Hon. John Boehner
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Mr. Speaker:
As former military, intelligence and national security officials with extensive experience in security policy and practice, we are concerned about the American people’s apparently serious loss of confidence in the institutions of their government. One factor contributing to this alienation has been the failure of those institutions to respond appropriately to the murderous jihadist attacks in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. They rightly expect, at an absolute minimum, that Congress will ensure accountability for those responsible.
As you are well aware, our country is nearing the first anniversary of the assaults on the Special Mission Compound and CIA Annex in Benghazi. To date, however, the five House committees that share jurisdiction have held only a small number of mostly less-than-illuminating hearings into the policies that led to, and the events that occurred during and after, the murder of four of our countrymen and the wounding of many more.
We appreciate that the chairmen of these committees produced four months ago a joint “interim report.” Yet, its authors acknowledged that they did not have answers to many crucial national security questions. Worse, as your colleague, Rep. Frank Wolf, has established in a succession of speeches delivered on the House floor in the interval, we are no closer today to knowing those answers. (Attached please find a list of the illustrative outstanding questions Congressman Wolf has highlighted.)
In addition, no timeframe has been publicly announced for going beyond the interim report or holding additional hearings toward that end. This is particularly troubling in light of press accounts that the survivors of the Benghazi attacks are being intimidated and risk job action should they come forward with their eye-witness accounts. If Congress does not afford them an opportunity to do so without fear of retaliation by issuing subpoenas for their testimony, it will be complicit in precluding their help in seeing justice served – and in denying the American people the full accounting to which they are entitled.
We believe an ample chance has been afforded for the “regular order” to operate in investigating Benghazigate. It has failed to do so. Now is the time for a select committee to be established with a mandate to draw upon the five committee’s existing investigative resources and results to date and to complete – if possible by year’s end – the necessary, thorough and comprehensive inquiry. This approach can alleviate concerns about undue costs and further delay in convening a select committee.
Mr. Speaker, the survivors want to tell their stories and correct the record. Two different books based on their stories are reportedly in the works. If the American people learn what happened from a published account rather than from those charged with congressional oversight, the perception of a cover-up – or at least a serious dereliction of duty – is inevitable.
Our republic is predicated on the trust of the governed in those they choose to represent them. We must not allow the jihadists who have thus far paid no price for killing Ambassador Stevens, murdering three of his comrades and afflicting the lives of so many others to do violence as well to our people’s confidence in their constitutional form of government.
For all these reasons, we call upon you to establish without further delay a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attacks.
Hon. Michael B. Mukasey, former Attorney General of the United States
Admiral James “Ace” Lyons, US Navy (Ret.), former Commander-in-Chief, US Pacific Fleet
General Frederick J. Kroesen, US Army (Ret.), former Vice Chief of Staff, US Army
Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin, US Army (Ret.), former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence)
Lieutenant General Harry Edward Soyster, US Army (Ret.), former Director, Defense Intelligence Agency
Ambassador Henry Cooper, former Chief Negotiator, Defense and Space Talks, former Director, Strategic Defense Initiative
Major General Paul E. Vallely, US Army (Ret.), former Deputy Commander, US Army Forces Pacific
Hon. Tidal McCoy, former Secretary of the Air Force (Acting)
Lieutenant Colonel Allen West, US Army (Ret.), former Member of Congress
Hon. Joseph E. Schmitz, former Inspector General, Department of Defense
Hon. Michelle Van Cleave, former National Counterintelligence Executive
Vice Adm. Robert Monroe, US Navy (Ret.), former Director, Defense Nuclear Agency
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy (Acting)
A Selection of Outstanding Questions Concerning the Attacks in Benghazi as Posed by
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) on the Floor of the U.S. House of Representatives
Question of the Day #1
Where are the Benghazi survivors?
Question of the Day #2
Which agency was responsible for vetting the Libyan security guards at the U.S. consulate?
Question of the Day #3
How many Benghazi survivors were forced to sign Non-Disclosure agreements?
Question of the Day #4
Why haven’t we applied pressure to countries refusing to allow the FBI to access the terrorists responsible for the attack?
Question of the Day #5
Why was the CIA’s security team repeatedly ordered to “stand down” after the attack began?
Question of the Day #6
Why did Gen. [Carter] Ham speak publicly about the military’s response at a forum in Aspen, Colorado – where tickets start at $1,200 – yet his testimony before Congress was behind closed doors?
Question of the Day #7
Ambassador Stevens made several calls for help to nearby consulates. Which foreign consulates did he call? How did those consulates respond?
Question of the Day #8
What happened in Washington on the night of the attack and in the days to follow?
Question of the Day #9
Who are the anonymous senior administration officials who admitted “mistakes” in their handling of the attack to CBS News?
Question of the Day #10
Why was there a facility operated by the CIA in Benghazi?
Question of the Day #11
Who in the White House knew what was going on in the CIA annex in Benghazi?
Question of the Day #12
Why are these heroes being told not talk? What is the administration afraid of?
What is it protecting?