Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (MN-06), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, released the following statement today regarding the Committee's hearing with former CIA Director General David Petraeus.
"Today's hearing with General Petraeus further underscores the need for a thorough investigation of what happened during the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. From beginning to end, the American people are still without knowledge of what happened on that tragic day. The hearings that we have held to this point have not produced answers to the questions that the victims' families and the American people deserve to have answered.
"The various committees with proper oversight of these matters in Congress have yet to hear from the principal decision makers who responded to what occurred September 11 and 12 when American lives were placed in peril. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, FBI Director Robert Mueller, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, UN Ambassador Susan Rice, and their subordinates in their respective chains of command who carried out their directives all should testify before Congress so the American people get the answers they deserve. While DNI Chief Clapper and General Petraeus came before our committee, their respective remarks are only an introduction--certainly not rising to a full investigation--regarding the attacks that transpired in Benghazi.
"Three particular areas need further investigation. The first is the lack of security at the Benghazi mission prior to the September 11 attack. We now know there were numerous reports of a deteriorating situation with security in eastern Libya prior to the attack. With that knowledge, why were the repeated requests for additional security by the State Department employees at the Benghazi mission reportedly denied, leaving the protection of Ambassador Stevens placed primarily in the hands of local Libyan militia? We also need to address why UN Ambassador Rice was sent on Sunday television shows after the attack and stated that there was a "substantial security presence" with Ambassador Stevens when that was clearly not the case.
"The second line of investigation needs to be regarding the calls for security assistance from the American personnel in Libya to the Obama administration. Reports state that key decision makers knew almost immediately from cables, emails, and phone calls that Ambassador Stevens and other Americans were in peril at the Benghazi mission. Americans deserve to know why did it take 20 hours for the U.S. military to land at the Sigonella Air Base in Italy, and at what point was there a military presence on site securing the American mission and annex in Benghazi? The question needs to be answered why did it take the FBI until October 4 to get on the ground to secure the sovereign soil of the American compound. And why the delay in US access to the site of the deadly attacks, both at the mission and the annex, so much so that reports stated that CNN was able to secure Ambassador Steven's personal diary. If CNN was able to obtain such a private document, what other sensitive documents went missing?
"Third, why did the White House consistently embrace the false narrative that the deadly attacks were a spontaneous event motivated by an anti-Islamic video? President Obama in his remarks before the United Nations on September 25 stated six times that the anti-Islamic video was the motivating factor behind the attack. Why did the President continue to give this false narrative on September 25 --two weeks after the attack--when our government clearly knew that the video was not the primary motivation for the attacks? Today, the Obama administration is trying to change their narrative and have it both ways on their story regarding the terrorist attack in Benghazi.
"These important questions and many additional ones have yet to be answered. Ultimately, President Obama is responsible for the actions of his national security team and it is incomprehensible that we have yet to hear what the President knew, when he knew it, and the specific orders he gave his team.
"Almost immediately after Osama bin Laden was killed the Obama administration starting releasing specific details, including some classified information, about the operation and a timeline of events. By contrast, two months after the terrorist attacks in Benghazi with an Ambassador and three other Americans dead, we have little knowledge of what the President knew and what his actions were. The victims' families, the American people, and Congress deserve answers."