Gerlach Says Five Months of Stonewalling on Benghazi Must End

Statement

By:  Jim Gerlach
Date: Feb. 11, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District) said on Monday that a select House committee should be established immediately to end five months of stonewalling by the Obama Administration about its response to a terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the deaths of four Americans.

Gerlach called on House leadership to pass a resolution giving the committee full subpoena power to track down the details about the September 11 attack, which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three Americans assigned to the consulate.

"The Administration's lack of accountability and transparency about exactly what happened during the deadly eight-hour siege is stunning and it is an absolute outrage that Americans have been waiting five months now for honest answers," Gerlach said.

During testimony before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin E. Dempsey testified that the President had one, half-hour phone call with them shortly after the attack on the consulate began. Both Panetta and Dempsey said neither the President nor anyone from the White House called again for an update on how the attack was being handled or about steps being taken to keep the Americans in harm's way safe.

"This Administration made time to help write the scripts for two Hollywood movies about how it captured and killed terrorist Osama bin Laden, but refuses to let Americans know exactly what the President was doing the night
Ambassador Stevens and three public servants were executed. That's unacceptable, and House leadership has an obligation to the families of those killed and the public to pursue the truth about the events in Benghazi because I do not believe we've heard an accurate account yet from this Administration."

The Congressman added that a select committee may be the only way to get to the bottom of what happened that night, what steps were taken to protect the diplomatic contingent in Benghazi and why Secretary of State Hillary Clinton never requested military assistance in response to the attack.

"The testimony presented to the House and Senate thus far has simply raised more questions about whether this Administration underestimated or quite possibly ignored the threat our consulate faced in Benghazi and why the President and Secretary of State seemed to be recklessly disengaged," Gerlach said. "An American Ambassador has been killed for the first time in 30 years. I cannot think of any other instance in which the exercise of thorough and effective Congressional oversight of an Administration would be more appropriate."