Reminder: When Gowdy threw down gauntlet to media on Benghazi questions
posted at 11:01 am on May 18, 2014 by Ed Morrissey
This video comes from a press conference given by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) earlier this week [see update – from late last year], but Real Clear Politics picked it up today, and it’s definitely worth a fresh look. As the newly-appointed chair of the select committee investigating Benghazi, Gowdy has bristled at criticisms that all of the questions have already been answered — especially when those criticisms come from national media outlets who have shown remarkably little curiosity about the collapse of American policy in Libya. In his presser, Gowdy challenged the critics to answer the questions his committee will probe — or at least to start asking them:
“We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act in Benghazi, and make no mistake, justice will be done.” That was the president of the United States over a year ago.
“We’re investigating exactly what happened, but my biggest priority now is bringing those folks to justice.” That was the president of the United States over a year ago. No one has been arrested. No one has been prosecuted. No one has been brought to justice. We don’t even have access to the witnesses.
You in the media were good enough for my 16 years as a prosecutor not to tell me how to do my job, and so far in Congress, y’all have been good enough not to tell me how to do my job. I’m not telling you how to do your job. But I’m going to ask you some questions, and if you can’t answer these questions, then I’ll leave you to draw whatever conclusion you want to draw about whether or not the media has provided sufficient oversight.
Can you tell me why Chris Stevens was in Benghazi the night that he was killed? Do you know? Does it bother you whether or not you know why Chris Stevens was in Benghazi? Do you know why we were the last flag flying in Benghazi after the British had left and the Red Cross had been bombed? Do you know why requests for additional security were denied? Do you know why an ambassador asking for more security days and weeks before he was murdered and those requests went unheeded? Do you know the answer to why those requests went unheeded? Do you know why no assets were deployed during the siege? And I’ve heard the explanation — which defies logic, frankly — that we couldn’t have gotten there in time, but you know, they didn’t know when it was going to end. So how can you possibly cite that as an excuse? Do you know whether the president called any of our allies and said, “Can you help? We have men under attack.” Can you answer that? Do any of you know why Susan Rice was picked? The secretary of state did not go. She says she doesn’t like Sunday talk shows. That’s the only media venue she does not like, if that’s true. Why was Susan Rice on the five Sunday talk shows? Do you know the origin of this mythology that it was spawned as a spontaneous reaction to a video? Do you know where that started? Do you know how we got from no evidence of that to that being the official position of the administration?
In conclusion, Congress is supposed to provide oversight, the voters are supposed to provide oversight, and you are supposed to provide oversight. That’s why you have special liberties, and that’s why you have special protections. I am not surprised that the president of the United States called this a phony scandal. I’m not surprised Secretary Clinton asked, “What difference does it make?” I’m not even surprised that Jay Carney said Benghazi happened a long time ago. I’m just surprised at how many people bought it.
It’s been a few days since this presser, and not only have I not seen answers to these questions, I still haven’t noticed these national media outlets bothering to ask them.
Update: This actually came from a press conference late last year, and not this week — although it got picked up again this week. My apologies to those in the comments who got this right. Newsbusters noted in on Wednesday with the proper date attribution, but everyone else seems to have mistaken it as recent, including me. It’s worth noting, though, how all of these questions still have no answers, and few in the media even bothering to ask them. Also, I’ve changed the headline to reflect the time difference.