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Avoid witch hunt on Benghazi

Published: Sun, May 18, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

Question: What do the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the ongoing rollout of the Affordable Care Act have in common?

Answer: Both disparate events have been shamelessly twisted into political tools by some Republicans to discredit Democrats in the run-up to this fall’s congressional elections.

Particularly in the case of Benghazi, it’s high time such politicization ends. As the U.S. Congress prepares to begin its eighth set of hearings on the attack that killed four Americans, the investigative panel’s major goals must focus squarely on truth and action.

Recent release of an email about how the White House would frame the attack in the media raises some legitimate questions about the administration’s commitment to transparency. Results from earlier hearings indicate that the State Department did indeed make mistakes before and after the attack. That’s why administration officials must offer full disclosure in testimony this time around to ensure it is the last go-round on Benghazi.

More importantly, Select Committee panelists must work to guarantee U.S. diplomatic ranks are adequately protected across the globe by crafting recommendations to ensure the mistakes of Benghazi are never repeated.

Toward those ends, cooperation — not confrontation — must be the committee’s watchword. Democrats on the panel should rethink boycott plans. Republicans should emphasize their mission is apolitical. A good-faith start in achieving those ends would be to even up the political makeup of the committee. Republicans now hold a 7-5 advantage.

Above all else, the panel’s mission must remain a bipartisan search for truth.

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