The Department of Defense has spent millions of dollars and thousands of hours trying to fulfill requests from Congress’s six investigations into Benghazi, according to a letter from the Pentagon to a top-ranking Democrat.
“The Department has devoted thousands of man-hours to responding to the numerous and often repetitive congressional requests regarding Benghazi,” Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs Elizabeth King said in a letter to Congress dated earlier this month. That estimate includes “time devoted to approximately 50 congressional hearings, briefings, and interviews which the Department has led or participated in.” While no total calculation has been completed yet, King estimated that total cost of compliance with Congress’ requests to the Pentagon and other agencies runs “into the millions of dollars.”
“We continue to work fervently to address outstanding items,” King continued, including document requests and additional interviews — including with people who have already submitted to previous hearings or interviews. “Since the tragic events of September 2012, we have made every effort to provide information to the various congressional committees regarding Department’s actions in response to the attacks, and have accommodated Congress’ every request regardless of expense,” King wrote in the letter, which was sent to Rep. Adam Smith (D-CA), ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee. Committee chairman Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) was also sent a copy of the letter.
Smith first contacted the Pentagon last month to “gain a better understanding of the resources exhausted” in the DOD response to the now multiyear investigation into the Obama administration’s response to the attacks in Benghazi, Libya. According to The Hill, following the Pentagon’s response, Smith reached out to McKeon to call off the witch-hunt that has to date produced no evidence of nefarious wrongdoing on the part of the White House, Pentagon, State Department, or intelligence community. “We must stop wasting this committee’s and our military’s scarce resources chasing a scandal that does not exist,” Smith wrote.
But it appears, even though the American public long ago stopped believing Republican claims of some kind of cover-up related to Benghazi, that there is no sign of the investigations to end. “It is important that the Committee see this oversight effort through to its conclusion,” McKeon spokesman Claude Chafin told the Hill. “Chairman McKeon appreciates Ranking Member Smith’s concerns as well as the support he has given to our oversight of this matter.”
That drive to press forward with the investigations only seems to rest in the Republican members of Congress — who continue to stress the issue despite issuing reports debunking many of the conspiracies they promote — and fringes of the conservative base whose support they seek. Even their aides seem to have grown weary of the pursuit of a non-existent cover-up. “There are some real issues there and then there is just some crazy stuff,” one senior House GOP aide was quoted as saying almost a year ago. (HT: The Hill)