Sen. Cruz Calls on President Obama to Answer Questions about Benghazi in State of the Union Address
I am calling on President Obama to hold himself and his administration accountable for the preventable attacks on the U.S. foreign post in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 where four Americans – Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Ambassador Christopher Stevens – were murdered by terrorists. Ambassador Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador murdered on duty since 1979.
Regarding the Benghazi attacks, I have asked: Will the President call on Congress to form a Joint Select Committee to finally discover the truth of why four Americans perished in a preventable terrorist attack in Benghazi 16 months ago?
Last week, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) released its declassified review of the attacks on Benghazi. This bi-partisan effort not only concluded that these attacks were preventable, but also that:
- There was ample warning a terrorist attack in Benghazi was imminent The State Department should have increased security
- The Intelligence Community did not do due-diligence tracking open-source terrorist activity on social media
- There were no U.S. military resources positioned for rapid response to this known terrorist hot-spot on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks
- There was no basis for the claim there was a protest outside the Mission in Benghazi
- The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, provided flawed and incomplete information to Congress during its review of the Benghazi attacks
Although the SSCI report pieces important information together, it still does not explain why any of this happened. Just over a year ago Secretary Clinton demanded to know “What difference, at this point, does it make” to find out what really happened at Benghazi? But with all due respect to Secretary Clinton, we still do not know why the Obama administration took no steps to protect our people, why they took no steps to prevent the attacks, why they claimed an Internet video was to blame, why they insist there is no al Qaida connection to the attacks, why no one from our government has been held responsible for these failures, and why no terrorist has been punished for the attacks. This information makes a difference.
The call for a joint select committee is of further urgency as the Washington Post reported earlier this month that U.S. officials are investigating whether those involved in the Benghazi raid had a role in the killing of Ronnie Smith, an American schoolteacher who was gunned down while jogging in the city last November. Clearly, it is possible that the terrorists who attacked us in 2012 are still actively targeting Americans. We cannot risk losing more lives.
The same Washington Post article quotes anonymous “U.S. officials” and an “administration official” that divulge key points related to the clear terrorist connections to the Benghazi attacks. Clearly these unnamed sources have more information. Yet, the administration continues to insist that the real facts behind the attacks make no difference. It is time for these anonymous sources to step out of the shadows and tell their story to Congress and the American people.
Late last week, the former Chief of Mission in Libya, Gregory Hicks, who was in Tripoli on September 11, 2012, published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in which he claimed some of the information he provided to the SSCI investigation was not included in the report. More than 16 months after the attacks, crucial questions are still not answered, and according to Mr. Hicks we still don't have the full story of what happened that night.
On multiple occasions, I have urged for the establishment of a joint select committee of Congress to properly investigate the Benghazi attack. Four months ago, I presented S. Res. 225 with 24 Republican co-sponsors, calling for this joint select committee that would put all the resources of both Houses of Congress behind a thorough investigation that could answer the basic questions that remain. Unfortunately, Democrats blocked my request.
I also introduced an amendment to the NDAA to require the Secretary of State to offer a reward of up to $10 million through the State Department's Rewards for Justice Program for information on the Benghazi attacks or information that leads to the capture and prosecution of a suspect. The Rewards for Justice program has been a visible and successful element in the ongoing battle against terrorism. Since 1984, over $125 million has been distributed to more than 80 people. Yet, to date, there has been no public reward offered for the Benghazi terrorist suspects under this program.