Two senior Democrats revealed new information involving the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Monday that has prompted a fiery response from Republicans who are still trying to investigate the 2012 attacks.
Retired Lt. General Dana Chipman, the former Chief Counsel to the Benghazi Committee, said that nothing more could have been done to save the lives of the four Americans who were killed.
A joint letter written by Benghazi Committee ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and House Armed Services ranking member Adam Smith (D-WA) to Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy revealed that Chipman told former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta:
“I think you ordered exactly the right forces to move out and to head toward a position where they could reinforce what was occurring in Benghazi or in Tripoli or elsewhere in the region. And, sir, I don’t disagree with the actions you took, the recommendations you made, and the decisions you directed.”
“And, again, sir, I don’t mean to suggest that anything could have been done differently to affect the outcome in Benghazi, and I think you would agree with that,” Chipman added, according to IJ Review. “I would posit that from my perspective, having looked at all the materials over the last 18 months, we could not have affected the response to what occurred by 5:15 in the morning on the 12th of September in Benghazi, Libya.”
Chipman went on to say that while he does not “see any way to influence what occurred [in Benghazi],” he is worried about the department’s inability to properly assess threats:
“But what I am worried about is we’re caught by surprise on 9/11, we’ve got nothing postured to respond in a timely manner — and you can debate what’s timely, what’s untimely, but nothing could have affected what occurred in Benghazi.”
The letter disclosed that Chipman is no longer advising the committee. Cummings and Smith also had a problem with the number of witnesses and testimonies.
On Monday morning, Chipman issued a statement clarifying his opinion of the 98 witness testimonies, including that of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:
“I agree with Chairman Gowdy. If some witnesses refer the committee to other witnesses, the responsible thing to do is interview them. The committee has an obligation to the American people to determine what can and cannot be substantiated, so if an individual makes public allegations about Benghazi, the committee should interview that person.”
Benghazi Committee Press Secretary Matt Wolking then released a statement of his own to the Huffington Post saying that the letter is an example of Democrats jumping to conclusions for political gain, which undermines the committee’s goals:
“Democrats have peddled the same politically motivated, predetermined conclusions from the very beginning, so it’s no surprise they’re still clinging to their false claim everything has been ‘asked and answered,’ even after the Pentagon admitted the map it previously provided to the committee showing the forces available on the night of the attacks was incomplete.”
Wolking claimed that the letter is not only a sham, but also a sign of anxiety and fear of the upcoming report.
“Democrats’ false attacks on legitimate congressional oversight are proof they’re nervous about the new information committee investigators have uncovered,” he said.
What do you think about this? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.