USA TODAY: Rep. Trey Gowdy: We’re breaking new ground
The American people will judge the Select Committee on Benghazi on our actions, not the words of others unfamiliar with our work.
Similarly, those calling for an end to the committee are either satisfied with an incomplete inquiry into the deaths of four Americans in Libya or unconcerned with accountability as it relates to the public record.
This committee has interviewed 41 witnesses no other committee interviewed. Seven were eyewitnesses to the attacks. We have reviewed 50,000 pages of documents never before given to Congress — including the emails of top State Department personnel. And, for the first time, State is committed to finally providing all Ambassador Stevens’ emails by week’s end.
Secretary Clinton was in charge at all times relevant to our inquiry, so of course we need her public record and testimony. But she is one witness. Her emails make up 5% of what the committee has.
It is true other panels conducted Benghazi inquiries. It is equally true they failed to interview dozens of key witnesses, failed to access all information and inexcusably missed Clinton’s exclusive use of private email on her personal server for official business.
The House Intelligence Committee report has been wrongly used to clear the administration. As the author, former Rep. Mike Rogers, said, “Some have said the report exonerates the State Department and White House. It does not.”
Our committee has also accessed new documents from the White House, CIA, Defense Department and Justice Department. Our committee does not trot out or trumpet every piece of new information uncovered or release selective portions of witness interviews, because credible investigations pursue facts, not headlines.
The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is more than a rote phrase. It should be the guiding principle of a serious investigation. Perhaps our critics could live without the 41 new witnesses, seven eyewitnesses, 50,000 new documents and emails from the secretary of State and Ambassador Stevens. We could not. We will keep working until the last fact is uncovered.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., is chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi.