Congress Critter update

Well, getting there...



March 14, 2014
 
Mr. James R. Crum

 
Dear James:
 
Given your concern about the Benghazi terrorist attacks that tragically took four American lives, I thought I would update you on my efforts as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.  On February 7, 2014, I released a report entitled, "Benghazi: Where is the State Department Accountability?"  This report covers 16 months of work by congressional investigators who have interviewed numerous witnesses and reviewed tens of thousands of documents.  To read the full report and to keep up-to-date with the House's ongoing investigations of Benghazi, please visit: www.gop.gov/benghazi.
 
Among other things, here is what the report shows:
 
  • Although U.S. intelligence agencies warned extensively about the deteriorating security environment in Benghazi, State Department officials denied requests for additional security and withdrew existing security assets from Libya. 
  • Nevertheless, State Department officials acknowledged privately in June 2012 that our diplomats were vulnerable, and that security in Benghazi was no match for the growing terrorist presence there. 
  • After the attacks, the Administration misled the American people by blaming a YouTube video for a "spontaneous" demonstration that never happened. 
  • The official investigative body convened by Hillary Clinton, the Accountability Review Board (ARB), failed to review the conduct of senior Administration officials, including Secretary Clinton and her top deputies.
  • Nobody has missed a paycheck as a result of this deadly security failure.  The four employees cited by the ARB for their poor performance were temporarily suspended with pay and either reassigned to new positions within the State Department or allowed to voluntarily retire.
  • Not one terrorist has been brought to justice, despite the President's promise that it would be his top priority.
  • State Department personnel serve in some of the most dangerous places in the world.  While they don't expect their safety to be guaranteed, they do expect that their leaders will be held accountable for serious errors in judgment.  That has not happened in this situation.  To prevent another Benghazi, the State Department must recognize its failures and hold people accountable – starting at the top.
 
We must also fix critical shortcomings in the ARB review process.  How can the Benghazi ARB claim to have fully investigated the attacks without at least interviewing Secretary Clinton and her top deputies?  It is likewise unacceptable that the Secretary was allowed to stack the deck by selecting the ARB's members and staff.  That is why I authored the Accountability Review Board Reform Act of 2013 — to increase the independence of future ARBs from the Department and improve the transparency and reliability of future ARB reports.
 
It is our duty to ensure that vulnerabilities in the system and irresponsible decision making are addressed.  I will continue to push for accountability at the State Department and better security for its personnel abroad who work to promote our nation's interests.  Thank you again for your interest. 
 

Sincerely,

EDWARD R. ROYCE

 

 

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