CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
Investigation of Benghazi
*For the most up-to-date information on the Benghazi Committee’s efforts visit their website here.
The terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012 was a sobering reminder of the virulent and dangerous threats facing the United States, its interests, and its partners.
Shortly after the attack, House Republicans asked the Obama administration to explain to the American people the Administration’s actions leading up to and during the attack itself, as well as the fact that publicly-available information consistently contradicted Administration accounts describing the cause and nature of the attack. Our fight for answers and justice continues today.
For over two years, House Committees have engaged in serious, deliberate, and exhaustive oversight investigations of what led up to this tragic event, what happened that night, and why the White House still refuses to tell the whole truth. All of the unclassified information and findings from this ongoing investigation can be found on this website.
In total, the committee has interviewed over 102 witnesses, including more than 79 who had never before been questioned by Congress.
The House committees investigating the attack have produced reports outlining what has been learned and what information we continue to seek on behalf of the American people and the families of the victims.
The Committee on Armed Services has received and reviewed hundreds of pages of written material, much of it classified, from Department of Defense. The committee has also convened two open hearings, seven classified Member briefings, and three classified staff briefings.
General Martin Dempsey (the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), General Carter Ham (who commanded U.S. Africa Command at the time of the attack), other general and flag officers, and senior civilian defense officials appeared before the committee. They provided information about DOD actions in connection with the attack, and described constraints on deploying other forces, including drones and fighter aircraft.
The committee also heard from field-grade officers who were in Libya at the time, or in contact with those who were, to discern their understanding of events and the Department’s operational limitations. Thus, the committee has met with and received information from military personnel in the entire chain of command in connection with Benghazi: from those on the ground at the time of the attack to the nation’s senior-most uniformed leader.
Furthermore, staff has conducted additional interviews of military officers and DOD is making arrangements for more in coming weeks. This includes individuals who have already provided information (who will appear for further questioning and clarification) and some who will be questioned for the first time.
The Committee on Foreign Affairs has been actively engaged since September 11, 2012 in oversight work related to the Benghazi terrorist attacks. To date, the Committee has held four public hearings with senior State Department officials, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and other experts. Additionally, the Committee has held two classified Member briefings. Chairman Ed Royce has authored, or sent jointly with sister committees, 14 oversight letters to the Administration, while investigative staff has reviewed over 25,000 pages of documents reluctantly produced by the Department.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has held three public hearings related to the terrorist attacks in Benghazi and conducted over a dozen transcribed interviews with relevant officials in the State Department and the Department of Defense.
The Committee’s efforts first brought to light the accounts of some of the most significant and authoritative voices: Gregory Hicks, Ambassador Christopher Stevens’ top deputy in Libya; Eric Nordstrom who served as the top U.S. security official in Libya in months prior to the attack; Lt. Colonel Andrew Wood, the leader of a Special Operations group that had to leave Libya after requests for an extension of mission were denied; and Mark Thompson, a State Department anti-terrorism official who explained that top officials interceded against response efforts that could have shed light on responsibility for the attack.
Most importantly, the Committee’s efforts have continually advanced the understanding and raised new questions about the lack of security in Benghazi, an inadequate military response, and why Administration officials continued to publicly press a narrative of a public protest when eye witnesses knew no such event occurred.
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence held Full Committee oversight events with National Counterterrorism Center Director Matt Olsen and then-CIA Director David Petraeus on September 13th and 14th 2012–directly after the attack. Since then, the Committee has held an additional 14 full Committee events including regular hearings on the Administration’s efforts to identify the attackers.
The Committee has interviewed nine eyewitnesses to the attacks–including the senior CIA officer in Benghazi that night. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell are among those who have testified to the Committee. Committee staff has reviewed the FBI intelligence reports taken from the survivors in the days following the attack as well as thousands of pages of intelligence reports, assessments, and administration emails leading up to and after the Benghazi terrorist attack. Chairman Rogers has sent three letters to the Administration during the course of the Committee’s ongoing investigation.