House Speaker John Boehner recently asked me to serve on the Select Committee to Investigate the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, a significant and solemn responsibility that I accepted.
This was not a decision I took lightly. The Benghazi attack was a terrible tragedy, and we still mourn the four Americans that were brutally murdered that day. Some have asked why further investigation is needed on Benghazi after multiple existing committee inquiries into the matter – including one I led.
One reason is that the Administration’s explanation for exactly what happened that day and why has been far from clear – both in the immediate aftermath and months later.
Recently we learned the White House withheld important Benghazi documents from Congressional investigators. These documents reveal a campaign-focused White House in spin control mode, and the failure to disclose them raises questions as to what else has been hidden from the public.
Such a lack of transparency is unacceptable. It is the duty of Congress to seek answers on the government’s activities on behalf of the American people, particularly when government officials attempt to obscure the truth.
Another reason this Select Committee is needed is that the multi-jurisdictional nature of the Benghazi issue makes it difficult to investigate across the existing committee structure. You may remember that during my time as chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, I led the inquiry into military activities surrounding the Benghazi attack.
While we were thorough in our investigation, our jurisdiction was limited to the Department of Defense. There are many more layers to the Benghazi story, including our intelligence community, the State Department, and, of course, the White House. And, while other committees have made inquires in those areas, no group has had the authority to investigate all aspects of the Benghazi situation at the same time – until now. A select committee with broad jurisdiction will better connect all the dots and produce a clearer, more complete picture.
Lingering questions about the Benghazi attack combined with continued White House obstruction and the narrow scope of existing House committees compel us to form this Select Committee and continue the search for truth.
Speaker Boehner has tapped my friend and colleague, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) to chair the Select Committee. Trey is a perfect fit to lead this process. He’s a tough prosecutor, but also fair and judicious. I can tell you he understands how important it is to keep politics out of this investigation and dedicate all of its the energy toward searching for truth on behalf of the American people. I am committed to working with Chairman Gowdy and my colleagues on the Select Committee to conduct a thorough, judicious and unbiased pursuit of facts.
As can be the case in Washington, tension over the Benghazi attacks has at times become a political issue. That is true on both sides of the aisle. As Chairman Gowdy said, politics will have no place in this process. Facts aren’t Republican or Democratic. Facts are stubbornly impartial, and I’m committed to pursuing the facts wherever they lead.
It is important that you know that my involvement on this Select Committee will not affect my commitment to serving the people of Alabama’s Second Congressional District. Taking care of the needs of my constituents – particularly our active duty military and veterans – remains my highest priority.
I have heard from countless constituents pleading for Congress to get to the bottom of what happened in Benghazi. As a member of this Select Committee, I promise to leave no stone unturned in the search for truth.
Martha Roby represents Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.