Democrats keep using Benghazi as a pejorative. Here’s why they should take it seriously.

April 6, 2016
Blog Post

By Majority Staff

On the Senate floor yesterday, Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) accused the Benghazi Committee of being a “partisan committee masquerading as an independent body,” and claimed its October hearing with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “was a flop … because of her assertiveness, her direct answering of questions[.]” This is only the latest example of Democrats using Benghazi as a pejorative and distracting from the very serious issues at the center of the investigation.

In response, Chairman Gowdy tweeted: “Democrats use Benghazi like it's a four-letter word. I'd like to remind them it's actually a place where four Americans died.”

Of course, Sen. Reid’s comments reflect the talking points pushed by the Clinton propaganda machine that have gradually become the conventional wisdom in Washington, and even surfaced as supposedly straight news reporting. For example, The Washington Post wrote recently that “no new information came to light” in the hearing – a blithe assertion that even contradicts the paper’s previous reporting.

Contradicting Sen. Reid’s accusations is the fact that seven Democrats joined House Republicans in voting to create the Select Committee, and its membership ratio (seven to five) is less partisan than others created in the past under then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (nine to six). The top Democrat on the committee even admitted in a moment of honesty that Republicans’ questioning of Huma Abedin was “overall fair,” and after Cheryl Mills testified she said Republicans were respectful and professional. As Chairman Gowdy explained, “The integrity of this investigation is my utmost concern. In fact, I have refused requests from the majority staff of other congressional committees to view our transcripts.”

As for the idea that the committee’s October hearing was “a flop” that produced “no new information,” in fact, it yielded numerous significant revelations, as many have reported:

  • At the time, CNN reported specifically on “two new pieces of information” revealed in the hearing.
  • In an article headlined “Clinton’s testimony includes new inconsistencies,” Politico reported that some of her statements “mangled the facts and fueled lingering questions.” She “sowed confusion by providing differing descriptions,” factual contradictions “cloud[ed] the situation even more,” and her “verbal meandering” did not help her case.
  • The Washington Post’s Fact Checker scrutinized a widely reported aspect of the hearing, the issue of 600 requests/concerns about security in Benghazi, and concluded it was “satisfied the GOP staff assembled this list in good faith[.]”
  • The Wall Street Journal covered a critical contradiction that came to light when “The State Department said it can’t confirm one of the assertions Hillary Clinton made at Thursday’s House Benghazi Committee hearing from her tenure as Secretary of State.”
  • The Hill reported on the revelation that “Chris Stevens, the ambassador to Libya who died during the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack, did not have Hillary Clinton's personal email address, the former secretary of State testified during the Benghazi committee hearing Thursday.”
  • When the State Department released another batch of Clinton’s emails after the hearing, Fox News noted that many “conflict with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's 11-hour testimony before the Benghazi Select Committee, according to a review of the transcripts and public records.”
  • A Politico reporter noted on Twitter that a couple of those emails also contradicted Clinton’s testimony regarding security updates.
  • Bloomberg View’s Josh Rogin and Eli Lake examined Clinton’s testimony regarding unvetted and sometimes incorrect intelligence reports she received from Sidney Blumenthal, writing that “Her claim today that she didn’t know the source of some of that information is troubling, but more so is her assertion that it didn’t matter.”
  • The Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel wrote that “Democrats on the committee spent most of the hearing complaining that it was a waste of time and money. Quite the opposite. It was invaluable, for the clarity provided by those three emails alone.”

It’s important to remember that the Secretary of State at the time of the Benghazi terrorist attacks was only one witness questioned by the committee. Today the committee interviewed its 89th witness. Of that number, 70 had never before been interviewed by a congressional committee. It’s clear the Select Committee has made significant progress and is breaking new ground.

As Chairman Gowdy has said, “Our thorough, fact-centered investigation into Benghazi is not about the former Secretary of State, and our report will not be about her either. This is about the four brave Americans we lost in Libya, and getting their families and all Americans the truth. I’m confident the value and fairness of our investigation will be abundantly clear to everyone when they see the report for themselves.”

114th Congress