What happens when a Congressional committee demands documentation from a hostile executive-branch bureaucracy? The panel usually gets a chance to learn a tremendous amount on just about every subject under the sun except for the issue at hand, which is exactly what Trey Gowdy has experienced. The State Department has insisted that it’s complying with the House Select Committee on Benghazi and brags about the number of pages of documents it has released to the investigation, but what’s actually in those document dumps? Everything Congress has ever wanted to know about Richard Gere’s public relations, and more, Gowdy explains:

“It is still like pulling teeth to get the information,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) told CNN on Friday.

“But you know what we got last week? We got 3,600 pages, half of which were press clippings, including articles about Richard Gere,” he said.

“So if that is their idea of complying with congressional investigations, then we are going to be at this a long time.” …

Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, has repeatedly chided the State Department for responding too slowly to the panel’s subpoena.

He recently announced that he’s called on Jon Finer, Secretary of State John Kerry’s chief of staff, to appear before the panel to discuss the agency’s “total recalcitrance at allowing Congress to investigate” and that Kerry himself could be made to appear.

The reason that the process takes so long to produce the requested or subpoenaed material, at least ostensibly, is because it takes State Department personnel time to go through the records to find material responsive to the request. The latest data dump substantially demonstrates Gowdy’s complaint. If the process takes so long because State is parsing through the material diligently, then how did Gowdy wind up with 1800 pages of PR releases? It’s clearly a stalling tactic, using both time and an avalanche of irrelevancies to delay and derail the probe into the administration’s policies and handling of Libya in Barack Obama’s first term.

Small wonder that Gowdy predict that “we’re going to be at this for a very long time.” If Gowdy goes to court, it’s possible that a judge could appoint a special master to take control of State’s archives and publish all relevant documents to the committee. A judge might be loathe to interfere in a process of checks and balances that is explicitly within the purview of the legislative and executive branches. However, if State is attempting to bury the oversight process with a blizzard of irrelevant documentation, it might be enough to get a court to intervene — assuming Gowdy can get this into a court in time to do any good.

The White House and State Department are hoping to drag this probe of the disastrous outcomes of Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s Libya policies out long enough to produce popular opposition to the investigation. Will the media begin asking why the Obama administration wants to keep blocking this probe?