Where is CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus? He seems to be the missing man in the unfolding Benghazi debacle. It is his agency, among others, which is being fingered by the White House for getting the Libya attack wrong. However, we know that within a very short time after the murder of our ambassador (an extraordinary occurrence) and others, our intelligence community did have the story straight: This was an organized al-Qaeda attack. Is he to preside over a witchhunt? Or is he, who to date has been one of the most respected national security officials, going to be instrumental in shining light on the Libya fiasco and thereby truly serving the national interest and the memory of those killed?
That’s one of the many pending questions bubbling over in the Libya scandal. But we finally be getting some answers. On Friday Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced that the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold hearings on the Benghazi debacle. Those hearings can’t come a moment too soon. The questions are multiplying:
1. When, if ever, did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton become aware that there was a request for more security in Benghazi before 9-11-2012?
2. Who participated in briefing Ambassador Susan Rice before she went on the Sunday talk shows on Sept. 16?
3. Was the White House aware of the August Library of Congress report documenting the deteriorating security situation in Libya?
4. Was the Libya security situation included in any presidential briefings?
5. Did the CIA within a day or so determine there had been a planned terrorist attack? What did it do with this information? Why did President Obama continue to insist the attack was a spontaneous reaction to the anti-Muslim movie?
6. When did the president learn there was no mob in Benghazi protesting the film?
7. Who reviewed the president’s U.N. speech delivered on Sept. 25, wherein he continued to connect the attack and the anti-Muslim film?
8. When was the State Department’s Charlene Lamb, who followed the attack in real time, questioned about what she knew? Who did that, and what happened to that information?
9. Why didn’t National Security Adviser Tom Donilon ensure that the president and other senior officials had up to-date information on the attack?
10. And, as we started, why has Petraeus not stepped forward to defend his agency, make clear we knew promptly that this was an organized terrorist attack and correct the misrepresentations by political leaders?