Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee, issued the following statement during today's Foreign Affairs hearing examining the Benghazi terrorist attack on September 11, 2012 - what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening again.
"It is two months later and too little is known about what took place. Too little is known about why we didn't respond to those cables, especially given the fact that the deteriorating situation in Benghazi was no secret," said Royce.
"Certainly it was no secret to the United Kingdom, it was no secret to the Red Cross; even the security challenged UN were very, very concerned about what was about to happen. The UK and the Red Cross closed their offices as a result of attacks. You had a bomb targeting our own mission there. Somebody obviously forgot to circle the calendar on 9/11. We do have some experience with attacks on 9/11."
"I think we'll find that the State Department, unfortunately prioritized the "normalization' of the relationship with Libya above all else, including American lives, no matter the facts on the ground."
The House Foreign Affairs Committee heard from security experts including the GAO and former CIA personnel. Royce questioned the emphasis put on security needs, arguing that actions taken in Benghazi seemed out of character in terms of the way the U.S. has taught security to others.
"We have memos from individuals, now deceased, expressing a concern that went unheeded. We are trying to get our arms around what happened. How is it possible that this video narrative was being pushed day after day in light of facts that seemed to indicate that on 9/11 al-Qaeda planned a hit and took credit for it?" Royce asked.
"It is important to learn what happened in Benghazi because at the end of the day it could happen again. Al-Qaeda plans attacks over and over again. One witness here today warns that Al-Qaeda affiliates will have U.S. embassies in their sights now as a consequence for many years to come," Royce concluded.