There has been no acceptable explanation for not rescuing Americans under siege in Benghazi, and nothing less than a special House committee investigation will satisfy the retired U.S. Army general who played a key role in organizing a letter signed by more than 700 special operations veterans in demanding the formation of the special committee.
Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin served in the Army's special forces and in the Army Rangers. Boykin is now executive vice president at the Family Research Council, and he's a member of the WND board of directors.
He told WND the lack of action during the Benghazi crisis, and the lack of answers since, have been bothering him for months.
"I've been working this since not long after the events on the 11th of September. That said, the U.S. Congress has been sort of ignoring all of our efforts to try and get some full accounting on this thing," Boykin said. "I just simply reached out to some people that I knew had a deep passion for this, that would in fact bring a different dimension to it and that's the retired special operations guys that spent a good portion of their professional careers preparing for and executing these kinds of operations. They've risked their lives for this. They've seen people that have sacrificed their lives to save other Americans, and I knew these people would come on quickly and would come on with deep passion."
Boykin said he and his colleagues directed the letter toward the House of Representatives rather than the U.S. Senate because there are already 70 House co-sponsors for a resolution calling for the creation of the same select committee to probe what went wrong before, during and after the Benghazi attacks. He is very cautiously optimistic that House leaders will approve the committee, but he cautioned the reaction over the next day or so will be critical in determining whether it will happen.
The general agrees with Special Operations Speaks Co-Founder Larry Bailey, who told us earlier in the week that to this point House leaders have been somewhat complicit in allowing key questions on Benghazi to go unanswered.
"If you look at the fact that the commander of the Africa Command, Gen. Carter Ham, has never been brought in to testify, if you look at the fact that there are at least 32 survivors of this incident and none of them have ever been brought in and questioned, if you look at the fact that one of those 32 is still in Walter Reed and a member of Congress has visited him twice but he's never been asked to come across town and appear before a committee or subcommittee, this is inexcusable and it reeks of a cover-up of some kind," Boykin said.
House leaders have been reluctant to approve the special panel for a couple of reasons. First, they don't want to allocate unbudgeted funds to pay for a new committee during a time of sequestration. Second, multiple House committees are planning to release findings on Benghazi at some future date. That's not good enough for Boykin.
"Everybody needs to understand the structure of our U.S. Congress; these independent and separate committees, frequently don't play well together. Each of them has their own agenda, and I'm not being critical by saying that. They have their own agenda," he said. "What we're insisting on is that there be some specific answers as to why there was no military rescue effort launched. We all came out of a community where that was one of or in some cases it was our primary mission – to go and rescue Americans or at least to recover their bodies and bring them home. The current structure will not facilitate a bipartisan commission that will ask the kind of questions that need to be asked."
So what would a rejection of a special committee indicate to Boykin and his special operations brethren?
"What it tells me is that, first of all, they're not showing leadership. Second, they're not taking their oaths seriously. And thirdly, this thing runs very, very deep, and there is something there that is being hidden from the American people," he said.
While Boykin and his fellow veterans are demanding answers to many questions, he believes some mysteries of Benghazi are being pieced together – like what really spawned the violence on Sept. 11. Boykin said there is ample evidence that the late Ambassador Chris Stevens had been helping supply Libyan rebels with weapons, and he was engaged in covertly shipping arms to the rebels in Syria. Boykin said regardless of his personal opposition to such an idea, shipping arms would be legal – provided it was done the right way.
"That's not our issue. Our issue is, why was there no rescue attempt? Why was there no attempt to recover the bodies before they fell into the hands of the Libyans? We find that perplexing and inexcusable that we don't have those answers," he said.
Boykin personally suspects that President Obama was simply focused on other things and didn't honor his responsibilities. He also believes that ordering others to stand down may have been an attempt to keep the weapons program a secret.
Boykin asserts that then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was woefully ill informed about regular military procedure when he contended that no military resources would be sent in unless there was a crystal clear understanding of what was happening on the ground.
For Boykin, this search for answers ends up at the same place he began: the demand to know why Americans were not rescued from harm's way.
"We spent our professional careers doing this kind of thing," he said. "We find this to be the breach of a fundamental American value."