Ever since last September's deadly attacks in Benghazi, the Obama administration has been trying hard to deflect attention on the story but whenever press coverage seems to be fading a new report surfaces that puts the president and staff members in a bad light.
Earlier this year, Sen. Lindsey Graham reported that some of the survivors injured in the attack on the American compound were "told to be quiet" and were being hindered from coming forward to tell their stories. The senator said he had contact with some of the survivors and that their stories were "chilling."
Those revelations led many of us to believe that by trying to block the disclosure of valuable information, the administration had something to hide.
Suspicions only deepened after last week's reports that survivors were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements that would prohibit them from telling what they knew about the attacks.
The latest revelation caused West Virginia congressman Frank Wolf to immediately fire off letters to Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and CIA Director John Brennan, demanding to know more about the non-disclsoure reports.
"If these reports are accurate, it would raise serious questions about additional restrictions the State Department has placed on those with knowledge of the Benghazi attacks," Wolf said in his letter. "I also worry about the impact of any (non-disclosure agreements) on congressional efforts to understand fully what happened that night and why the agency responded as it did."
His letter also requested names and contact information for any State Department employees or contractors who may have been asked to sign the documents. A congressional source recently said that congressional staffers investigating the attack believed about 37 personnel were in Benghazi on behalf of the State Department and CIA during the attacks which claimed the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans on Sept. 11.
Of the 33 people that were evacuated, a State Department official said there were three diplomatic security agents and one contractor who were injured in the assault, one seriously.
Since these people were on the ground during the attack, Wolf said it's only natural they would have more of a grasp on what happened that night than those in the administration who made the decision to stand down during the attack. Wolf said that a non-disclosure list "raises serious concerns about the priority of the administration's efforts to silence those with knowledge of the Benghazi attack in response."
"You would think that the regime would relish the opportunity to get a first-hand account of what happened if they were not complicit, but of course the last thing this regime wants is a first-hand account of what happened to be made available to the American people because they know what happened, and why, and they have been trying to cover it up for months now," he said.
The non-disclosure statements only raise more doubts as to why the White House is so focused on keeping information about the attacks from Congress and the American people. Releasing the list would finally allow Congress to develop its own list to subpoena for eyewitness testimony in to learn what happened that night that night.
Since the Obama administration has been so reluctant to reveal details, it's up to Congress to get answers so we can learn the truth about who made that final decision to call off a rescue mission that may have saved American lives during the terrorist attack.
By Jim Zbick