National Security Brief: House GOP Plans To Carry On Benghazi Witch-Hunt

The Wall Street Journal reports that House Republicans on Monday will send official requests to the leaders of the Benghazi independent review board to agree to be questioned about their investigation into last year’s attacks.

Despite their best efforts, Republicans (and Fox News) haven’t been able to expose any evidence that the Obama administration was engaged in some kind of Watergate-style cover-up in its handling of the Benghazi attacks.

The Accountability Review Board issued its report in December and found that the State Department failed to provide adequate security for the diplomatic mission in Benghazi. Four top officials were removed from their jobs as a result.

But that’s not enough for House Republicans. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) thinks there’s more to the story, on Sunday calling the ARB’s report “insufficient” because the investigators did not formally question then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and her two top deputies. “We’re going to want to go through at length how the [board] reached its conclusion,” Issa said.


But ARB co-chair former Ambassador Thomas Pickering explained on Sunday the board didn’t formally question Clinton and her top deputies because it had already determined responsibility. “We had plenty of opportunity had we felt it was necessary, all five of us, to ask them questions,” Pickering said. “We didn’t believe that was necessary, and I don’t see any reason to do so now.”

Pickering also said last week that the notion there was some Obama administration cover-up in the Benghazi aftermath is “Pulitzer Prize fiction.”

In other news:

  • A Los Angeles Times editorial criticizes President Obama’s targeted killing program: For all their technological novelty, drones are weapons, and their use raises the perennial question of when and under what safeguards deadly force should be used to protect the national interest. More than a decade after the 9/11 attacks that provided the ultimate authority for the drone campaign, it’s time to take stock of whether that policy still makes sense.
  • Reuters reports: At least 82,000 people have been killed and 12,500 others are missing after two years of civil war in Syria, the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday.
  • The Washington Post reports: Military recruiters across the country have been caught in a string of sex-crime scandals over the past year, exposing another long-standing problem for the Defense Department as it grapples with a crisis of sexual assault in the ranks.