Yesterday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced the members of the Democratic Caucus who will participate in the House Select Committee on the 2012 Benghazi consulate attack that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. This will be the sixth committee of the House of representatives to investigate this tragic incident in the GOP sponsored drive to politicize the deaths of four Americans. In addition to five House committees the U.S. Senate has also investigated the attacks.
“I could have argued this either way – why give any validity to this effort? – but I do think it is important for the American people to have a pursuit of these questions done in as fair and open and balanced a way as possible,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, contending that the panel is “not necessary” and lacks balance. “That simply would not be possible [if] leaving it to the Republicans.”Pelosi said flatly on Wednesday that she and House Speaker John Boehner were unable to reach an agreement about the makeup and processes of the probe but added that the lack of balance is “all the more reason” for Democrats to participate in order to fight for transparency.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi named five Democrats – led by House Oversight and Government Reform ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland – to serve on the panel. (Seven Republicans have been tapped to participate as well.)
“I believe we need someone in that room to simply defend the truth,” Cummings told reporters.
The other Democratic members selected are Reps. Adam Smith of Washington, Adam Schiff and Linda Sanchez of California, and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois. (Source: NBCNews.com)
It will be refreshing to hear a different voice representing Orange County in the hearings. While House Government Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, representing portions of southern Orange County, was the politicizing force behind his committees “partisan” investigation, California Representative Linda Sanchez, representing a portion of north-western Orange County, will help provide the counterbalance to the partisan Republican committee.
Congresswoman Linda Sánchez (D-CA) made the following statement after she was selected to serve on the House Select Committee on Benghazi:
“I am honored to have been asked to serve on this select committee with colleagues that I trust and respect. When your Leader asks you to serve your country on a select committee, it makes sense to be in that room,” said Rep. Linda Sánchez. “Although I am disheartened that we are putting the families affected by this tragedy through this partisan exercise, I am committed to looking at the evidence and making decisions based on what that evidence shows. Leaving politics out of the room is going to be a challenge for this committee, but our responsibility to the American people is to carefully analyze the facts, and not just make up allegations. I hope my Republicans colleagues will adhere to the same principles.”
We note from our perspective that there have been plenty of investigations into the Benghazi attacks and there are no relevant questions remaining to be answered by yet another partisan investigation. We find the focus on this matter to be clearly partisan when we examine the GOP response to the attacks on diplomatic personnel during the administration of President George W. Bush. As California Congressman John Garamendi stated in an interview on May 5, 2014:
“This thing is just going on and on to boredom actually,” Garamendi said. “The Armed Services Committee actually did a hearing and the result was there’s nothing here. That’s obviously a great tragedy, but Ed, during the George W. Bush period, there were 13 attacks on various embassies and consulates around the world. Sixty people died. In Karachi, there was a death of one of our diplomats, and those were not investigated during that period of time because it was a tragedy.”
The Tampa Bay Times reported that Mr. Garamendi’s numbers were lower than the actual numbers:
Garamendi said that “during the George W. Bush period, there were 13 attacks on various embassies and consulates around the world. Sixty people died.” There are actually different ways to count the number of attacks, especially when considering attacks on ambassadors and embassy personnel who were traveling to or from embassy property. Overall, we found Garamendi slightly understated the number of deadly attacks and total fatalities, even using a strict definition.
The five Democrats selected to serve on the committee should provide at least some balance to a heavily biased committee and process. We hope that the GOP will permit the minority members to participate fully in the “investigation.” It serves no purpose to spend additional money, and pain and suffering inflicted upon the families of Ambassador Stevens and his colleagues killed during these attacks.