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Benghazi Panel: Witch Hunt Or Search For Truth?

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Benghazi Panel: Witch Hunt Or Search For Truth?

Politics

Benghazi Panel: Witch Hunt Or Search For Truth?

Benghazi Panel: Witch Hunt Or Search For Truth?

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/450769899/450769900" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Not only Hillary Clinton has a lot at stake in how her appearance goes Thursday before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. So too does the panel. Democrats says its aim is primarily to damage Clinton's presidential bid. Republicans say they're trying to get to the truth about Benghazi. Today's their chance to show who's right.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK, so a big debate here over whether this committee is just after Hillary Clinton or asking serious and probing questions about a tragic event. Last week, Kansas Republican Mike Pompeo, who's on the committee, told us it is the latter.

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MIKE POMPEO: We have, for the entire time, been focused on solving the riddle of how we had an ambassador murdered, the first one since 1979. And it would be investigatory malpractice if we didn't interview former Secretary Clinton. She was the senior diplomat who Christopher Stevens worked for.

GREENE: NPR's David Welna has more on what this committee has and hasn't done.

DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: Last January, when the Benghazi committee was still getting started, Republican chairman Trey Gowdy laid down his marker for a successful investigation.

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TREY GOWDY: Talking to only some of the witnesses will not work. And accessing only some of the documents will not work. If you want all of the truth, then you need all of the information.

WELNA: Since that time, the panel has interviewed at great length some associates of Hillary Clinton. But it has not called in Leon Panetta, who was defense secretary when the Benghazi attacks occurred. Nor has it summoned David Petraeus, who headed the CIA at the time. Unlike any of the seven other congressional Benghazi investigations, this one has gathered all the email of Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador who died in the attack along with three other Americans. And it was this panel that discovered that Clinton had used only a private email account the entire time she was secretary of state. Even though the committee does not yet have all her emails, since some are still being vetted by the State Department, Gowdy is nonetheless going ahead with today's hearing. The panel's five Democrats all say they're quitting, but only after helping defend Clinton. David Welna, NPR News, Washington.

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