In 2013, btw brought you news of a round of Congressional hearings regarding the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The purpose of these hearings is to investigate and report on the incident that resulted in the death of four people, including U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens. Last week, the committee conducted its eighth investigation by questioning its only witness of the day, Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time of the attack.
Lead by one of the representative from South Carolina Trey Gowdy (R), the United States House Select Committee on Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi is made up of 12 members of the House of Representatives. Seven of the committee members are Republican and the other five are Democrats. The scope of the investigation, as laid out in the House Resolution 36, includes questions of security and military decisions that may have led to the attack, White House response, lessons learned, and recommendations for improvement. The committee does not have the authority to issue punishment, but will issue a report of their findings that will become part of the Congressional record.
During the eleven-hour procedure, Clinton was questioned on all of the above topics and more. Ohio Representative Jim Jordan was especially vocal in his admonishment of the former secretary of state. He claimed that the Obama administration deliberately deceived the public by releasing news that the attack was the result of a protest against an anti-Muslim video. Clinton denied the accusation, saying that the information on who was responsible was not immediately clear. She was also criticized for the fact that a request for increased security at the consulate was denied. In response, she took responsibility for the failure but said she was not personally aware of the request, as it was made at a lower level.
Sidney Blumenthal, Clinton’s long-time friend and close adviser of her husband, former president, Bill Clinton, was also the subject of criticism. The committee wanted to know why Blumenthal was granted close access to her when security experts were not. She said that she had not asked Blumenthal for the information that he provided to her. Not surprisingly the issue of Clinton’s use of a private server to send government-related emails was also addressed.
What Was Revealed and What’s Next?
Generally speaking, the latest Congressional session focusing on the Benghazi attack yielded very little new information in this investigation. The Democrats on the panel asserted that Clinton was being questioned solely as a way to damage her presidential campaign, while Republicans insisted that the inquiry was an important measure to national security. During the hearing, Republicans did not appear to accept Clinton’s explanations, while Clinton expressed frustration over being asked the same questions she was asked when she was brought before the committee two years ago,
In terms of what’s next, Chairman Gowdy said that the committee has recovered 50,000 documents that hadn’t been seen by Congress as well as 41 new witnesses.