- Martin Bashir resigns from MSNBC over ‘ill-judged’ comments about Sarah Palin
- Rep. Duncan Hunter: While Obama prays for Iranian change, U.S. should ready its nukes
- Best company ever? Veteran Beer Co. exists to employ vets, provide quality beer
- Iran official: Sanctions ‘utterly failed’ to stop nuclear program
- ‘Black Santa’ display at IU sparks student outrage
- Joint Chiefs chair Dempsey: Pentagon, VA too slow in merging medical systems
- Sen. Ben Cardin hits Ukraine for crackdown on Kiev protests
- Drone technology turns South, targets feral pigs to kill
- Puerto Rico caravan honoring Paul Walker ends in 6 drunken-driving arrests, 72 speeding tickets
- Better pack a lightsaber: House told space explorers could find alien life in 10 years
Hillary Clinton absent from Benghazi hearing, but ‘What difference’ words were looming
Question of the Day
Hanging over Wednesday’s hearing on administration failings during the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya, was former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s question: “What difference at this point does it make?”
For House Republicans, and for the three State Department witnesses they called to testify, the answer is that the events leading up to and on the night of the terrorist assault on the U.S. diplomatic post made a huge difference.
“The committee’s labors to uncover what happened prior, during and after the attack matter. It matters to me personally, and it matters to my colleagues,” said Eric Nordstrom, former State Department regional security officer in Libya, choking up as he listed the names of the four Americans who died in the attack.
Democrats praised the three witnesses for coming forward and promised to protect them as whistleblowers.
But they questioned the entire direction of the hearings, saying it appeared to be a political show rather than an honest inquiry.
“Let me be clear: I am not questioning the motives of our witnesses. I am questioning the motives of those who want to use their statements for political purposes,” said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland Democrat.
“Today’s hearing is not the full story. I hope we will eventually hear our military, our intelligence and our diplomatic officials,” he said. “Then I hope we can turn to the real work as the chairman has said of this committee, which is ensuring that the department implements the recommendations to improve the security of our diplomatic officials serving overseas, those who are so often unseen, unnoticed, unappreciated and unapplauded.”
Wednesday’s hearing before the House oversight committee was a high-drama spectacle highlighted by an intimate, minute-by-minute walkthrough the horror that unfolded in Benghazi.
The soft-voiced, emotional testimony by Gregory N. Hicks, the State Department’s deputy chief of mission in Libya at the time of the attacks, stood out in a city known more for overblown political oratory.
In a Capitol Hill room crammed with lawmakers, reporters, cameras and curious onlookers, Mr. Hicks offered the most personalized eyewitness account to date of what happened in Benghazi, beginning with the moment when U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens alerted him by cellphone: “Greg! We’re under attack!”
Although the hearing was framed as a showcasing of Benghazi whistleblowers, there were few revelations not already disclosed by officials during previous hearings, or by the Obama administration-appointed report delivered to Congress earlier this year.
That did little to detract from the drama or the sobriety of the three State Department employees’ testimony, such as when Mr. Hicks explained how the bodies of slain former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were pulled from a rooftop after mortar rounds rained in on a CIA annex in the Libyan city.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Guy Taylor rejoined The Washington Times in 2011 as the State Department correspondent.
As a freelance journalist, Taylor’s work was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the Fund For Investigative Journalism, and his stories appeared in a variety publications, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to Salon, Reason, Prospect Magazine of London, the Daily Star of Beirut, the ...
- U.S., Chinese diplomats talk air defense zone ahead of Biden visit
- State mulling whether to invite Iran to upcoming Syria talks
- Election strengthens Honduran military's hand
- U.S. B-52 bombers buzz China's expanded airspace as dispute with Japan escalates
- Obama defends Iran nuclear deal, attacks critics for 'bluster'
Latest Blog Entries
By Tom Harris and Madhav Khandekar
Bad science puts rich nations on the hook for trillions in climate liabilities
- Hola: Boehner prepares to push amnesty bill through House
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- U.S. drops 2,000 mice on Guam by parachute to kill snakes
- Doctors say profound new HIV treatment may prove the cure
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- EDITORIAL: Motor City meltdown
- CARSON: Getting to the top by starting at the bottom
- Last call: State Dept. bought $180,000 in liquor before shutdown
- MILLER: Obamas EPA closing smelter will not affect ammunition supply
- Obama: Growing income inequality 'defining challenge' of this generation
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Headlines from Associated Press and around the Internet