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House Benghazi Committee Won’t Release A Report Until 2016

Benghazi-Consulate
Politico
is reporting that the report of the Select Committee established last year by the House of Representatives is not expected to release its report until some time next year:

A highly anticipated report from the House Select Committee on Benghazi likely won’t be released until 2016 — in the throes of the presidential election season.

Chairman Trey Gowdy has previously said he wanted to finish his inquiry into the 2012 terrorist attacks in 2015, but a spokesman for the panel said Wednesday that outside factors will push the report’s release into next year.

“Factors beyond the committee’s control, including witness availability, compliance with documents requests, the granting of security clearances and accreditations — all of which are controlled by the Executive branch—could continue to impact the timing of the inquiry’s conclusion,” spokesman Jamal Ware said.

Bloomberg News first reported the release date for the report.

The committee has interviewed close to two dozen witnesses and received thousands of pages of documents but is still negotiating with the State Department, FBI and CIA for more access.

The committee has also been formally tasked with investigating Hillary Clinton’s email practices at State, including the documents she said have been wiped from a private server.

Committee member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said the panel would be “much further along by now” if the State Department was seriously responding to document requests.

“It’s largely still that when you have an executive branch that is not being helpful that is what’s slowing everything down,” Jordan said.

The 2016 release will further entangle the already controversial panel with presidential politics.

Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination who was secretary of state during the attacks, and has long been atop the committee’s witness list.

From the beginning, it has always seemed as if this House Select Committee has been concerned less with finding out “the truth” about what happened in Benghazi in September 2012 than it is with creating political problems for the Obama Administration and, more importantly, the Hillary Clinton Presidential campaign. As to the first point, it’s difficult to ascertain exactly what it is this new committee is supposed to be uncovering that hasn’t already been covered by previous investigations of this incident. To date, there have been at least three separate Congressional investigations other than the one now being conducted by the Select Committee. The most recent investigation to release its report was the one conducted by the House Intelligence Committee, which conducted an investigation that lasted more than two years. In that report, the committee debunked the major conspiracy theories regarding the incident, and concluded that the State Department, military, and intelligence agencies did everything they could to respond to the attack when it happened. There was, the committee concluded, no evidence of “no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.” What, exactly, this investigation is going to uncover that previous investigations have not uncover is something that House Republicans have never fully explained, and at its heart the entire process seems to be aimed at satisfying those who continue to believe the conspiracy theories regarding the attack that have become part of the political rhetoric of the right.

This is, of course, entirely unsurprising. Even when the committee was first formed a year ago, it was clear that hearings would likely continue well into the Presidential election year, and the way the investigation has proceeded since then seems to suggest that there was never any real effort to conclude it in an expeditious manner. For the most part, there have been few public hearings of the committee to date, and Chairman Trey Gowdy seems to be spending more time arguing with Democrats over which witnesses are going to be called and what documents the committee will request than actually investigating anything. Most recently, of course, the revelations regarding Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State has sent the committee down an entirely new discovery rabbit hole. Shortly after that story broke, Gowdy and other Republicans called on Clinton to make the server physically available t the committee, or at least to its investigative experts so that they can conduct a computer forensic investigation into the manner. Clinton has indicated through her attorneys that she would not be turning over the entire server. Since Gowdy has suggested that the Committee lacks the authority to issue such a subpoena on its own, it’s likely something that the House of Representatives as a whole would have to do, which will obviously not be a problem given that the GOP controls the chamber. All of this, of course, would delay the committee even further from actually conducting an investigation.

After all this legal fighting is over, it seems extremely unlikely that the Select Committee will uncover anything that hasn’t been covered in any of the previous investigations, most especially the House Intelligence Committee report. As I’ve said before, though, it’s quite apparent that the investigation into Benghazi has little to do with uncovering truths and everything to do with scoring political points. If the investigations were concerned with truth, then they would be spending their time examining issues such as those that Marc Ambinder raised in a piece he wrote about this a year ago. They’re not likely to do that, though. Instead, the investigation, such as it is, will be looking for partisan cudgels to use on Clinton and other Democrats. Whether that is something that will actually resonate with voters remains to be seen, but I’m guessing that the answer is not going to be one that will make Republicans happy.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    Just for context…previous to the Gowdy Investigation there were seven other investigations, 13 hearings, and 50 briefings…which found nothing. Nada. Zilch.
    For further reading on the Clinton scandals that weren’t:
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/hillary-clinton-conspiracy-theories

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  2. al-Ameda says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Just for context…previous to the Gowdy Investigation there were seven other investigations, 13 hearings, and 50 briefings…which found nothing. Nada. Zilch.

    That reminds me: Generalissimo Francisco Franco is STILL dead.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  3. Pete S says:

    I think by now we all just assume that most Republican voters are lying when they pretend to be concerned about deficits and spending. Further proof is this ongoing bonfire of taxpayer money which will result in absolutely none of the committee members losing in the next election.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  4. C. Clavin says:

    @al-Ameda:
    i’m not sure…we should investigate…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  5. CB says:

    Yeah, this thread will certainly not devolve into a shit show. Definitely not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  6. Bob @ Youngstown says:

    Just a question… Did Clinton say that “she wiped the server clean” or was it Gowdy that claimed ‘she wiped the server clean’ ?

    Good IT practice would have had server backup files on separate media stored in a off-site location. Were there backups and we they reformatted?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    What, exactly, this investigation is going to uncover that previous investigations have not uncover is something that House Republicans have never fully explained,

    C’mon Doug, isn’t it obvious? The TRUTH ™!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  8. al-Ameda says:

    @CB:

    Yeah, this thread will certainly not devolve into a shit show. Definitely not.

    That all depends on Trey Gowdy and Darrell Issa.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. DC Loser says:

    Let me guess, it comes out the Friday before election day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  10. de stijl says:

    @Pete S:

    I think by now we all just assume that most Republican voters are lying when they pretend to be concerned about deficits and spending.

    Reagan and Cheney / Bush43 certainly proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    Actually, cutting taxes while increasing spending doesn’t just increase the deficit, but has the welcome additional feature of increasing the political possibilities that draconian cuts to the hated safety net will be passed. These guys are still fighting FDR and Johnson era battles. Bathtubs, drowning, etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  11. m u n c h box says:

    glad you are so worked up with your trademark rage over the investigation into your team’s leaders….

    C’mon Doug, isn’t it obvious? The TRUTH ™!

    but Mr. Gowdy did just say this …

    “We know this, that the mantra that seven previous committees have exhaustively looked at Benghazi™! is balderdash. I was at Langley yesterday, and we got a production of documents today that no other committee has looked at,” he said. “There are lots of things that exist that no other committee of Congress either had access to or asked for.”

    funny that wasn’t mentioned…

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 15

  12. de stijl says:

    previous to the Gowdy Investigation there were seven other investigations, 13 hearings, and 50 briefings…which found nothing. Nada. Zilch.

    Trying to think of a good name for this phenomenon.

    Old school: Whitewateritis
    Topical: Benghazitis
    Meta: The Issa Rule (h/t Denny Hastert)
    Medical: Profound Hearing Loss

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  13. anjin-san says:

    How much longer will the house GOP continue to dance on the graves of the Americans who died in Benghazi?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  14. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @de stijl: Medical: Profound Hearing LossHardness of Listening.

    FIFY

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  15. CB says:

    Look at that, a little bit of shite, but no show.

    Progress!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  16. Tyrell says:

    What about the arrest of suspects in this terrorist attack ? There has been one arrest. What about the others ? The administration has a list of suspects and should go after them. Why the foot dragging ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  17. Pete S says:

    @de stijl: You’re right, we have known for a long time that Republican elected officials don’t care. But at some point I thought the voters who are helping pay for the fire would tell them to stop throwing money on it. Instead they seem to be encouraging the committee to throw bigger piles…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1