House GOP to hold new hearings on Benghazi

The House Oversight Committee will resume hearings on the terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Wednesday.

“Next month, the Oversight Committee will convene a hearing on the Benghazi terrorist attacks to examine evidence that Obama Administration officials have attempted to suppress information about errors and reckless misjudgments,” Issa said. “The American people still don’t have the full truth about what happened both before and after the murders of four brave Americans.

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Issa said his hearings would examine the problems in the administration's own review of Benghazi.
"While President Obama and his administration may be inclined to give free passes to senior officials who bungled their responsibilities, this committee will expose what they did and hold them accountable to the public. Getting the full story is critical to ensuring that this does not happen again.”

The announcement follows Tuesday's release of an interim report by the Republican leaders of the five committees of jurisdiction — including Issa's — that blames then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for security lapses in Benghazi that contributed to the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. 

Rank-and-file Republicans have clamored for their leaders to form a special committee to look into Benghazi, and the report failed to placate those calls. A measure supporting the formation of the special panel is supported by more than half of the House Republican Conference. 

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), the sponsor of the resolution, said it was “the only way we will truly get to the bottom of this tragic event.”

The interim House GOP report accuses Clinton's State Department of seeking to change administration talking points to “insulate” the department from criticism. It also says President Obama should have anticipated the increased risk of attack on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and given the Department of Defense “the authority to launch offensive operations beyond self-defense.”

“The interim progress report issued today is a step in the right direction,” Wolf said in a statement. “Nevertheless, I believe we still have a long way to go before we will have all the answers that the American people and the families of the victims deserve.”

“The creation of a select committee — which would cost nothing, have full cross-agency subpoena authority and would be extinguished after its final report is issued — would prevent the Obama Administration from saying one thing to one committee and another thing entirely to the others. Most importantly, the select committee’s comprehensive jurisdiction and subpoena authority would hold everyone accountable and protect federal agency employees who feel a duty to testify, but may be pressured not to by the administration.”

Democrats slammed the report for “politicizing” the Benghazi attack; the ranking Democrats on the five committees that issued the report said Democrats had been excluded from the process that created it. 

“By abandoning regular order and excluding Democratic members entirely from this process, you are unnecessarily politicizing our national security and casting aside the system used by the House for generations to avoid making obvious mistakes, errors, and omissions,” the Democrats said in a letter to Boehner.