It’s showdown time on Benghazi: South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham has put a hold on all Obama administration executive branch nominees until the White House lets the Benghazi survivors testify before Congress.
If he succeeds, we might finally find out what happened September 11, 2012. But if Senator Graham's effort fails, it’s doubtful those Benghazi survivors will ever testify and the scandal will forever be shrouded in mystery.
But the issue begs two questions. First, why do the survivors and others involved need White House permission to testify?
Second, why does the White House still stubbornly insist that they keep mum?
Most of the eye-witnesses are former military special forces turned government contractors. They need to stay on the right side of the administration if they want to work.
If they defy the White House and testify, the administration is unlikely to hire them again. Even if they testify in secret and behind closed doors, their names could be leaked and their covers blown, making them unemployable in a business where anonymity is a prerequisite.
Yet, at this point, what can the survivors possibly say that hasn’t already been said? Everyone knows that the Benghazi consulate lacked adequate security, that the administration failed to launch a rescue mission while the attack was ongoing, and that the Benghazi terrorists responsible have not been brought to justice.
If the survivors testify and confirm what we already suspect -- that Benghazi is a story of White House incompetence, human tragedy, and American heroism, it won’t make much news.
So what is the White House so worried about?
Maybe their real concern isn’t about the events of September 11 at all but having to explain what our guys were doing in Benghazi in the first place? That is the one question that has never been answered.
For months there have been unconfirmed reports circulating in the shadows that Benghazi was an off the books, gun-running operation, like Iran-Contra in the Reagan years.
There are rumors it was a secret program to take weapons out of the hands of Libyan rebels and put them into the hands of Syrian rebels.
Clearly, the Benghazi “consulate” wasn’t a regular consulate that issues visas and tracks down lost luggage.
But what was it? And why was it crawling with special ops contractors?
What was their mission?
According to unconfirmed reports, U.S. contractors were there to find loose weapons the U.S. had supplied to rebel forces during the Libyan war, and unsecured weapons from Qaddafi's stockpiles.
According to these reports, the American contractors paid to get the weapons back and off the streets, similar to the gun buy-back programs used in some American cities. What would then happen to those weapons is anyone’s guess – maybe they were destroyed, maybe they were sent back to the US, maybe they were funneled to Syrian rebels.
These rumors could be just conspiracy theories and speculation. But something is making the White House nervous about having the Benghazi survivors testify.
In a week where the ObamaCare meltdown still dominates the headlines, it’s hard to imagine there is anything worse for the administration. Or ... is there?
Kathleen Troia "K.T." McFarland is a Fox News National Security Analyst and host of FoxNews.com's "DefCon 3." She served in national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations