Dear Gen. David Petraeus:
By now, you must have seen part of all of the House Oversight Committee hearing on Benghazi on Wednesday. The testimony of career civil service personnel was bracing. The testimony included the assertion that two sets of rescue teams were instructed not to attempt to assist our people in Benghazi. Administration officials previously insisted no request was made and no order to stand down was given. In addition, the testimony indicated that the State Department was told Benghazi was a terrorist attack involving al-Qaeda affiliates and that the intelligence community affirmed this promptly. That fact was later omitted and different talking points by the so-called deputies were devised to introduce the video and the notion of a spontaneous demonstration.
The American people and the loved ones of those killed have yet to get a consistent story. But they are left with no answers or conflicting answers. You testified in November 2012 that the attack was al-Qaeda linked, but that was behind closed doors. The American people have not heard from you and do not have the benefit of hearing questions and your specific responses.
Why was a rescue mission not attempted?
Was it feasible? Who decided against it?
Who attended the deputies meeting?
Why did the talking points for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice and subsequent statements stress the video, which was a non-event and never brought up to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her conversation with subordinates in Benghazi?
Were the changes made to the talking points with the knowledge and consent of their superiors?
Was Denis McDonough, now White House chief of staff, one of the deputies who participated? If so, what was his role in responding to the Benghazi attack?
Why was Chris Stevens in Benghazi? Was there a plan to make a permanent consulate facility and, if so, how did that affect security for the facility and the annex?
Personal concerns should not obstruct your obligation to tell the American people all that occurred and which version of events is accurate. You have earned bipartisan admiration, therefore, your testimony would carry great weight. Moreover, you are one of the few individuals who was neither part of the permanent civilian service nor a political ally of the president. Your independence and your prior military experience make you as credible a witness as we may find to these events.
So why not render one more round of service to the country by reconstructing events and putting an end to the finger-pointing that imperils careers and leaves the victims’ families with no closure? You can give testimony to Congress, but you can also sit down for an extensive interview with a respected journalist and/or write a detailed account of the events so the American people can read for themselves what happened before, during and after the incident.
Your reputation is not blemished by a minor personal matter, but it would be assessed harshly by history if you did not set the record straight once and for all.
How about it?