Ron Johnson: House Must Probe Benghazi as Senate Shirks It

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 04:27 PM

By Sean Piccoli

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A "lack of curiosity" about the Benghazi attack in the Democratic-controlled Senate means the House alone will have to scrutinize events surrounding the deadly 2012 siege of the U.S. embassy compound in Libya, Sen. Ron Johnson told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.

Voicing frustration with the upper chamber where he serves, the Wisconsin Republican told "America's Forum" host J.D. Hayworth, "Whether it's Benghazi, whether it's the targeting of President [Barack] Obama's political opponents in the IRS scandal, I mean, across the board there's just no curiosity, no genuine oversight occurring in the Senate.

"So, we have to look at the House to hold this administration accountable," Johnson said.
He repeated his charge, first spelled out in a May 6 newspaper op-ed, that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is guilty of "dereliction of duty" in the deaths in Benghazi of  U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Story continues below video.



Johnson had written that not only did the State Department refuse Stevens' pleas to bolster security at the compound, but security there was actively scaled back before attacks.

On Monday, the independent arbiter Politifact Wisconsin backed those claims.

The State Department's conduct therefore "does represent a dereliction of duty," Johnson said on Tuesday. Had someone at State ordered armed Marines to mind the facility instead of leaving it in the hands of unarmed Libyan nationals, "I don't think those attacks would've occurred. I don't think those Americans would've given their life for their country," Johnson said.

Johnson sparred with Clinton in Senate Benghazi hearings last year. He elicited her infamous retort, "What difference, at this point, does it make?" when he asked why, in the fog of the attack, she didn't pick up the phone to ask Benghazi survivors what actually happened.

"I think the reason she reacted so testily is she fully understood her culpability, her dereliction of duty," Johnson told "America's Forum."

He said serious questions remain to be answered about administration maneuvering over where to pin blame for the attack, and who made the calls on security at the compound.

"We just need to get to the truth," said Johnson. He predicted that Rep. Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican and former prosecutor heading the House Benghazi Select Commitee "will be an excellent chairman."

Johnson said he expected that House Democrats, still debating whether to even join the panel, will "try to obstruct this process as best they can."

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