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Gerry Myers Headshot

Benghazi... Benghazi... Benghazi

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How many more millions of taxpayer dollars are the Republicans in the House going to waste on the Benghazi witch hunt? The continuing question Republicans ask is: "Did the Obama administration mislead the public when they initially claimed that the deadly September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi began 'spontaneously' in response to an anti-Muslim video?"

Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman on the House Oversight Committee, has held numerous hearings, costing millions of dollars and thousands of hours of personnel time. In the process there were: two Senate reports, eight House reports, more than 50 hearings and interviews, and a State Department review led by Thomas Pickering and Mike Mullen. Mullen, a retired Navy admiral, was named the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by President George W. Bush and Pickering has served seven ambassadorial posts, his first two under President Reagan.

After compiling all this information, Issa has not been able to connect the White House or Hillary Clinton to the terrorist killings, or to their misleading the American people. So why do the "fiscally conservative" Republicans want to spend an additional $3.3 million to hold yet another Benghazi hearing?

The House Oversight Committee, which usually has nominal costs, now has requested more money than nine other committees combined. How come the Republicans vote yay to spending millions rehashing old news, but vote nay to creating jobs, rebuilding infrastructure, or securing our embassies better?

The Republican Party claims to have concerns about our embassies being insecure, so why aren't they requesting more money for security, rather than money for another hearing? Interestingly, Republicans, to date, still have had no hearings on how to actually improve security. Currently, their top priorities appear to be getting on the committee thereby raising campaign funds, increasing their profile among far-right wing extremists, and keeping themselves in the news. With no shame, the Republicans even launched a fundraising campaign called, "Benghazi Watchdogs."

The four Americans killed in Benghazi deserve better.

With all this focus on Benghazi and Obama, it seems as if the Republicans have forgotten how many Americans were killed at U.S. consulates, U.S. embassies or diplomatic compounds, during George W. Bush's administration? From 2002-2008, there were 61 people murdered and 90 people reported injured from suicide bombers, grenades and gunmen.

Unlike Benghazi, there were no hearings. None.

In light of all these hearings, I wonder why no one mentions that when the Republicans took over the House in 2011, they cut nearly a half-billion dollars from the State Department's two main security accounts. One account covered security staffing, including local guards, armored vehicles and security technology; the other, embassy construction and upgrades.

While eager to place blame, Darrell Issa neglects to point out that Hillary Clinton and others had cautioned Republicans repeatedly that they were weakening national security by making these cuts. After meeting with House Speaker Boehner, in February 2011, Secretary of State Clinton warned: "Cuts to the State Department budget will be detrimental to America's national security."

Regrettably, the Republicans dismissed these warnings and chose to cut spending anyway. These actions had consequences and a cost of four American lives.

In addition, the investigation has cost taxpayers millions of dollars to conduct -- and for what? The hearings haven't produced any meaningful information, but they have allowed the Republicans to accuse Hillary Clinton of wrongdoings, thus trying to damage her chances for a successful 2016 White House run, according to Politico.

As this issue drags on, Elijah Cummings, top Democrat on the committee, along with at least 16 of his fellow Democratic committee members said Mr. Issa has held three hearings on the matter -- and that's quite enough. Nevertheless, the hearings continue.