As a man suspected of involvement in the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi is being held in Libya, wounded Benghazi survivors of the attacks are still under wraps and once again U.S. Senators are applying pressure to hear from them.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says that he “had contact” with some of these Benghazi survivors and they have been “told to be quiet.” In an interview on Fox News, Lindsey called their story “chilling” and “the bottom line is they feel that they can’t come forth, they’ve been told to be quiet.”
“The best evidence of what happened in Benghazi is not a bunch of politicians in Washington trying to cover their political ass,” Graham said. “This is the people who lived through the debacle, and I’m going to do all I can to get them before the Congress and American people.”
“We cannot let this administration or any other administration get away with hiding from the American people and Congress, people who were there in real time to tell the story,” he continued.
The White House countered Graham. When asked about Benghazi survivors, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “I’m sure that the White House is not preventing anyone from speaking.” Sure about that are you Jay? Maybe as sure as you were that the White House stopped tours due to sequestration?
Graham thinks the administration is “trying to cover it up.”
The South Carolina senator said that we need “to hear from people who were on the ground, their desperate situation. They need to understand from people who were there for months how bad it was getting and how frustrated they were that nobody would listen to them and provide aid when they were requested. This is a story of an administration deaf and blind to the reality of what people were living with every day in Libya.”
He said the Benghazi survivors should be allowed to “tell their story without fear.” He also made the accusation that the Obama administration was “hiding from the American people and Congress the primary source of truth in Benghazi – people who lived through it.”
Reports indicate that as many as 30 Americans, including State Department and CIA officers and government contractors, were wounded in the attack and at least seven were treated at Walter Reed Hospital.
In a letter dated March 1, Representatives Frank Wolf (R–VA) and Jim Gerlach (R–PA) demanded names and contact information for each survivor, some State Department employees, and some CIA contractors to make it possible to contact them. Wolfe’s argument is that the Benghazi survivors should not just be questioned but also publicly acknowledged for their bravery that night in September. “We should be honoring them,” Wolf said. “We should be thanking them.”
“That’s why this story continues to perpetuate itself,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the chairman of the House Oversight subcommittee on National Security. “And it will not end, because the State Department’s not allowing us to put a nice, tight ribbon on it.”
The Hill reports,
Democrats say Republicans are simply looking for any avenue to score political points.
“Benghazi is over and done with,” Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), a senior member on the Intelligence Committee, told The Hill. “As far as [Republicans] are concerned … this has always been a political issue and that is the way they will continue to [pursue] it.”
Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) put the blame squarely on the administration’s shoulders.
“This all could have been resolved a long time ago,” he said, if the White House had fully disclosed all the pertinent details about its response to the terrorist attack.
There are still questions that need to be answered, and thus far no one has been held accountable. Not one person has had justice brought upon their heads. Not one person has lost their job. These Benghazi survivors need to be brought forward and testify before Congress, not in secret, but openly on national television and then once the truth is known, bring justice upon those who are responsible.