WASHINGTON, DC – Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) discusses the work of the House select committee investigating the Benghazi terrorist attacks that took the lives of four brave Americans on Sept. 11, 2012.
It was the committee's oversight, Brooks notes, that led to the discovery that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used personal e-mail for official State Department business. Brooks calls on Secretary Clinton to turn over her personal server to an independent arbiter who can determine which of her e-mails should be made public. “By handing her server over to a neutral, third-party arbiter,” Brooks says, “Secretary Clinton can help us move forward with figuring out what happened to our people.”
Rep. Brooks, now in her second term representing Indiana’s Fifth District, is a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.
Remarks of Representative Susan Brooks of Indiana
Weekly Republican Address
Indiana War Memorial, Indianapolis, IN
March 14, 2015
Hello, I’m Congresswoman Susan Brooks from the great state of Indiana.
Every morning, as we enjoy our first cup of coffee and get ready for the day ahead, there are tens of thousands of Americans already on the job representing the United States at diplomatic posts around the world. They are deeply committed to this work, and their protection is one of our government’s most solemn responsibilities.
That is why I agreed to serve on a select committee to investigate the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya that took the lives of four Americans on September 11, 2012. I’ve brought to this assignment the same commitment to fairness and truth that guided my service as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.
When we began our work, Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the select committee, told us: facts are not Republican or Democrat. When four Americans serving their country die on foreign soil, we have a duty to uncover the whole truth – wherever it may lead and whoever it may involve.
As part of this pursuit, we requested documents from the State Department, which oversees our diplomatic posts and personnel. As Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State at the time said herself, she was “in charge” of their security. It was through our investigation that we became aware that Secretary Clinton was using personal e-mail for official State Department business. And only when we pressed for more information did we find out that she relied exclusively on personal e-mail hosted by her own personal server as Secretary of State.
Not only that, she also kept those emails from the State Department when she left. Once this was discovered, it was she and her attorneys alone who decided what e-mails should be returned to the government and then just a fraction of those were released to our committee.
That’s right: it was not out of a sense of transparency that she acted. It was our select committee’s oversight that compelled Secretary Clinton to hand over some of her e-mails.
The key word there, of course, is ‘some.’ You see, right now there is no way for us to know whether we have all of the State Department communications that rightfully belong to the American people. The only way to truly know is by having access to Secretary Clinton’s personal server.
Why is this so important? Because these communications may help us answer vital questions. We need to know why the security at our embassy was left inadequate. Why were requests for additional security denied? Why was our response not sufficient? Why were some members of the administration slow to acknowledge a terrorist attack had actually occurred? It is simply unacceptable for so many questions to remain unanswered. And it is unjust and simply wrong for anyone to withhold evidence that may lead to the answers.
That is why we are asking Secretary Clinton to turn her server over to a neutral, third-party arbiter. After a complete inventory, this arbiter can make a determination as to which emails should be public and which should remain private. These decisions would be completely impartial and independent.
President Obama promised you ‘the most transparent administration in history’ – but his first Secretary of State has fallen painfully short. By handing her server over to a neutral, third-party arbiter, Secretary Clinton can help us move forward with figuring out what happened to our people.
Because this isn’t about Hillary Clinton, or Trey Gowdy, or me. It’s about the four brave Americans we lost. These men were public servants. They were also fathers, sons, friends, colleagues and neighbors.
The people who knew them – who loved them – deserve the truth. The government they served has a duty to provide that truth and do whatever is necessary to make sure it never happens again.
Thank you for listening. And to all our Foreign Service and Diplomatic Security officers, thank you for what you do for us every day.