Benghazi Investigation Now Longer Than 9/11 Commission

Jan 6, 2016
Press Release
After 19 Months and $5.5 Million Dollars, Republicans Pass Major Milestone with Partisan Politics

WASHINGTON— Today marks the 609th day since the authorization of the Select Committee on Benghazi, surpassing the length of time the 9/11 Commission took to investigate the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001.

The Benghazi Select Committee is one of the longest, least productive, and most partisan investigations in Congressional history, including the investigations of Hurricane Katrina, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the assassination of President Kennedy, Iran-Contra, and Watergate.

“The Select Committee’s investigation of the Benghazi attacks has been widely condemned as hyper-partisan and ineffective, and it stands in stark contrast to the bipartisan investigation and report issued by the 9/11 Commission,” said Ranking Member Elijah Cummings. “Instead of following the bipartisan model set by the 9/11 Commission, which brought our entire nation together after we were attacked by terrorists, Republicans created a highly partisan Select Committee with an unlimited budget to attack their political opponents. Republicans continue to drag out this political charade closer to the 2016 presidential election, and the American taxpayers continue to pay the price.”

Background:

This is the 9th investigation into the 2012 attacks in Benghazi. The Select Committee has faced widespread criticism of its partisan efforts, including even from conservative Republicans

For example, conservative radio host Erick Erickson called the Committee’s marathon 11-hour hearing with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “a political spectacle” and a “waste of time.” 

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said the Benghazi hearings “were a total disaster for Republicans.”

Former GOP Congressman Joe Scarborough stated that “these sort of panels always seem to fall flat on their face.” Scarborough called the hearing with Secretary Clinton “a very bad day for Trey Gowdy and the Republicans,” cited the “millions and millions of dollars of investigations," and concluded that "most Americans would say, if that’s all you’ve got, it’s just not worth it." 

And conservative commentator Ann Coulter said the investigation has been a “big fat flop.”

The Republican investigation of Benghazi stands in stark contrast to the work of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, which was widely-praised for its effectiveness, productivity, and impartiality:

WORK COMPLETED

Comparison:

9/11 Commission

Benghazi

Days of Hearings:

19

4

Witnesses Interviewed:

More than 1,000

62

Witnesses Testified:

160

7

Recommendations Issued:

41

0

PARTISANSHIP

Comparison:

9/11 Commission

Benghazi

Committee Structure:

Equal Number of Democrats and Republicans, and Joint Staff

7 Republicans and 5 Democrats and Separate Staff

Unilateral Subpoena Authority Without Consent or Vote:

No

Yes

Bipartisan Subpoenas Issued:

13

0

Partisan Subpoenas Issued:

0

11

Report:

Bipartisan and Unanimous 567-Paged Final Report

No Final Report Issued

PRODUCTIVITY

Comparison:

9/11 Commission

Benghazi

Termination Date:

Yes, by Law

No Limit

Budget Constraints:

Yes, by Law

No Limit

Repetition:

“The purposes of the Commission are to … build upon the investigations of other entities, and avoid unnecessary duplication.”

Chairman Gowdy: “We may actually wind up answering some of the questions more than once.”

Report:

“Ten Commissioners—five Republicans and five Democrats chosen by our elected leaders from our nation’s capital at a time of great partisan division—have come together to present this report without dissent.”

Partisan interim report issued without even consulting Democrats.

 

VIEW OF PUBLIC

Comparison:

9/11 Commission

Benghazi

Public Perception:

Pew Research poll released on July 20, 2004, found that by more than two-to-one (61%- 24%), Americans approve of the job being done by the commission. It also found “no partisan divide in this view ­ as many Republicans (62%) as Democrats (61%) approve of the commission’s performance to date.”

CNN/ORC poll released on October 22, 2015, found 72% of all Americans say they see the Benghazi committee as mostly using its investigative mission for political gain. Forty-nine percent of Republicans said the committee is trying to score political points.

 

CONCLUSION

Comparison:

9/11 Commission

Benghazi

Conclusion:

Bipartisan, unanimous, and credible 567-page report issued after 19 months.

After 19 months, no final report, and no end in sight. Committee considered highly partisan and lacking credibility.

 

114th Congress