Rep. Lynn Westmoreland was tapped to serve on the Select Committee on Benghazi by House Speaker John Boehner, an investigation approved by House Resolution 567 on May 8. In this article, he provides his thoughts about the important task before him in determining what went wrong on September 11, 2012 in Libya.
Westmoreland, a West Georgia Congressman from my district, is member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, is also the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
“Previously there were five Committees of jurisdiction working on getting to the bottom of the Benghazi attack: Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, Judiciary, and Oversight of Government Reform,” Westmoreland wrote in an email to me. “For the Select Committee on Benghazi, Speaker Boehner selected Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) as Chairman, along with myself, Rep. Susan Brook (R-IN), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), and Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL).”
When asked why the previous system of investigations needed to be changed, Westmoreland wrote “For over twenty months, various committees have been working hard conducting hearings, interviewing witnesses, and gathering evidence. I have been fortunate enough to contribute to the investigation thus far through my role on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and through an informal Benghazi Working Group. I applaud the House’s passage of the Select Committee so that we may unite the findings through a more formal process. “
That confirms reports about the dysfunctional nature of the prior investigations, hampered by more by turf wars than perhaps even a White House reluctant to cooperate with the opposition.
Despite the political sensitivity of the matter and the pressure to come up with findings fast, Westmoreland sounded more cautious about the committee’s investigation. “Rushing to judgment and prematurely implementing policy changes based on anything less than the full truth only serves as a disservice to those who were killed and all American diplomats serving across the world, and does nothing to ensure their safety moving forward,” he wrote.
“We owe it to our diplomats and their security forces to be thorough in our investigation and get this right,” Westmoreland’s note continued. “Only when we have a full account of what happened, how it was allowed to happen, and who all is to blame, can we begin the process of holding those accountable and working to ensure this does not happen again. That is what my colleagues and I are working on, and we will not stop until the investigation is complete.”