An article in Friday’s New York Times discussed Democratic Party fear that the House Select Committee on Benghazi will end up being nothing more than a Republican attack on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 run for president. The article is rich in quotes from Democrats explaining that there is nothing more to learn about the 9/11/12 attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, but the piece offers no response from Republicans nor does it attempt to state the many questions remaining about the terrorist attack which killed four Americans:
But concern is rising, both among Democrats and among those who note that most select committees tend to conclude far more quickly. For instance, the select bipartisan committee to investigate the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 took a year from its formation to complete a 361-page report. The bipartisan commission that examined the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, took a year and a half.
(…) After the midterm elections two months away, Republican attention is likely to shift sharply to Mrs. Clinton, the secretary of state at the time of the deadly assault and a possible Democratic presidential contender for 2016.
“If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck,” said Phil Singer, a former Clinton campaign aide. “It’s hard to look at the timing and think it’s simply a coincidence that it would wrap up in the heart of the presidential campaign.”
Mr. [Rep. Elijah] Cummings said the chairman had repeatedly assured him politics would play no part in the investigation. But, he noted, the House Intelligence Committee completed its own investigation of the attacks this month, the seventh inquiry into the matter.
“The question now is what is left to investigate, and I do not think we need until 2016 to answer it,” he said.
According to Committee Chairman Gowdy, the investigation should be finished before the beginning of 2016, depending on “cooperation from agencies, witnesses and the administration.” But an end date cannot be set, he asserted, saying, “I say ‘should’ because we cannot predict what witnesses will say, what documents may be produced, and whether either will lead to additional lines of appropriate inquiry.”
To Democrats, such deliberation is suspicious in light of what is already known. Representative C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said a declassified version of his panel’s Benghazi report could be released in September. He said the committee found no intelligence failure ahead of the attack. Intelligence agents did warn of increased threats but “had no specific tactical threat” before the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, he said. And there was no “stand down” order issued to military officers to hold off a rescue.
There was no illegal activity, no illegal arms sales occurring, and no evidence the intelligence community assessments were politicized in any way,” he said. “If there are any more facts to be found, I’m all for it, but how much further can you go?
I am not sure what the committee can productively do that hasn’t been done already,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, a member of the select committee and the House Intelligence Committee. But, he added, “These committees tend to take on a life of their own”
There are plenty of open questions about Benghazi; Gowdy asked many of them back in May. If the Times had an interest in being non-partisan they could have transcribed Gowdy’s comments in the video below and taken note of the one aspect of the affair that has changed in the months since May: one of the terrorists responsible for the attack has been arrested.
Cross-posted at The Lid.