- the questions were so often unrelated to Benghazi
- the questioners, at least on the Republican side, were intent on attacking the witness, not in ferreting out the problems and solutions that might actually be related to the attack upon our embassy in Benghazi.
- the questions from Republicans were personal, not investigative
- this was not a serious hearing held by a reasonable and intelligent committee; but admittedly a political event meant to tarnish the reputation and campaign of a democratic contender for the presidency (confirmed by remarks of at least three Republican Congressmen, including Richard Hanna of NY’s 22nd Congressional District)
Apparently, no new information was acquired after 11 hours of testimony, at least according to the Chairman in answer to (or inability to answer) a reporter who asked him to name one new thing learned and he could not do so, after saying that Hillary said nothing new! Since when is the witness supposed to be in charge of providing something new? This was the responsibility of the Committee, not the witness. The Committee did not do its job.
- It was about Hillary’s emails, not Benghazi
- It was about Sidney Blumenthal who wasn’t in Benghazi; wasn’t a government official; wasn’t a State Department member, but a friendly contact of Bill and Hillary who apparently has much to say about many issues
- It was about Hillary’s staff, not about security staff in Benghazi
- It was about the parsing of words, not about the power of actions on behalf of Benghazi staff and their families.
What did we not learn about Benghazi? We did not learn:
- what is needed to improve security at foreign embassies and diplomatic locations
- the amount of money being spent on guarding our embassies, or how much more is needed
- how many private contractors are guarding our embassies and how effective they are
- which congressmen have voted for and against cuts in embassy security
- what decision-making process is in place for requesting more security
- how that decision-making process is failing and how it is working well; how it can be improved
- how the ARB report applies to Benghazi and how it can be used to reform the security of our diplomatic people and buildings
- who killed our people in Benghazi; how do we bring them to justice?
- why members of the armed forces stationed in risky countries are not automatically assigned to guard our diplomatic people and embassies
- whether there is any plan to increase the security budget
What was the purpose of the committee? Apparently, like some other so-called investigations (e.g. IRS determinations of non-profit status), it was purely political and thus illegitimate. Unfortunately, it was also expensive, and millions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted.
- How could this tragedy have been avoided or averted?
- Why weren’t troops or contractors available to help that night?
- Why were some of the ambassador’s requests for security upgrades not answered or denied?
- What constitutes adequate protection for our diplomatic staff and locations?
- Do we need a better rating system for determining the strength of embassy protection?
- Should we have a full evaluation of our current State Department on-going plans (and emergency Plans) for protecting our facilities?
- What happened moment by moment when the compound was attacked (the ARB Timeline could have been used to go through the events step-by-step in order to make recommendations as to what might be done in similar future circumstances)?
- What might have been improved or done differently without judgments of character or personality; what alternative actions might be useful in future circumstances?
Strangely enough, the Congress already had access to eight separate reports on Benghazi, but it seems they were reluctant about using conclusions and recommendations contained therein to spark some kind of pragmatic and constructive legislative action.
We are left to wonder whether the radical Right Republicans on this congressional “Select Committee” have any business conducting the People’s business. Compared to the ARB Report, their “investigation” was an expensive farcical sham, to say the least!