The attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya has raged for over a year and a half. President Obama and the Democrats would love nothing more than to have this issue disappear forever. Not only does it potentially implicate the Obama White House (and maybe even President Obama himself) in a politically motivated cover-up that cost the lives of 4 Americans (including an Ambassador), but it could also severely harm Hillary Clinton’s chances at taking the White House in 2016.
On Benghazi, stakes are high both for Democrats and Republicans
Clearly there is a great deal of political motivation for both Democrats and Republicans over the issue of Benghazi. Democrats know that the fallout could potentially cost the political capital of their two brightest stars. Republicans are of course also well-aware of this fact, and have done everything in their power to keep the issue in the public spotlight. Part of this process for Republicans has been constant attempts to subpoena officials and have relevant documents released by the State Department and the White House.
One major development occurred recently when Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, was successful in using the Freedom of Information Act to force the White House to release over 100 pages worth of documents. One of these documents was an email that appears to indicate a coherent strategy, and not a failure of intelligence information, at the root of blaming the internet video for the Benghazi attack.
The FOIA-released documents has everyone talking about Benghazi again
After the email was released to the public, Republican politicians and pundits were of course in an uproar. However, what is particularly telling is the fact that many of the mainstream media outlets, such as CBS and CNN, have been covering this new development as well.
Speaker John Boehner will create a Select Committee on Benghazi
These new developments, and the media attention they have garnered, have led Speaker Boehner to form a Select Committee on Benghazi. The committee will be led by Representative Trey Gowdy, who has a history as a federal prosecutor. Without a doubt, anyone required to testify in front of Representative Gowdy is likely to be quite nervous.
At first, it appeared that Democrats might boycott the Select Committee altogether. However, they eventually realized that having zero representation on the committee would not only be bad for their cause, but could also make them appear complicit in the cover-up if one is discovered during the investigation.
Secretary of State John Kerry subpoenaed to testify at a public hearing
As a clear indication of how serious this Select Committee and its investigation will be, Representative Darrell Issa has subpoenaed Secretary of State John Kerry, who will be required to appear at a public hearing on May 21st. Democrats are claiming that the three weeks of notice is not fair to Secretary Kerry, as it does not allow him enough time to prepare. Perhaps Democrats would prefer Secretary Kerry’s appearance to take place after the midterm elections?
Secretary of State Kerry’s convoluted reaction to the subpoena
Interestingly, Secretary Kerry’s initial reaction to the subpoena was that he would not comply, due to “scheduling conflicts.” However, it appears as though the Secretary has changed his mind, and will in fact comply with the investigation. It appears as though Kerry is unhappy with the fact that he was subpoenaed without being spoken to first.
This might be reasonable, if not for the fact that the State Department and the White House have blocked the investigation at every turn. Even getting the “smoking gun” email required a lengthy legal battle and the powers provided by the Freedom of Information Act.
While it is still too early to know if there is a scandal within the Benghazi cover-up to cause real political damage to the Democrats, it is certainly looking bleak for them at this point in time.