It will soon be the 4-year anniversary of the attack on an American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. While we know more about what happened that night than we did in the months immediately after, it seems there are still so many questions to be asked.
One of the main questions would have to be, where are all the witnesses and why has our government been less-than-cooperative, in regards to giving access to these witnesses to the Select Committee on Benghazi, chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.)?
As the investigation moves forward, Assistant Secretary of Defense Stephen Hedger has been subpoenaed to appear before the committee on Wednesday, June 15th, in order to give private testimony.
A statement from Rep. Gowdy reads:
“This Pentagon political appointee claimed in an official letter to the committee the Department of Defense could not find a requested witness, despite expending ‘significant resources’ searching for him. This witness is still on active duty and confirmed Thursday the Air Force knew exactly who he was – a drone sensor operator who was operating over Benghazi on the night of the attacks. Mr. Hedger will now have the opportunity to detail exactly what ‘resources’ he ‘expended’ and how. I look forward to him explaining the serious questions that have arisen with respect to this matter, including whether they are related to incompetence or deliberate concealment of the witness from a congressional inquiry.”
Let that sink in.
The Pentagon and the DoD claimed they had no idea how to locate an active duty airman, in order to make him available for questioning by the Benghazi committee.
Hedger had previously sent a letter to Rep. Gowdy, which was subsequently “leaked” (by House Democrats), that was meant to highlight abuses by House Republicans, in regards to their requests for witness access and information.
In response, Gowdy wrote that the “overtly partisan” letter “intentionally mischaracterizes both the nature of the Committee’s investigation and its interaction with the Department of Defense. It is also riddled with factual inaccuracies, which not only does a disservice to the public but also does a disservice to the women and men who work for the Department of Defense.” He stated that Pentagon political staffers are “welcome to waste taxpayer dollars writing partisan, factually deficient letters to our committee, coordinate the language with House Democrats, and then leak it to the media,” but that “will not prevent this committee from interviewing all witnesses who can help us write the final, definitive accounting of what happened before, during, and after the attacks that killed four Americans in Benghazi[.]”
On May 20, three months after the committee’s request, the Department of Defense provided a complete list of names of drone personnel from the time of the attacks. While it is unclear if the Department knew at the time it had finally provided the name of “John from Iowa,” the committee did. Based on this drone sensor operator’s testimony to the committee Thursday, it now appears the Department had knowledge well in advance of who and where John was. In fact, the Department had been in contact with him regarding his public statements prior to the committee’s request. The committee intends to question Hedger about this discrepancy and other matters.
Rep. Gowdy has indicated that the committee will be releasing their report in July.