Benghazi panel schedules new interviews

Benghazi panel schedules new interviews
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The House’s Select Committee on Benghazi will interview four more Obama administration officials over the next week, including an unidentified eyewitness to the 2012 attacks on an American compound in the Libyan city.

In announcing the upcoming interviews on Thursday, Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyHouse Oversight slams TSA after report says officials 'interfered' in disciplinary case Gowdy steps down from Ethics Committee, citing 'challenging workload' Oversight Dems ask for subpoena of Trump Organization MORE (R-S.C.) claimed that the panel was breaking “an immense amount of new ground” as it finalizes its analysis.

“The American people and the families of the victims deserve the truth," Gowdy said in a statement, “and I’m confident that the value and fairness of our investigation will be abundantly clear to everyone when they see the report for themselves.”

On Thursday, the panel will conduct a closed-door interview with Gentry Smith, a former official within the State Department’s bureau of diplomatic security.

Next week, it will meet behind closed doors with the unnamed eyewitness, who the committee would only identify as being from the national security community. The panel will also ask questions of Adm. James Winnefeld Jr., former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Susan Curley, an official in the State Department’s office of Management Policy.

According to the committee, Curley’s interview next Friday will be the 79th it has conducted. Of those witnesses, 62 had never appeared before any of the other congressional panels reviewing the Benghazi assault, which killed four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Democrats have repeatedly criticized the pace of the panel, which was created nearly two years ago.

Critics have maintained that the committee is little more than a thinly veiled attack on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIntel Dem decries White House 'gag order' after Bannon testimony 'Total free-for-all' as Bannon clashes with Intel members Mellman: On Political Authenticity (Part 2) MORE, who is running for president and served as secretary of State during the 2012 attacks.

Gowdy had previously predicted that the committee’s interviews would finish at some point this month, allowing it to compile its final report in the following weeks.

On Thursday, however, he appeared to push the time frame back slightly, suggesting that the committee would aim to release its report and recommendations “before summer.”

Republicans on the special investigatory panel have blamed the Obama administration for stonewalling their effort by refusing to hand over documents. Gowdy on Thursday said the panel is waiting for records from the administration that it requested “nearly a year ago.”