Many of us who’ve been seeking the truth for two years about events that killed four Americans in Benghazi were frustrated (to say the least) by recent remarks, from within GOP ranks no less, suggesting this truth-seeking was political in nature. And no one could’ve been more frustrated than the chair of the House Select Committee on Benghazi himself, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.
Yesterday, a visibly frustrated and fired-up Gowdy unloaded. His message for fellow GOP members — both in Congress and the GOP presidential field — was clear: SHUT UP.
Via Western Journalism:
“I have told my own Republican colleagues and friends, shut up talking about things that you don’t know anything about. And unless you’re on the committee, you have no idea what we’ve done, why we’ve done it and what new facts we have found,” Gowdy said Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation.
Gowdy was responding to talk by Republicans including Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., that the committee’s real aim is to hurt Hillary Clinton’s efforts to win the Democratic nomination and be elected president. In fact, Gowdy emphasized, the focus is to determine what took place before, during, and after the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi, Libya, in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed. Clinton was secretary of state at the time.
“I get that people don’t want to talk about that. But the seven [Republican] members of my committee are much more focused on the four dead Americans than we are anyone’s presidential aspirations,” he said.
Watch for yourself:
Gowdy said Clinton is among 70 witnesses called by the committee.
“I get that she gets more attention than the other 69,” he said. “But frankly, if you ask me, the eye witnesses on the ground that night in Benghazi are more important to me as a former prosecutor than the former secretary of state.”
Of course, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been quick to capitalize on the suggestion the committee’s aims are purely political. She’s also taken the opportunity to go on the offensive and question the need for the current committee, given that there already have been seven committees investigating Benghazi.
However, as Gowdy points out, the seven previous committees were missing at least one key aspect of evidence: the emails of Ambassador Chris Stevens himself. Gowdy notes that Stevens was a “prolific emailer,” and his emails would naturally be key to providing a window into what was going on in Libya preceding the September 11, 2012 attacks.
To that point, Gowdy notes the committee recently received emails sent by Stevens that sought increased security — and what he received in return.
At the same time, Stevens was being asked for advice on how to frame the public message about the situation in Libya.
“He didn’t need help with (public relations), and he was asking for more security,” Gowdy said. He said the emails illustrate “the total disconnect between what was happening in Libya with the escalation in violence — that we were a soft target, that there was an increase in anti-Western sentiment…while Washington is asking him to…help on how to message the violence.”
Gowdy said one email from Stevens said, “Maybe we should ask another government to pay for our security upgrades because our government isn’t willing to do it.”
Gowdy said he has ONE question for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she testifies before the committee Thursday: “While violence was going up in Libya, why was our security profile going down?”
Continuing to lead the charge to uncover the truth about Benghazi — when Democrats continue to ridicule the process and many Americans consider it “old news” — has got to feel like one of the most thankless roles in the world some days. So I’ve admired Rep. Gowdy for his steadfastness of purpose in carrying this torch forward.
Still, in addition to fending off accusations of political motives, Gowdy is under fire for not being at every witness interview. He’s currently catching flak for not being present for testimony of Clinton’s key aide, Huma Abedin, which took place Friday while Gowdy was attending a previously scheduled event.
So, what do you think — are the criticisms of Gowdy fair?
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]