Benghazi inquiry could haunt Clinton campaign
The special panel investigating the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi indicated Wednesday that its inquiry could continue into next year, as House Speaker John A. Boehner said the Obama administration has made it “virtually impossible” to get to the bottom of what happened.
If the panel does extend into next year, it could cause a political headache for Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose presidential campaign would be in full swing. She also has faced questions over her role in overseeing the diplomatic post that came under attack on Sept. 11, 2012, when she was secretary of state.
Mrs. Clinton may have set back the timetable even further after her attorney wrote a letter to the investigative panel saying she does not intend to meet Chairman Trey Gowdy’s request that she testify twice: once in a private transcribed interview and later in a public hearing.
Mrs. Clinton announced her bid for president last week and has dodged questions from reporters on the campaign trail about her role in deciding the levels of security at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi and the administration’s initial response in blaming the attack on an anti-Islam video rather than on terrorists.
“They could clean this up a whole lot quicker if the administration and former Secretary Clinton were in a position to actually cooperate with the committee and turn over the kind of information that we’ve been seeking for some time,” Mr. Boehner told reporters. “But the administration has made it virtually impossible to get to the facts surrounding Benghazi. And so when we have the facts, we’ll have a report.”
Mr. Gowdy has said he hopes the panel can finish its work by the end of this year. But a spokesman for the committee warned that timeline could slip with potential delays arising from factors “beyond the committee’s control.”
“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,” said panel spokesman Jamal Ware.
Mr. Gowdy wants Mrs. Clinton to testify to his committee twice.
The first appearance would be for a transcribed interview on her decision to reject a State Department-issued email address and instead set up her own server and account, which she used to deemed proper.
The former secretary of state explained last month before Mr. Gowdy’s request that she used her own email server out of convenience, and said she turned over approximately 30,000 emails she deemed work-related to the State Department in December — nearly two years after she left office.