“We didn’t investigate 9/11—you know, 9/11/2001, just to specify—with the length and depth that we have chose to investigate this. So again, I come back to the central point of the central problem with this committee. It is a prosecution. It is a partisan exercise. It is not trying to investigate and find out the truth.”
When the 2001 terrorist attacks were being investigated, it was only looked into by a joint congressional committee and the independent 9/11 Commission. The 2012 Benghazi attacks, in stark contrast, has had eight congressional committees (including the select committee on Benghazi) as well as the State Department’s Accountability Review Board.
Just as a reminder, almost 3,000 Americans were killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and America suffered over $3 trillion in damages. It was the worst terrorist attack to take place in our country, and it only took the 9/11 commission 19 months to investigate – in which time the commission was able to accomplish a review of over 2.5 million pages of documents and conduct interviews of over 1,200 people from around the world.
Fastforward eleven years to the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. Four Americans were killed, and Republicans in Congress wanted to establish a Select Committee on Benghazi to investigate the attack – which has stretched into a 17-month project that has lead nowhere. As of June this year, only 29 people have been interviewed – most of which are not connected with Benghazi in any way.
The only reason that the Republicans haven’t yet wrapped up this ridiculously inefficient scavenger hunt is because they haven’t been able to make a substantial case against former Secretary of State and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. The State Department currently staffs 12 full-timers, paid anywhere between $63,700 to $150,000, to do nothing but review Clinton’s emails. Trying to ruin Clinton’s chances of winning the election has cost over $3,500,000 of taxpayer money – money that Republicans have been more than willing to spend, even though using taxpayer dollars to fund a political attack is illegal.
The Benghazi investigation has been such an outrageous misuse of public funds and time that a progressive advocacy group called the Agenda Project Action Fund is demanding that the Congress investigates the Benghazi “investigation” be looked into. Given the gross negligence that President Bush displayed when confronted with the evidence that a serious terrorist attack was imminent on American soil, it is absolutely astonishing that further action has not been taken against the former members of the Bush Administration, who went on to commit a slew of war crimes, including instigating the most costly and ineffective war in our nation’s history and running a secret torture program. If Republicans really cared about our embassy security, maybe they shouldn’t have cut $300 million from State Department security budgets during the sequester. But when have they ever practiced what they preach?
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.