South Carolina Republican congressman Trey Gowdy, Chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, led the House’s investigation into the 2012 incident in Benghazi that killed four Americans. The Pentagon recently pushed back against the committee’s work and Gowdy is firing back.
On April 28, Stephen C. Hedger, assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs, wrote a letter to Gowdy taking him to task for what he believed to be unnecessary witness and information requests, including some based on claims made on Facebook and talk radio.
“This type of questioning poses the risk that your final report may be based on speculation rather than fact-based analysis of what a military officer did do or could have done given his or her knowledge at the time of the attacks,” Hedger said.
Gowdy was having none of it, writing a fiery response to Hedger’s boss, Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in which he defended his committee, while attacking Hedger for writing an “overly partisan letter, which was both drafted and leaked for said purposes.”
Gowdy said that Carter’s department had a “different definition of burden” depending on whether the department was investigating itself or Congress was doing the investigating. He accused Hedger’s letter cited unrealistic timelines for the committee, which launched its investigation in May 2014.
By contrast, Gowdy says a review of the bombing of a civilian hospital in Afghanistan late last year was done in two months because “all of this work was completed without the burdens of which the department now complains.”
The Benghazi committee’s Democrats, through a statement by spokesperson Jennifer Werner, accused Gowdy’s committee of “blaming everyone else for their own failings,” and called for them to “put an end to this wasteful charade of an investigation.”