Republicans Abandon Plan for Benghazi Hearings to Focus on Clinton
WASHINGTON—Today, all five Democratic Members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi sent a letter to Chairman Trey Gowdy describing how the Select Committee has abandoned its 2015 hearing plan to focus on former Secretary Clinton.
The Democrats’ full letter is linked here and set forth below.
July 15, 2015
Dear Mr. Chairman:
At the beginning of this year, Select Committee Republicans provided Democrats with detailed information about their plans to hold 11 hearings between January and October on a wide range of topics relating to the Benghazi attacks. Since then, however, Republicans have completely abandoned this plan—holding no hearings at all since January and instead focusing on former Secretary Hillary Clinton. Amazingly, the last eight press releases on the Select Committee’s webpage deal entirely with Secretary Clinton.
According to information you provided to Democratic staff, as of December 31, 2014, Select Committee Republicans planned to hold the following 11 hearings:
- January Hearing with State Department eyewitnesses to the attacks to address the question of what happened in Benghazi.
- February Hearing with non-State Department eyewitnesses to the attacks to address the question of what happened in Benghazi. Hearing on the Status of Document productions (if needed).
- March Hearing with State Department witnesses to address the question of “Why were we in Libya?”
- April Hearing with former Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary Leon Panetta as witnesses to address the question of “Why were we in Libya?”
- May Hearing with Secretary Clinton as the witness to address the question of “How did we respond? Potential Hearing with Raymond Maxwell.
- June Hearing with former Deputy Director of the CIA Michael Morrell as the witness to address intelligence matters related to Libya, specifically about what was said after the attacks.
- July Hearing with former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as the witness to address the motivation of the attackers, as well as what was said after the attacks.
- September Hearing to address the State Department’s implementation of the ARB recommendations, which would be a final hearing to address what has been fixed since the attacks.
- October Hearing to address oversight recommendations, specifically to examine what should be fixed in the future.
In 2015, the Select Committee has held only one hearing—on the status of document production—in January.
The Select Committee has not only postponed its hearings with Secretary Clinton and other State Department witnesses, but it has abandoned all of its other hearings as well, including those examining other agencies like the Department of Defense and the CIA.
For example, one of the planned hearings the Select Committee was going to hold was supposed to be with Defense Department officials on our nation’s military posture prior to the attacks in Benghazi. The Select Committee had planned to hold this hearing in April, but it did not do so. Instead, the Select Committee waited an astonishing 11 months before even sending a request for new documents to the Defense Department. The Select Committee did not send its document request until April 8—the same month the hearing was supposed to be held.
To date, the Select Committee has never sent a letter to former Defense Secretary Robert Gates or former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta requesting their testimony. The Select Committee has been virtually silent on its plans to hear from either of these individuals or anyone else from the Defense Department. In the entire 14 months since the Select Committee has been in existence, the Select Committee has not conducted a transcribed interview or deposition of even a single Defense Department employee.
Similarly, the Select Committee originally planned to hold a hearing in June with former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morrell and other intelligence officials, but that hearing also never occurred. Instead, the Select Committee waited almost a full year after its inception—until April of 2015—before sending its first request for new documents to the CIA.
In the past, Republicans have attempted to blame the Select Committee’s glacial pace on Secretary Clinton and the State Department. But it seems difficult to understand how they could be responsible for the Select Committee abandoning every single hearing it had planned to hold since January.
It appears that much of the Select Committee’s work has been shelved while Republicans pursue every possible avenue of political attack against Secretary Clinton. These actions by the Select Committee—which lack any legitimate basis—serve only to delay its work further into the election season and subject it to increasingly widespread criticism for its highly partisan actions.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings Rep. Adam Smith Rep. Adam B. Schiff
Rep. Linda T. Sánchez Rep. Tammy Duckworth