Skip to comments.SEPTEMBER 11, 2012, ATTACK ON BENGHAZI (House of Representatives - February 11, 2014)
Posted on 02/15/2014 8:25:08 PM PST by smoothsailing
SEPTEMBER 11, 2012, ATTACK ON BENGHAZI
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of January 3, 2013, the Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Minnesota (Mrs. Bachmann) for 30 minutes.
Mrs. BACHMANN. Mr. Speaker, I thank you for recognizing me for 30 minutes to speak on a topic, no matter where I go or what I speak on or if I am being interviewed somewhere, I am not the only one, it is other Members of Congress, too. This isn't a Republican issue. This is a bipartisan issue that Republicans and Democrats, Mr. Speaker, confront wherever we go across the United States. I think that it has to do with the fact that Americans cannot countenance the fact that, when we had people who are serving us in harm's way, it appears that the United States of America, in one of the rarest occasions that anyone can recall, wasn't there for those who were serving us on foreign lines.
What I am speaking of, Mr. Speaker, is the night of September 11, 2012, what is known as ``Benghazi.'' People still say to us, Mr. Speaker--again, Republicans and Democrats alike, because this is clearly a bipartisan issue. They say to us, when will we get the definitive report on Benghazi? When will we get some answers on what happened on that night, September 11, 2012? Because no American citizen should go and serve her country and not be protected by the Nation that sent her there.
Those who were killed that evening: Ambassador Chris Stevens, the first American ambassador to be killed in 30 years in the line of duty; Sean Smith, who was there that evening with our ambassador; and then also two men who gave their lives trying to protect our ambassador, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. They weren't on the scene very long when they finally arrived in Benghazi.
The Senate intelligence report that came out said that perhaps 15 minutes had lapsed by the time they arrived on the scene until they were murdered by a sophisticated mortar fire on the roof of the annex.
Well, let's go back a little bit, Mr. Speaker. Let's take a look of what we know to be true so far.
We have had two reports that have been issued. One is from the Senate Intelligence Committee. I commend every American to go to the Senate Intelligence Committee Web site and download that report, read it for yourself, share it with your friends, share it with your family, and you will be shocked at what you find in these findings.
The media didn't pick it up. The report came out, it is true. It was reported in the media, it is true, that there had been a report, but what the findings said about the lack of management and the lack of accountability coming out of the White House and the State Department, quite literally coming to the very doorstep of the President of the United States and of the Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Mr. Speaker, I think it is shocking, and shocking is the fact that to this day there have virtually been no firings at the State Department for what happened at Benghazi, despite the fact of the report that was issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee and despite the fact that this week the House Foreign Affairs Committee issued another report after another investigation of what occurred at Benghazi. You see, there was a report, Mr. Speaker, that was issued prior to this one. It was the Benghazi Accountability Review Board.
It is very curious that this Benghazi Accountability Review Board failed to interview the senior-most decisionmakers in the Department of State. The facility in Benghazi, the compound where Chris Stevens and Sean Smith lost their lives, that particular compound is managed by the State Department; it is run by the State Department.
I would like to go over some of the findings this evening. In the minutes that we have together, I would like to go over some of the findings that were issued in this report. As I urge my fellow citizens in the United States to go to the Senate Intelligence Committee and read the damming report and the conclusions of that report, I also encourage my fellow citizens to go to the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs and download the report that was just issued this week also on Benghazi. The report is entitled, Mr. Speaker, Benghazi: Where is the State Department Accountability? Majority Staff Report, House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee is a Representative from the State of California, Mr. Ed Royce. Mr. Ed Royce said in September of 2013, the State Department cannot have a culture of accountability if no one, literally no one, is held accountable for the mismanagement and poor leadership of the Accountability Review Board it self-identified. In other words, a report which, in my mind, Mr. Speaker, was woefully inadequate in investigating Benghazi, what we will call the ARB, the Accountability Review Board, even that report said there were deficiencies in accountability at the State Department. We know there was woeful inadequacy, and this is something that has to be addressed.
I call on members of the media, Wake up. Take a look at what the American people want to know, and that is answers, answers about what led up to the night of September 11, 2013, in Benghazi. Were there alerts? Were there reports? Did we have any idea that this tragedy was going to occur? Absolutely we do. That is what this report shows from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
What happened that night? What did the President of the United States do? Why is it that the media has absolutely no curiosity when it comes to where the President of the United States was that evening when the battle ensued? It actually wasn't evening. In Washington, D.C., it was 3:40 in the afternoon.
In the election that occurred in 2008, there were two Democrat candidates. There was Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama who were vying to become the nominee of the Democrat Party. One particular commercial was aired by Hillary Rodham Clinton. It was famously called ``the 3 a.m. commercial,'' and the question that the ad asked is: Who would be the person that you want to answer the phone at 3 in the morning if a call comes for a tragedy?--inferring a foreign policy tragedy.
Well, the call did come, unfortunately, tragically, but it didn't come at 3 in the morning. It came at 3 in the afternoon. To be precise, Mr. Speaker, that call came in at 3:40 in the afternoon from a desperate security officer in Benghazi inside the U.S. compound who picked up the phone and made a call to the desk that he was to report to. That call immediately was transferred to the appropriate channels. Literally, Mr. Speaker, within minutes of the attack on the compound in Benghazi the President of the United States was informed not only that our American compound was under attack in what can only be called one of the greatest hellholes of the world, but he was also informed that our ambassador went missing and other Americans, as well.
What would a Commander in Chief do? What did our Commander in Chief do? I don't know. As a Member of Congress, I don't know where our Commander in Chief was that night. I don't know as a Member of Congress what our Commander in Chief was doing that night.
I do know, again, in 2008 Hillary Rodham Clinton said she would be the individual who should appropriately take that call. She was the Secretary of State at that time on September 11, 2012. Where was the Secretary of State? She was here in Washington, D.C. What did she do when that phone call came in? She has testified before the United States Congress and answered questions.
But let's take and review again, for the few moments that we have, what this report states about that infamous evening. To understand anything this tragic, Mr. Speaker, we need to understand the context of the time. That is what this report begins to lay out, the context.
We know that in 2011, in May, our brave United States Special Forces took out the menace and the head of the al Qaeda organization, Osama Bin Laden. We are extremely grateful for the work that they did.
But despite that blow to al Qaeda's network, al Qaeda wasn't done, and al Qaeda still isn't done today. Al Qaeda's influence continued to spread, and it spread well beyond Afghanistan and well beyond Pakistan. It had spread into the area of northern Africa.
There is a disturbing trend that occurred in Libya. There was a concern led by our President of the United States, Barack Obama. He stated that the United States needed to unilaterally go in to Libya and begin bombing.
The leader of Libya was a man named Muammar Qadhafi. He had been the head of Libya for a number of years. He is not a good actor. He is not someone that the United States would consider a friend. As a matter of fact, we had discovered that Qadhafi was hoping to start a nuclear program in Libya. Events ensued and that program was stopped.
Qadhafi changed his ways, so to speak, and Qadhafi actually became a partner in fighting the global war on terror and was, in fact, jailing Islamic terrorists in parts of Libya. Qadhafi was acting in this manner, and yet at that time, President Obama felt that he needed to go in and bomb Qadhafi.
I severely disagreed with President Obama at the time, Mr. Speaker. This was the wrong action for the United States to take. President Obama didn't come to this body. He didn't seek permission from the United States Congress to declare war on Libya, Libya which had not declared war on the United States. But President Obama literally sent in United States airplanes and began bombing Libya.
At the time, Mr. Speaker, I was running to become President of the United States. At that time, I stated I was unalterably opposed to President Obama's policy. We should not be bombing in Libya, Mr. Speaker. That is what I said at the time. Why? Because we already knew that, especially in the eastern part of Libya, this was the number one area where people were recruited, terrorists were recruited, to come and kill American soldiers in Iraq. This was also training grounds and training camps for al Qaeda and other terrorist forces in eastern Libya.
You see, Mr. Speaker, if President Obama went forward--I said at the time--and bombed Libya and created instability, the question would be: Who would take over for Muammar Qadhafi? Who would fill the leadership void? The only competing power structure was of terrorist forces. Arguably--I said at the time, Mr. Speaker--we could even conceivably see al Qaeda come in to fill the void.
Libya is a nation that is not a poor nation. They have oil revenues that finance that country. I was there recently, speaking with the prime minister and with the head of the justice ministry and also with the foreign affairs ministry. This is a nation that has a great deal of infrastructure, particularly in the Tripoli area, and there are revenues that have come in.
So, if the United States were to go in, as President Obama wanted to do and did, in fact, do in Libya, we could see that there would be bombing, destabilization and that there would be a fight for power. We could see terrorist elements come in, those elements that would be in line with the goals and objectives of al Qaeda, and we could see oil revenues used and go into the pockets of those engaged in terror in order to continue to finance global terrorist activities.
Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, this is exactly what has happened in this region. That is what President Obama's foreign policy in Libya led to-- to terrorists being on the march--and that is the context of the time that led up to that infamous night, September 11, 2012.
In that disturbing trend that was occurring in Libya after a near total collapse after President Obama's ill-timed and unfortunate bombing in Libya, in June of 2012, there were nearly 1,000 Islamist militants who had converged on the courthouse in downtown Benghazi. They came in one night with 150 to 200 vehicles. For 2 days, they had a rally that was sponsored by the terrorist organization known as Ansar al-Sharia. This was in June of 2012, just a few months before September 11.
After this major rally that occurred and also in June of 2012, an improvised explosive device--what we call an ``IED''--blew a hole in the wall that surrounded this very same compound where Chris Stevens was tragically murdered on September 11. So, in June, there was a terrorist explosion that occurred just months before the attack on our compound, but that was the second explosion and attack that occurred on our compound. That was the second attack on that compound.
Did we have notice? We absolutely had notice prior to that time with that second attack.
Elsewhere in Benghazi, the United Kingdom--our closest ally and intelligence English-speaking partner--shuttered their office. Their staff withdrew after a rocket-propelled grenade attacked the British Ambassador's convoy and two security officers were injured. It wasn't just the U.K. that pulled out of Benghazi, Mr. Speaker. The United Nations pulled out, and the International Red Cross pulled out. The U.S. flag was one of the only Western flags that remained flying in Benghazi.
Did we know? Did Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton know? Did President Barack Obama know that Benghazi was in a terribly precarious state leading up to his reelection in the fall of 2012? Absolutely, they knew what a precarious situation this was, because it was our U.S. intelligence agencies that did their jobs.
What have the investigations shown? U.S. intelligence agencies did their jobs. They extensively warned not only President Obama but also Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that there was a deteriorating security environment in eastern Libya, including the expanding operation of al Qaeda in that region and that it mounted a significant risk to United States' personnel and to United States' facilities.
You see, this is the first question that needs to be addressed:
Did the President of the United States know this was a volatile situation? The answer is, undoubtedly, ``yes.''
Did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have ample warning? Did she know that this was a real concern that Benghazi could potentially be under attack? The answer is, without a doubt, absolutely, yes, she did.
As a matter of fact, it was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, herself, who stated in testimony before Congress that she well understood and was certainly aware of this reporting by our intelligence community as well as the fact that extremists claiming to be affiliated with al Qaeda were active in the area in Benghazi. Still, after the United Kingdom pulled out and left, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the decision that the United States would remain. After the United Nations pulled out, Secretary of State Clinton made the decision the United States would remain. After the International Red Cross pulled out, Secretary of State Clinton made the decision the United States and our Ambassador would stay and remain in a facility that was not secure to vulnerable attacks.
As a matter of fact, the United States taxpayers paid for hundreds of analytical reports that were done and completed by our intelligence services that provided strategic warning that militias and terrorists and affiliated groups had not only the capacity but the intent to strike the United States and Western facilities and personnel in Libya. They could, in fact, do that. In fact, we even had a report that was entitled in June of 2012: ``Libya terrorists now targeting U.S. and Western interests.''
Could we have been any more clear? Could the Intelligence Committee have been any more clear? They issued a bulletin to our President and to our Secretary of State, ``Libya terrorists now targeting U.S. and Western interests,'' and still they made the decision that our vulnerable facility would remain open.
Before and after these attacks, a lieutenant colonel in our military named Andrew Wood appealed to Washington for added security in Benghazi. He knew. He was a military man. Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood led a U.S. military team. He asked for supplemental diplomatic security in Libya, and he recommended that the State Department consider pulling out of Benghazi altogether after the U.K. left and the U.N. left and the International Red Cross left--but his warnings weren't heeded. In fact, tragically, his warnings went unheeded.
Despite the growing danger in Libya, State Department officials in Washington denied the request made by Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood. When Andrew Wood said that we should get out of Benghazi, he was told no. He said, If we are going to stay in Benghazi, at least add more security. Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood was denied. He was told, No, we are not going to give you more security in Benghazi. In fact, they took away security in Benghazi. This was after the compound was attacked with an IED explosive device. This was after a rocket- propelled grenade was fired at the British Ambassador's convoy and the U.K. left and the International Red Cross left.
Numerous incidents--in fact, 16 different terror incidents--occurred in 2012. Despite the pleas from the military for more security, Secretary of State Clinton, as the Secretary of State, did not give in to those requests. The President of the United States did not give in to the requests for additional security, and yet our Ambassador remained on that infamous night of September 11, 2012, without adequate security. It was a tragic loss of life, I believe a preventable loss of life.
What is even worse from that consequence, if there can be anything worse than this loss of life, is that that very action emboldened America's enemies. Our adversaries saw what we did. In the midst of this heightened terrorist activity, they saw we did nothing to protect our Ambassador. When they killed our Ambassador that night, they saw exactly how the United States responded. We did not have military on the ground.
I am not faulting our military. Mr. Speaker, what I am faulting and what I am suggesting is that the President of the United States and the Secretary of State, despite ample warning, did not put the United States military on high alert in this volatile region. What other region of the Earth besides Afghanistan would have had this level of violence on that particular night, especially after there were already protests going on in nearby Cairo and especially after threats had been made by terrorists of retaliatory actions in the Libya region?
It is shocking to me, Mr. Speaker--shocking--that the President of the United States, despite this knowledge, failed to do anything in response to the pleas for additional security or, at a minimum, pull our Ambassador out of that region. Yes, we have answers. We have answers, and we still have more questions.
Committee members on the Foreign Affairs Committee demanded that appropriate State Department officials be held accountable for these decisions, as they rightly should, so that these mistakes wouldn't be repeated, yet neither the White House nor the State Department has stepped up to the responsibility. Instead, the accountability review board, which did the first review, was seriously deficient. It failed to even comment on the actions of our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or of the most senior officials in the State Department.
Now, why is this? Could it be because Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, herself, selected four out of the five review members?
You see, isn't it convenient, Mr. Speaker, when it is our Secretary of State who gets to decide who sits on her own accountability review board, overlooking the actions of what happened on that infamous night? She selected four out of the five who sat on that phony review board.
Those are my words, no one else's.
So, when she is selecting four out of five of those who are going to review potentially her actions, is it any wonder then, Mr. Speaker, that this accountability review board, if that is what you want to call it, decided: ``We don't think that we will even interview Secretary of State Clinton. We don't think we need to talk to her. We don't think we need to talk to any of the senior decisionmakers in the State Department. Oh, no.'' So they chose to bypass even interviewing those who were the decisionmakers.
Mr. Speaker, that sounds a lot to me like the IRS, after this terrible scandal that is going on in the IRS. Where they appear to be, in a corrupt manner, trying to deny to conservative tea party organizations their tax-exempt status, the IRS also decided not to interview any of the victims.
How can you have an investigation of the IRS when they don't even interview the victims? How can you have an accountability review board if you don't even interview the decisionmakers in the State Department, including the Secretary of State and her top advisors?
This is embarrassing, if it weren't even more tragic, because, again, we are talking about the unprecedented loss of life of four Americans, including our Ambassador.
Secretary of State Clinton, herself, championed the United States' going into Libya going back to as early as 2011. She testified before the committee that she was engaged in the issues relating to the deteriorating threat environment in Libya.
That is pretty interesting, Mr. Speaker. You see, both Hillary Rodham Clinton--the Secretary of State--and President Obama believed that the United States of America unilaterally needed to go into Libya and start bombing.
That was their agreed-upon decision, and when the chips were down and when the threat environment was deteriorating in Libya and Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood said, Hey, we've got a problem here in Benghazi and we've got to either pull out or we have to have more security, the Secretary of State and those who serve under her don't heed those warnings. Not only do they not pull out of Benghazi, but they don't give the increased security that was required to keep the Americans who were serving us safe. When they do that, then that is a problem.
What is an additional problem, Mr. Speaker, is the fact that at the State Department not one employee was fired or even missed a paycheck over what happened in Benghazi. I would imagine, Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of Americans that don't know that; that despite this tragedy, despite this lack of accountability, of anyone being held responsible-- Oh, yes, we heard that there were four people who were going to lose their jobs. My foot, Mr. Speaker. Four people didn't lose their jobs at the State Department. Two were reassigned, one retired, and another one had another similar situation. No one was fired. No one even missed a paycheck.
What we need to do, Mr. Speaker, is listen to the good commonsense of the American people who are demanding answers.
What in the world happened in this lead-up before Benghazi?
We need to hold the Secretary of State and the President accountable for what they knew and why they failed to make the important commonsense decisions that any Commander in Chief should make.
We need to ask that second question, What in the world was the President of the United States doing that night when the attack happened in Benghazi? For over 8 hours, Americans were under attack and no one came to their aid or assistance, other than those who were at the annex who came and were willing to lay down their lives, and those who came from Tripoli. It took them hours and hours, but they were finally able to come to assist their comrades in arms.
Then also the third question that needs to be addressed, Mr. Speaker, is this: What happened after that night in Benghazi? Why did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, why did President Barack Obama continue to force the false fiction that there was a video that no one saw was the cause for a spontaneous outbreak that led to the deaths of these four Americans in Benghazi?
We have listened to people who were on the ground in Benghazi. They stated overwhelmingly that this attack was not spontaneous. It was planned. Yet for weeks afterwards, the President of the United States, as late as September 25, when he went to the United Nations, made a statement--this was after four Americans were killed--the President of the United States said this at the U.N.:
The future does not belong to those who insult the prophet.
Those were his words.
We need to get answers. Again, I encourage the American people, Mr. Speaker, to read this valuable report issued this week on Benghazi by the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the House of Representatives.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Video of Rep. Michele Bachmann's floor speech in it's entirety:
Congressional Record PDF
She knew all this then, she knows all this now, but she is speaking in the forest with no one hearing.
This is crucial and no one is covering this.
IT STILL MATTERS (, HILLARY).
Impeach Obama in 2014, PERIOD.
thanks for the post. and thanks for a statesman’s take on benghazi, Mrs. Bachmann.
The ones who defy God are going to fare less.
If this were the Bush Administration this scandal would have been brow beat upon the American people.
The fifth estate is corrupted and ruined. These are dark times for the Republic. Dangerous times indeed.
Its really not that complicated.
For the election, Obama needed to show that he could be tough on Islam.
He planned to have the Ambassador kidnapped and then he would get tough on the terrorists and they would give the Ambassador back. Obama a hero, election in the bag.
He and Hillary stripped away all the security to make it easy for the Muslims. Problem was that some Navy Seals showed up and started kicking some Muslim butt. Terrorists figured they were set up and the real plan was to wipe them out. They thought that Obama was trying to be the hero by defending the Ambassador.
Things spin out of control, Ambassador is abused and killed Muslin style. Obama and Hillary have to go into spin and lie mode.
It seems to me that the facts of what happened seem to fit well into this scenario.
Stop using Bush as a comparative excuse.
Bush executed thousands of
STOP using Bush as a comparative.
Bush turned a national tragedy into an international tragedy.
You are confusing me with a Bush fan. Somebody else i suppose.
The media narrative is the subject of my post, not Bush.
but this (sunjective) narrative is being brow beat on you and aye i ow my eye
The American People
>> If this were the Bush Administration this scandal would have been brow beat upon the American people.
And this is another example of why the MSM is the Country’s greatest threat.
sorry this is OT, but very interesting:
It Is Time For Boehner To Go!
“According to the latest news crossing the web, Speaker John Boehner has been accused of having affairs with two women. This explains why Boehner was so very accommodating to anything and everything that Obama wanted to do. Although the House controls the purse, Boehner gave everything that Obama wanted to Obama.”
(the two women’s names are mentioned in the 6 minute video.)
Rubbish. His source is a National Enquirer article published 3 years ago.
I had been calling Steve King to support Michele for speaker. In this issue she's got the high ground--the rest belongs to the dark side and its winged monkeys.
We were told 9/11 was the Pearl Harbor in the War on Terror.
Yet Obama and Hillary as president and Secretary of State used CIA and NATO to conduct an Arab Spring replacement of secular regimes with Islamist ones.
Benghazi was either or both a gun depot to supply Islamists, or to buy back the more lethal weapons they stole or received from Fill In The Blank, e.g., Stinger-type missiles.
The two leading civilian leaders let our enemy of record murder our citizens.
Had the president been George W. Bush and the Secretary of State been Condoleezza Rice, the shrieking fairies of media would be screaming for impeachment--if not building a scaffold in Pennsylvania Avenue.
We've got these people supporting the worst Islamists opposing Assad as they relax sanctions on Iran, so the Ayatollah can rake in petrodollars and continue covert enrichment.
The chief executive has escaped Article II and is ruling as a monarch, sending the revenuers to undercut political opposition.
Al Qaeda retakes Faluja.
Negotiations with the Taliban proceed.
War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength, If You Like Your Health Care Plan Follow the Signs to Room 101.
IMHO, Mrs. Bachman has more balls than all the males in congress. I’ll bet most of the listeners to this were snoozin.
“The future does not belong to those who insult the prophet.”
Fine with me. I’ll die before I bow down to a pedophilic murderer.