Oliver North
TAMPA, Fla. -- This is the hometown of U.S. Special Operations Command -- at nearby MacDill Air Force Base. This headquarters dispatches our military's special operators -- Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines -- on missions in the most difficult and dangerous places on earth. It's also the place where "action officers" are burning the midnight oil -- but not necessarily planning new targets for our Navy SEALs. Apparently, a "good number" of SOCOM's staff members are busy preparing responses to the batches of inquiries about what really happened in Benghazi, Libya -- before, during and after the terror attack on the night of Sept. 11-12 that resulted in four dead Americans. Answers have been slow in coming.

Three days after the assault, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the FBI would investigate the attack as a criminal matter, not as an act of war. For reasons left to our imagination, the FBI didn't move fast enough, so the Obama administration appointed a special review board to develop a "full picture" of all that transpired at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

This accountability review board is being co-chaired by former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Thomas Pickering and retired Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Investigating the murder of a U.S. diplomat is an assignment for which Pickering is uniquely suited. When he was President Ronald Reagan's ambassador to El Salvador in the 1980s, Pickering was targeted for assassination. As a consequence of the threat, enhanced security measures were put in place to protect him. Apparently, no such steps were taken to safeguard Ambassador Christopher Stevens and his fellow diplomats in Libya. In the absence of answers, one can only wonder why.

The Pickering-Mullen panel supposedly will aggregate information received from SOCOM, European Command, Africa Command, the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, the CIA, other intelligence organizations and the State Department. If the White House is to be believed, the review board will produce a "rigorous" report when its "investigation is complete" and "hold accountable" anyone who "didn't do their job."

At the glacial rate things are moving, we may not know what really happened that terrible night in Benghazi until well after President Barack Obama's second inauguration. Maybe that's the idea. But if members of the O-Team believe that the questions are going to go away just because he won re-election, they're wrong.


Oliver North

Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.