Rumors of the disappearance of the Benghazi scandal are vastly premature. This week, Special Forces veterans gathered on Capitol Hill to unveil a 60-foot scroll of signatures demanding a discharge petition for legislation authorizing a House select committee to investigate Benghazi.
In April, appearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Secretary of State John Kerry promised to clear the air and make survivors of Benghazi available for congressional questioning. Though a few have bravely come forward (at the peril of professional retaliation, one might add), little firsthand testimony of the attack has come out. Members of Congress have charged that State Department and CIA witnesses continue to be intimidated and warned against testifying, resulting in the postponement of two hearings planned for last week.
Four basic questions still have to be answered before any Benghazi investigation can be considered closed and the lessons learned:
- What counterterrorism and early warning measures were in place to proactively address security threats? To learn how to prevent attacks against U.S. overseas facilities in the future, it is necessary to know what counterterrorism efforts, if any, were undertaken to reduce the threat of an attack in the first place.
- What risk assessments were performed and what risk mitigation measures were adopted prior to the attack? It is vital to understand how the State Department evaluated risk and how it elected to mitigate that risk.
- What contingency planning was undertaken and exercised to respond to armed assaults against U.S. facilities in Benghazi? In order to fully assess the response to the Benghazi attack, it is important to assess what contingency plans were in place, how developed they were, and whether they were exercised or implemented.
- How is the interagency response to the incident organized and managed? A complete examination of the U.S. response should address the command, control, and coordination of efforts to organize and integrate interagency efforts after the threat in Benghazi became apparent.
Unanswered questions, total lack of accountability, and zero punishment or retaliation for the four Americans murdered in Benghazi 10 months ago continue to outrage Members of Congress—and appropriately so.
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