Gen. Hayden: 'Let's Find Out What Happened' on Benghazi

Image: Gen. Hayden: 'Let's Find Out What Happened' on Benghazi

Friday, 02 May 2014 03:31 PM

By Joe Battaglia

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Retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden says the formation of a long-clamored-for House special committee to investigate the Benghazi attacks is an important step toward achieving national understanding of what went wrong so that the same mistakes are not repeated.

On Friday, Speaker of the House John Boehner announced that a select committee will be established to look into the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya, which left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Earlier in the week, emails were uncovered revealing a potential White House cover-up of the facts of the case.

Hours earlier, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa subpoenaed Secretary of State John Kerry to testify on why the State Department didn’t turn over an email that seemed to show the administration erroneously planned to blame a protest for the Benghazi attack, rather than the terrorist group that intelligence and military officials suspected.

Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency and the CIA under President George W. Bush, told J.D. Hayworth and Miranda Kahn on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV that the most significant move was that made by Boehner, which could begin to unravel truth that has been hidden for two years.

"It will allow the House now in a reasoned, systematic way to begin to peel back all the facts, allegations, charges, countercharges, and so on with regard to Benghazi, and we’ve needed that," Hayden said. "To be investigative on the part of the members [is difficult] because everyone gets five minutes, and the chain of questioning gets interrupted, halted, restarted, and so on.

"So based upon what’s happened this past week with the addition of this, these new emails and now a completely separate string of talking point development, it’s got to re-energize a lot of people to be interested in this. So, let’s do it, let’s look at this, let’s find out what’s happened, let’s take our lesson from it, and then we can move on."

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Hayden said that although the U.S. legislature is bicameral, "we will not see a similar committee in the Senate," created by Majority Leader Harry Reid. Nevertheless, he believes a House investigation will "find truth" and if done properly will "contribute to the national understanding" Americans deserve and should demand.

"There’s a whole bunch of substantive and process issues here," Hayden said. "The process issue is the American people deserve a full and complete accounting. Look, I’m an intel guy, I know there’s some things you can’t say publicly. I get it. But clearly this email was not one of them because they eventually did make it public, so you deserve this full and current account, so that’s one thing.

"Secondly, the public – I talk about Benghazi as a play in three acts, what happened before the attack, what happened during, and what happened after. The emails and such are all about what happened after the attack, and that’s important for the reasons I just stated. The testimony yesterday by Brig. Gen. Ret. [Robert] Lovell raises some questions about what happened during the attack, but I have to tell you, having been in those times of crisis, I tend to be a lot more understanding of people trying to make decisions in that short time window.

"But then there’s Act One of the play which is, what were you guys doing with really substantive warning on the part of CIA that Benghazi had turned into a very dangerous place and clearly and no one can claim that what we did for security there was adequate, and we’ve got hard evidence of that. So there’s a lot of things here that the American people have yet to hear and get clear answers."

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