House Vote to Arm Syrian Rebels Reveals Majority of Benghazi Select Committee Members not Qualified to be on Committee

More than four months after the announcement of a House Select Committee on Benghazi, the first hearing has finally taken place. Unfortunately, even after all that time, most members demonstrated through their recent vote on authorizing military aid to the Syrian rebels that they’re not qualified to be on the Select Committee. Fortunately, Chairman Trey Gowdy was not one of them.

Which four of these Committee members UNQUALIFIED?

Which four of these Committee members UNQUALIFIED?

Members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi must understand a very simple concept if they are going to pursue justice. That concept is the Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the U.S. State Department and the likelihood it contributed to the attack. The way these committee members voted on a recent House amendment to authorize arming Syrian rebels goes a long way in demonstrating how well each member understands that concept.

As has reported, the effort to lobby the U.S. Congress to support the Syrian rebels is rife with individuals who have strong connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. Voting to arm these rebels indicates at a minimum that any said member of Congress does not understand this fundamental dynamic if the truth about Benghazi is to be learned.

Anyone voting against such funding has overcome a significant first hurdle. While rightly voting “no” doesn’t guarantee a member of Congress understands the threat, voting “yes” almost certainly guarantees he/she does not understand it.

Before we get to some of the more interesting exchanges in the first hearing, let’s take a look at how each committee member voted on that amendment (remember, ‘NO’ vote indicates Committee member may be qualifed. ‘YEA’ vote indicates Committee member not qualified):

Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) – YEA
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) – NO
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) – NO
Rep. Michael Pompeo (R-KS) – YEA
Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) – YEA
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) – YEA
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) – NO

Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) – YEA
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) – YEA
Rep. Linda T. Sanchez (D-CA) – YEA
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) – NO
Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) – NO

While Cummings and Duckworth both voted no, Cummings has demonstrated no interest in exposing Muslim Brotherhood infiltration and Duckworth is a wounded veteran who is far more measured when it comes to matters of war. While Cummings’ reasons for voting ‘no’ are not known, it likely has to do with a very passionate, anti-war base.

The central focus of the first hearing had to do with the findings of the Accountability Review Board (ARB) commissioned by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and headed by Thomas Pickering.

In his opening statement, Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) referred to the ARB’s recommendations and then rightfully compared those recommendations with those made after previous diplomatic installations had been attacked in Lebanon and Kenya / Tanzania. Gowdy’s point was the recommendations are virtually identical but never implemented:

During his ten minutes to question witnesses, Gowdy focused his attention on the current State Department diplomat, Gregory B. Starr, Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security at the U.S. State Department. When asked about the situation in Benghazi prior to, during, and after the 2012 attack, Starr frequently stated that he didn’t hold the position then that he does now.

A key point came when Gowdy quoted from the 1999 ARB report published after the Kenya / Tanzania bombings. That ARB recommended that…

“the Secretary of State should personally review the security situation of diplomatic facilities, closing those which are highly vulnerable and threatened.”

When asked why the word “personally” was used, Starr attempted to avoid answering the question by saying, “no comment”. Gowdy wouldn’t have it:

Another exchange worthy of note was between Rep. Jim Jordan and Todd M. Keil, Former Assistant Secretary for Department of Homeland Security. As someone with 23 years of experience in security with the State Department, Keil was asked what he would have done had he been in Benghazi in the run up to the attack. He maintained that he would essentially be screaming from the rooftops for more security.

Toward the end of the exchange, Keil talks about what he and his colleagues thought was the number one recommendation the State Department should have implemented years ago, which was dismissed by the State Department:

Another noteworthy exchange, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland zeroed in on the name of the compound in Benghazi and why it was given such a name. This is important because giving the compound a name not typically given actually allowed the State Department to skirt security requirements.

Westmoreland then focuses on Blue Mountain, which was hired to provide security at the compound as well as February 17 Martyrs Brigade, a Libyan militia with connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. It is obvious that Westmoreland found it ironic that the State Department would rely on a militia with the term “martyrs” in the name to provide security:

At the time of the Benghazi attacks, there were no fewer than three high profile individuals at State or with access to the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with significant ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. They were / are:

Rashad Hussain: Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). A Muslim who came to the defense of convicted terrorist Sami al-Arian in 2004 at a Muslim Students Association (MSA) event. Hussain was also caught lying about his comments at that event in 2010 but did not lose his job. Identified by the Investigative Project on Terrorism as a Muslim Brotherhood infiltrator of the Obama administration.

Huma Abedin: Deputy Chief of Staff and close adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with extensive familial ties to the Muslim Brotherhood that should have precluded her from acquiring a security clearance.

Salam al-Marayati: Executive Director of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and adviser to the State Department. Also identified by IPT as an infiltrator of the Obama administration.

It is mildly noteworthy that Rep. James Sensenbrenner, a Republican who inexplicably defended Abedin in the summer of 2012, and whose former chief of staff Philip Kiko is the Executive Director of the Select Committee, voted no on the House amendment authorizing military support to Syria’s rebels.

Philip Kiko

Philip Kiko

As has reported, Kiko’s presence on the committee is troubling for various reasons.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI), who also defended Abedin in 2012, voted to aid the Syrian rebels. He too has been a person of grave concern and interest when it comes to Benghazi, as has reported.


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