It remains to be seen if the production will live up to the pre-game hype, but today is the day. As you read this, the Benghazi committee has Hillary Clinton in the hot seat sitting in front of the panel and fielding questions about the disaster which cost four American diplomats their lives. For starters, here’s a video of Gowdy’s opening remarks which goes on for about 12 minutes. I’ve excerpted a portion of it below which sets the tone, but you can read the full speech from Politico here.
Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods served our country with courage and with honor. They were killed under circumstances most of us could never imagine. Under cover of darkness, terrorists poured through the front gate of our facility and attacked our people and our property with machine guns, mortars and fire.
It is important we remember how these four men died. It is equally important we remember how and why they lived. They were more than four images on a television screen. They were husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, family and friends. They were Americans who believed in service and sacrifice. Many people speak wistfully of a better world, but do little about it. These four men went out and tried to make it better. And it cost them their lives.
We know what they gave us. What do we owe them? Justice for those who killed them. We owe their families our everlasting respect and gratitude. We owe them – and each other – the truth.
The truth about why we were in Libya.
The truth about what we were doing in Libya.
The truth about the escalating violence in Libya before we were attacked and these four men lost their lives.
The truth about requests for additional security.
The truth about requests for more personnel.
The truth about requests for more equipment.
The truth about where and why our military was positioned as it was on the anniversary of 9-11.
The truth about what was happening and being discussed in Washington while our people were under attack.
The truth about what led to the attacks.
Elijah Cummings delivered the opening for the Democrats and I don’t think he mentioned Chris Stevens or the other dead Americans once. He spent pretty much the entire address saying how this was a waste of time and a partisan hack job, so I don’t think we can expect much from his side of the bench.
Hillary delivered her prepared opening remarks third. They went on for a while and it sounded for all the world like a presidential campaign speech. She talked about the need for “strong leadership at home as well as abroad” with a list of reasons why she felt she’d already demonstrated that leadership at the State Department and was ready to do so in the future. To her credit, she at least talked about the honored dead.
I’m sure at least some of you will be watching at home, so feel free to bring up your own highlights in the comments section since this is pretty much going to eat up the entire cable news schedule for the day.
UPDATE: (Jazz) A picture is worth a thousand words.
UPDATE: (Jazz) Some fact checking from James Hewitt.
Clinton Testified That The State Department Did Not Have “The Amount Of Money That We Thought Would Be Necessary To Do What Was Required To Protect Everyone.” CLINTON: “The State Department has historically and certainly before this terrible incident not had the amount of money that we thought would be necessary to do what was required to protect everyone. So, of course, there had to be priorities.” (Hillary Clinton, Select Committee On Benghazi, U.S. House Of Representatives, Hearing, 10/22/15)
Claims Of Budget Shortfalls Influencing Security Decisions Are False
State Department Official Charlene Lamb Testified Before The House Oversight Committee That Budget Cuts Had Nothing To Do With Security Decisions In Benghazi. REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R-CA): “It has been suggested the budget cuts are responsible for lack of security in Benghazi, and I’d like to ask Ms. Lamb, you made this decision personally, was there any budget consideration and lack of budget that led you not to increase the number of people in the security force there?” CHARLENE LAMB: “No, sir.” (U.S. House Of Representatives, Oversight And Government Reform Committee, Hearing, 10/10/12)
Clinton Testified That Marines Were Stationed At U.S. Diplomatic Facilities “Not For The Purpose Of Personnel Protection.” CLINTON: “Certainly it was useful for our security professionals and our diplomats to be partnered in that way with the Defense Department. You know, historically the only presence at some of our facilities has been Marines. And as you know well, Marines were there not for the purpose of personnel protection; they were there to destroy classified material and equipment.” (Hillary Clinton, Select Committee On Benghazi, U.S. House Of Representatives, Hearing, 10/22/15)
One Of The Purposes Of Marine Security Guards At U.S. Embassies Is To “Provide Protection For U.S. Citizens And U.S. Government Property Located Within Designated U.S. Diplomatic And Consular Premises During Exigent Circumstances (Urgent Temporary Circumstances Which Require Immediate Aid Or Action.” “The secondary mission of the MSG is to provide protection for U.S. citizens and U.S government property located within designated U.S. diplomatic and consular premises during exigent circumstances (urgent temporary circumstances which require immediate aid or action).” (United States Marine Corps Embassy Security Group Website, Accessed 10/22/15)