I'm normally a 'plague on both your houses' guy when it comes to the U.S. Congress, but I have to say that the Democrat side won hands down at the third hearing of the House Select Committee on the 2012 attack in Benghazi.
There was not much reason for Chairman Trey Gowdy
(Hysteric - SC) to call the hearing in the first place. He had only two witnesses, one of whom - the Congressional liaison from CIA - was asked almost nothing, and the other of whom - Congressional liaison from the State Department - served as Gowdy's whipping boy for Hillary Clinton.
Gowdy sang his usual aria of outrage for an opening statement, accusing
State of stonewalling the Committee's requests for more and more documents and witnesses, but that fell flat very quickly when the Democratic senior member pointed out the Committee had waited from May to November before making its first request.
Elijah Cummings (D-MD):
Rather than blaming Federal agencies, we should acknowledge that the reason for the delay lies in the Committee's own actions. The committee waited six months before sending its first request for new documents. Six months. It took the Committee almost a month longer to request witness interviews from the State Department.
Who is stonewalling whom?
The hearing then devolved into accusations of Gowdy's one-sided management of the Committee's business. He has not convened an organizational meeting or created Committee rules, has given no notice to the minority side when the majority interviewed witnesses in private, and allegedly misrepresented to the minority what those witnesses said. He has ignored the Justice Department's concerns that witness testimony could effect its ongoing investigation and even denied, during his flaying of the whipping boy, that Justice has any such concerns. And, he has issued an open-ended request for "all" State Department documents without specifying particular topics, or dates, or facts in contention, or people other than
"seventh floor principals", with the result that no number of documents State can produce will even be enough.
Representative Linda Sánchez
(D-Cal) spanked Gowdy good and hard starting at the 54 minute mark of the video above. First, she produced a letter from Justice stating its concerns about witness testimony. Second, she credibly accused Gowdy of withholding witness statements that contradicted his narrative of State Department conspiracies to destroy evidence. Third, she summed up the inanity of holding yet another investigation of the Benghazi attack after eight previous Congressional investigations have found nothing.
Eight months later, our Committee still lacks that scope, transparency, and more than ever the credibility. Now, more than ever, I'm convinced that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are in search of this mythical creature, this Unicorn, and the Unicorn being some kind of nefarious conspiracy and that nefarious conspiracy they're looking for does not in fact exist.
The Unicorn of conspiracy may be mythical, but the political reason for holding Committee hearings through 2015 is quite real, and obvious. Once Hillary announces - if in fact she does
- she will have to overcome her disastrous 'what difference does it make' outburst
at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in 2013. Benghazi issues, both real and fictitious, will do major political damage
to her campaign.