True to his word, Rep. Trey Gowdy will convene a public hearing of the Select Committee on Benghazi before the year's end.
The South Carolina Republican and chairman of the special House panel tasked with investigating the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, announced Wednesday morning that a hearing titled "Reviewing Efforts to Secure U.S. Diplomatic Facilities and Personnel," will take place Dec. 10. Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Greg Starr, along with Steve Linick, the inspector general for the State Department, will be testifying.
Gowdy told CQ Roll Call last month that the committee would be active during the lame duck session. Though it was created with much fanfare — and considerable controversy — in the spring, it has ultimately taken a lower profile than many had expected with just one hearing taking place so far.
Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, recently announced that he would be reappointing Gowdy to serve as the chairman of the Benghazi committee in the 114th Congress, signaling that House GOP leadership thinks the job is far from over. The chamber will have to vote to reauthorize the whole committee early next year.
It remains to be seen, however, how the committee will operate in light of a bipartisan House Intelligence Committee report, released last month , that found no evidence of misconduct, breaches or lapses in the Central Intelligence Agency's handling of the fatal attack.
While some Republicans dismissed the report's conclusions — Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina called it "crap " — Democrats hailed the Intelligence Committee report as affirming.
“Based on these unanimous, bipartisan findings, there is no reason for the Benghazi Select Committee to reinvestigate these facts, repeat the work already done by our Republican and Democratic colleagues, and squander millions of additional taxpayer dollars in the process," said ranking member Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md.
On Wednesday, a Democratic aide for the Benghazi committee suggested that while the purpose of the upcoming hearing at least had some value — and came from the recommendation of the minority party — the panel had not done enough in the months since its inception.
“Democrats expect this to be an update from the committee’s first hearing on implementation of State Department reforms, which was suggested by Democrats," the aide said in an email to CQ Roll Call. "The state department appears to be on track and making progress on reforms recommended by the Accountability Review Board in December 2012. This will be the last hearing for the committee before reauthorization, meaning the committee will not have held any investigatory hearings in its first seven months.”
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