Post-Benghazi Questions Pure Hell: Victims' Parents

Sean Smith and Ty Woods died in the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012

By Dave Summers and R. Stickney
|  Friday, Sep 20, 2013  |  Updated 11:29 AM PDT
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Emotional testimony from parents of two people with San Diego ties killed in the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Bengazi last year.
Both families are frustrated with the lack of information about the death of their loved ones. NBC7's Dave Summers has the latest on oversight commitee hearings.

Emotional testimony from parents of two people with San Diego ties killed in the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Bengazi last year. Both families are frustrated with the lack of information about the death of their loved ones. NBC7's Dave Summers has the latest on oversight commitee hearings.

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Parents of two San Diegans killed in the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi testified at a Congressional hearing Thursday, demanding answers in their sons’ deaths.

“I see these bloody fingerprints crawling down the wall of that Benghazi place and I keep asking everyone do those belong to my son,” Patricia Smith told lawmakers.

The Clairemont resident lost her 34-year-old son, Information Management Officer Sean Smith in the attack on Sept. 11, 2012.

“It's been pure hell living through all this and not getting any answers,” she said.

Smith has long been critical of how the Obama administration has handled the investigation into her son’s death.

She was joined Thursday by Charles Woods whose son, former U.S. Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, was killed defending the consulate. Woods, 41, was an Imperial Beach resident who was survived by his wife and newborn son.

“If the president's child were in Benghazi would the rescue attempt have been more aggressive?” Charles Woods asked.

Woods and Smith died along with U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and former U.S. Navy SEAL Glenn Doherty, 42, of Encinitas.

Their families say they are frustrated with the lack of information about the death of their loved ones

Before their testimony, members of the House Oversight Committee badgered a former U.N. ambassador and former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman asking why former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other top administration officials weren't questioned during the inquiry from an independent panel.

“We interviewed everyone we thought it was necessary to interview. We operated independently and were given freedom to pursue the investigation as we deemed necessary," said Adm. Mike Mullen who served as top general under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

House GOP members said the review was incomplete and lacked independence.

Charles Woods told the House committee that after a year, the families know very few answers to questions they’ve been asking for months.

“So it's very important that we have public testimony by credible witnesses with firsthand, not hearsay, knowledge,” Woods said at the hearing.

San Diego Republican Darrell Issa, who chaired the hearing, Tweeted a photo of empty chairs after Democrat lawmakers left just before the victim's parents testified.

Critics say it's the extension of the cold shoulder victims of the Benghazi attack have continued to get from the administration.

During her testimonry, Smith claimed she’s been ignored by the State Department and told she was unimportant.

"I still do not know why there was insufficient security when clearly the people on the ground were begging for it," said Smith. "Why wasn't our military called in to help? That is what the military is for. They didn't even try."

In advance of the hearing, House Democrats released an 80-page report that concluded the U.S. military wasn't ordered to "stand down" during the Benghazi attack -- rejecting a claim repeated as recently as Wednesday by several Republican members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

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