The Edmond Sun

Opinion

May 13, 2013

No Americans forgotten in Benghazi

WASHINGTON, D.C. — More than eight months ago on Sept. 11, the nation was shaken by the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Claiming the lives of four innocent Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, that horrific night still demands further investigation before it can be laid to rest. Due to an uncooperative administration and State Department who attempted to downplay the terrorist attack just eight weeks before the presidential election, we still don’t know the truth.

As the events of that night unfolded to the public last year, leaders at the State Department initially blamed the attack on an anti-Muslim YouTube video, explaining that it caused a spontaneous protest and ultimately led to the murders. However, later evidence revealed that State Department officials deliberately changed talking points to tell this story even though the situation already had been classified as planned and executed by Ansar al-Sharia — a group connected with Islamic terrorists. It also was discovered that consulate staff suspected danger and requested backup months before the attack even took place. For these reasons, we can only suspect a political cover up for the preventative inaction of President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.

Early on, the White House stated that it needed more time to adequately investigate before briefing the American people or even calling it a “terrorist act.” When questioned 134 days after the event took place during a hearing conducted by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary Clinton exploded, “What difference at this point does it make?” It makes a tremendous difference to the families whose loved ones could have been spared if the dangerous situation in Libya had been adequately monitored. It also makes a huge difference to the future security of our nation in preventing similar attacks.

In the same way, now eight months later, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney recently acted as if the attack was a closed case saying, “Benghazi was a long time ago.” Even if it was a long time ago, questions are still unanswered, and supposed unclassified reports have not been made available to House committees with jurisdiction to properly investigate.

On Wednesday last week, the House Committee on Oversight heard the compelling testimony of three leaders from the State Department who came forward to shed light on what really happened. These key witnesses were barred from speaking out about the situation, even though all were directly watching as it occurred last September. Greg Hicks, former Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya, even claimed that he was demoted for questioning how the situation was handled and presented to the public. The emotional and courageous testimony brought by these whistleblowers brings us closer to answers, but there is still work to be done.

With this new evidence and the likelihood of other witnesses coming forward, we must continue uncovering the truth and pursue a fact-based investigation. Congressman Frank Wolf, R-Va., has provided a framework in H. Res 36 for pursuing the investigation; I support this along with many of my colleagues. Currently, five House committees hold jurisdiction in separate aspects of the investigation. This legislation would create a select committee with full jurisdiction and streamline the process by allowing members of the bipartisan panel to have subpoena power over all the relevant information and key witnesses. With a clear deadline and mission to solve the scandal surrounding Benghazi, this committee would create one definitive report from which to take further action.

After all this time, we should have resolved what circumstances led to the murder of four Americans. We still don’t have answers — just excuses. The American people deserve to know the truth, and those involved must be held responsible.

U.S. REP. TOM COLE, R-Moore, represents Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional District.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at www.edmondsun.com show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014

  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014

Poll

The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
Undecided
     View Results