Republicans ramp up Benghazi probe

Republicans are ramping up their investigation into the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, on the first anniversary of the terrorist attack.

House panels have scheduled two hearings next week, and the Intelligence Committee announced that it would be interviewing CIA officers with intimate knowledge of the attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on Sept. 11, 2012.

“For the past year, this administration has failed to provide sufficient answers, fully comply with subpoenas and make available relevant individuals to provide testimony,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Wednesday on the first anniversary of the attack. 

“In short, this administration hasn’t been upfront with the American people or this Congress. Republicans will not stop until we get to the truth. We will press forward with our investigation until we have answers, full accountability and justice.”

ADVERTISEMENT
The Oversight Committee, which has subpoena power, has taken a lead role in the investigation.

Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) plans to question the two co-authors of the State Department's independent Benghazi review during a hearing next Thursday after questioning them in closed session over the summer. 

In addition to retired diplomat Thomas Pickering and former Joint Chiefs Chairman Michael Mullen, witnesses will include two members of an independent panel of security and intelligence experts that evaluated security at 40 high-threat diplomatic posts in the wake of the Benghazi attack.

“Next week, I will convene a hearing to receive testimony from the State Department’s Accountability Review Board co-chairs, members of the Department’s security panel that conducted a review and family members who lost loved ones in the attacks,” Issa said. “Considering that the State Department’s ‘accountability’ review board has yielded no disciplinary action, none of the terrorists have been brought to justice and we still don’t have key answers about what happened before, during and after the attack, Benghazi remains an important and unresolved matter.”

Separately, the House Foreign Affairs panel will hold a hearing on Wednesday with Patrick Kennedy, the State Department's under secretary for management. Kennedy personally approved Benghazi as a temporary post despite its significant vulnerabilities, according to the Independent Security Panel report, which was obtained by Al Jazeera.

And the Intelligence panel's Oversight subcommittee announced that it will be holding closed-door interviews with two CIA officers who were on the ground during the attack, as well as with three other CIA personnel whose comments to the media appear to contradict administration statements, according to Republicans. The subcommittee is lead by Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.).

“There are many unanswered questions, and I look forward to getting to the bottom of what happened in Benghazi and to hold those behind these attacks responsible,” said full panel Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.). “The families of those killed deserve answers and justice, and I believe this oversight plan moves that objective forward.”

The slew of activity comes as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is under increasing pressure to create a select committee to investigate Benghazi. Some 170 rank-and-file Republicans have signed on to a resolution from Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), including six more this week, but Boehner said the existing committees can handle the job.

Please send tips and comments to Julian Pecquet: jpecquet@thehill.com

Follow us on Twitter: @TheHillGlobal and @JPecquetTheHill