Benghazi in­quiry could haunt Clin­ton cam­paign

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY DAVID SHERFIN­SKI

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.

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