Saying there are still “far too many questions” unanswered, House Speaker John A. Boehner reappointed Rep. Trey Gowdy Monday to lead his chamber’s inquiry into the Benghazi terrorist attacks just a few days after a House committee cleared the CIA of most wrongdoing, in a move that signaled the GOP is not satisfied with those conclusions.
“Two years later, the American people still have far too many questions about what happened that night — and why,” Mr. Boehner said in a statement, saying the Gowdy investigation will be the “definitive report” on the attack that left four Americans dead.
On Friday, the House intelligence committee, issued a report concluding that while the CIA deleted references to a terrorist attack from its talking points in the days after the Sept. 11, 2012, assault, the agency did not do so for political motives or to protect President Obama.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, ranking Democrat on the investigative committee, said last week’s report should be the final word on a number of key Benghazi questions.
“Based on these unanimous, bipartisan findings, there is no reason for the Benghazi Select Committee to reinvestigate these facts, repeat the work already done by our Republican and Democratic colleagues, and squander millions of additional taxpayer dollars in the process,” he said.
But over the weekend, GOP lawmakers who have closely followed the Benghazi investigation dismissed the House report.
“I think the report’s full of crap, quite frankly,” Sen. Lindsey Graham told CNN. “The House intelligence committee is doing a lousy job policing their own.”
The House intelligence report, released by the bipartisan committee, said the CIA in the days immediately after the attack had conflicting information about the causes, and decided the preponderance of evidence pointed to it being a protest against an anti-Islamic video.
It took nearly two weeks for the agency to reverse itself and conclude the attack was instead a terrorist-led assault.
The House lawmakers who oversee the intelligence committee said the CIA should have been quicker to change its conclusions, but said based on the information it had in the days after the attack it was not covering up for the Obama administration, as some Republicans had charged.
Last week’s report also said the CIA did not pick up any indications that an attack was about to take place, said CIA employees and contractors did not have a rescue mission squashed, and denied that agency employees were prevented from speaking with Congress.
Earlier this year the House voted to create a select investigative committee to try to tie together all of the pieces of Benghazi, picking up from four other committees’ investigations. The committee hasn’t made much public progress.
A spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi didn’t respond to a message seeking comment on whether she will reappoint her members to the investigative committee.
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