Will Hillary Clinton testify to House, Senate committees on Benghazi?
posted at 8:41 am on December 14, 2012 by Ed Morrissey
Almost three months have passed since terrorists sacked the oddly-undefended American consulate in Benghazi, and the head of the State Department still hasn’t bothered to appear before Congressional committees investigating the attack. In fact, the State Department seems oddly confused about whether Hillary Clinton will testify at all, or whether State intends to share its own investigation with their the House or Senate. After Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen announced that Clinton would finally share her testimony on the attack with both chambers of Congress, the State Department announced that no one there has agreed to anything, at least not yet:
The House and Senate foreign relations committees have already announced that Secretary of StateHillary Clinton will testify on Benghazi next week, but the State Department said today that’s not a done deal.
Moreover, the State Department may not even share the report of its own internal review on Benghazi with Congress, a top State Department official said today.
Congress expects Clinton to testify Dec. 20 about the results of the Accountability Review Board, State’s internal review on the events leading up to and during the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi that resulted in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. But the State Department said today that the work of the ARB, led by Tom Pickering and Adm. Mike Mullen, isn’t complete yet and so Clinton might not show up to testify next week at all.
The ARB report isn’t complete and may not be until after the December 20 date scheduled by the House Foreign Affairs Committee for Clinton’s testimony. Without the ARB report, State claimed, there isn’t anything for Hillary to testify about. And even if the report is complete, State spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told The Cable, Congress might not get to see anything except Hillary’s written response to it … sometime in the spring:
The Cable asked Nuland if the State Department will share the ARB with Congress at all. Nuland responded that they may not decide to give the actual report to Congress.
“The ARB’s responsibility is to brief the secretary. The secretary has said she will be transparent to Congress,” Nuland said. “What is required, Josh, is that the secretary’s response to the ARB’s conclusions has to go to Congress within 90 days of her receiving the report.”
Lovely. In other words, the internal investigation that the Obama administration has used to keep Hillary and other State personnel at arms’ length from Congress will likely end up in a file cabinet when it’s complete. That seems a wee bit odd, no? After all, State controlled this investigation, naming the ARB members and choosing its access. If the report absolved State and/or the White House, would it not already be in the hands of Congress as a means of push-back against criticism of Susan Rice, and others?
The news that State may refuse to share the ARB conclusions should give the House committee an opening to start issuing subpoenas to put its own investigation into high gear. They can start by subpoenaing the ARB and its report, and see whether that resolves the “uncertainty surrounding Hillary Clinton,” as Bret Baier put it last night: