Hillary Clinton is busily wiping egg off her face after she made the ludicrous claim yesterday that America “didn’t lose a single person” in Libya during her time as U.S. secretary of state.
But when it comes to Clinton’s handling of the 2012 Benghazi tragedy that cost four American lives, Clinton’s selective memory isn’t her campaign’s biggest concern.
Nearly two years after it was created, the House Benghazi Committee has announced it will be issuing its final report before summer, just months before the presidential election.
And while much is already known about Clinton’s inaction and failure to protect the Benghazi diplomatic outpost, the committee has also been conducting secret, closed-door interviews and reviewing documents that have not been made available to the public.
This information is supposedly fueling much of the Benghazi investigation — and any bombshells released in a final report could damage Clinton’s candidacy beyond repair.
The panel’s chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, said in an email to The Associated Press that the committee has made “considerable progress” investigating the deadly 2012 attacks that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.
Gowdy declined to be interviewed, but said in a statement that the committee had advanced in its inquiry in recent weeks, after interviewing national security adviser Susan Rice; her deputy, Ben Rhodes, and other witnesses. Former CIA Director David Petraeus and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta are among those who have testified before the panel in closed-door sessions at the Capitol.
Many of the witnesses, including Rice and Rhodes, had not been interviewed before by a congressional committee, Gowdy said. The panel has interviewed a total of 83 witnesses since its creation in May 2014, including 65 never before questioned by lawmakers, he said in an email to The Associated Press.
The committee also has gained access to documents from the State Department and CIA and to a cache of emails from Clinton and Stevens, who was killed on Sept. 11, 2012 in twin attacks on the diplomatic outpost and CIA annex in Benghazi.
“The American people and the families of the victims deserve the truth, and I’m confident the value and fairness of our investigation will be abundantly clear to everyone when they see the report for themselves,” Gowdy said in an email, promising the report “as soon as possible, before summer.”
Republicans say the committee has been hindered by stonewalling by the State Department and other executive branch agencies. And they say Democrats have done more carping about the committee than constructive work on its behalf.
Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., a member of the Benghazi committee, said Clinton’s testimony was the most visible, but not necessarily the most important, aspect of the panel’s work.
“We want to know what went wrong between the secretary of state, Defense Department, White House and CIA,” Brooks said at a Rotary Club meeting last week in Anderson, Ind. The Herald Bulletin of Anderson reported on the event.
“We want to prevent this from happening again, which is what the families of the victims want,” Brooks said, according to the newspaper.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.