in the House have resources and expertise that can quickly be tapped, and they have done significant work on the Benghazi investigation.
The five standing House committees that have been investigating the Benghazi attacks for 18 months have done extraordinary work; using their subpoena power, holding dozens of hearings, and conducting hundreds of interviews. Without this work, we would not know much that we do today. For a comprehensive look at House Republicans’ entire investigation of Benghazi, please visit this website: http://www.gop.gov/benghazi/
One issue that I highlighted early in the process of this investigation was the need for enhanced coordination between committees. House Republicans have worked directly with committees to ensure an unsurpassed level of coordination. In August of 2013, we received a status report from the relevant committees to ensure that they have every tool at their disposal as they continued to work through their investigation. After receiving updates from the committees of jurisdiction, I continued to believe that the existing committee structure was best prepared to conduct the investigation.
While a select committee can be very useful in bringing enhanced public scrutiny to a situation, there are some drawbacks. Most notably, select committees take time to get up and running—Members have to be appointed, staff needs to be hired, and space to handle classified information must be acquired. However, as I have always said, if it became apparent that a select committee was necessary, I would be prepared to act swiftly to accomplish that goal. That time has come.
What Has Changed
House committees have worked diligently to find out what happened on the ground in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, and equally important what didn’t happen. Unfortunately, they have had to pursue their investigation with an unwilling partner in the Obama Administration.
While many documents have been provided to committees, it has taken far too long. On August 1, 2013, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) issued a subpoena for records previously made available for in camera review in response to repeated Committee requests for documents. Nearly one year later, the State Department continues to produce documents related to the subpoena. However, all documents have not been produced in compliance with the August 1, 2013 subpoena. For example, the State Department has applied additional, unilateral redactions to both classified and unclassified documents.
On April 17, 2014, an additional 276 documents, consisting of 779 pages were delivered to the Oversight and Government Reform Committee — many of which were heavily redacted. This is the same day that the State Department complied with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted by Judicial Watch. It is no coincidence that the documents were shared with Congress on the same day they were released to Judicial Watch. Furthermore, the versions of these documents provided to the Committee are in some cases more redacted than those provided to Judicial Watch. The “Ben Rhodes” email was turned over as part of this document dump. However, it took the State Department more than a year and a half after the attacks in Benghazi to turn over a document that they themselves describe as “in connection with the Committee’s investigation into the attacks on the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi.”
The actions by the Obama Administration in the wake of the Benghazi attacks have now expanded the scope of the congressional investigation that must occur. In addition to getting answers about what happened in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 and the Obama Administration’s response to the attacks, Congress must review how the Administration has responded to congressional inquiries, subpoenas, and information requests. The system of checks and balances envisioned by our founding fathers enables Congress to check and balance the executive branch. The House of Representatives is “the People’s House,” and as such, should never be circumvented by any Administration. While the FOIA is a powerful tool for ensuring transparency, an Administration should demonstrate equal capacity to comply with a congressional investigation.
A select committee will take time to open its doors, but it is now clear that we need to raise the level of public attention on the Benghazi attacks and the Obama Administration’s response to Congress. Therefore, I will ensure that this new select committee has the resources and tools that it needs to fulfill its mandate. Specifically, my proposal will:
1. Provide a clear mandate for a comprehensive investigation not limited by jurisdictional lines;
2. Provide subpoena and deposition authority to the chair of the select committee (modeled after the robust authority vested in the chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform);
3. Authorize staff (with appropriate security clearances) and committee funding; and
4. Require the Select Committee to report to the full House on its findings and recommendations.
The families and loved ones of these four dead Americans and the American people deserve the full truth and nothing less. Instead, this White House has chosen to put politics ahead of truth and national security interests. This evasiveness must end. Our investigation into the events of that September night will not end until we know the entire truth about what happened before, during, and after the attacks.
Today – May 8 – I proudly joined with my colleagues in passing H. Res. 567 by a vote of 232-186. If you are interested in reviewing my comments today on the House Floor regarding H. Res. 567, the following links will provide you access to them:
As your Congressman, please know that I will continue to monitor this situation and support all serious continued oversight and investigative efforts into Benghazi. I hope that this correspondence provides you with an informative update on our continued investigation. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me or my Legislative Director, Lindsay Pitts, at 202.225.2231, or Lindsay.Pitts@mail.house.gov I look forward to hearing from you in the future.
Someone has to lead the fight, by God let it be a Gentleman from Texas! Thank you for all the work you do Pete, I am proud to call you a friend and to have you as my Congressman!