Someone needs to take some part of the blame for the deaths of four Americans…
The House Select Committee on Benghazi is narrowing in on one high-ranking State Department official who has “magically” avoided punishment for failing to provide additional security in Benghazi before the Sept. 11, 2012 attack there, South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy
said in an interview.
Gowdy, who chairs the Benghazi committee, declined to name the official during an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren on Friday. But he provided enough clues that it is clear that the committee is focusing on the actions of Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy.
“There was an intermediary level of scrutiny or leadership that escaped consequence,” Gowdy said. “I’m not going to give you a name because it wouldn’t be fair to that person.”
But Gowdy did say that the official was mentioned by name during former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s marathon hearing on Thursday. Kennedy was brought up several times during the course of the 11-hour event. A spokesman for the Benghazi Committee did not directly confirm that Kennedy is the official Gowdy was referencing, but did state the career diplomat is a central figure in its investigation.
Gowdy also said that the committee has received only a small number of the official’s emails.
“In fact, we don’t have most of the emails,” he claimed, explaining that the official in question is of great interest to the committee because “he was actually part of the [Accountability Review Board] selection process.”
“So this person helped pick members of the ARB who magically did not include him in the list of people to be disciplined because of the security failure,” Gowdy added.
Kennedy did have input into the selection of the five-person ARB. Clinton herself set up the panel, which blamed four mid-level officials for some of the security failures in Benghazi.
One recurring theme in Thursday’s hearing was that if leadership failures contributed to the security failures, as Clinton and the State Department have acknowledged, why were mid-level officials the only ones to be disciplined? The four officials were merely repositioned within the State Department while keeping their same salaries and benefits.
Republicans have long maintained that the ARB was tainted because Clinton and Kennedy helped select the members. Clinton, though, regularly cites the ARB’s findings as evidence that she bears no direct responsibility for the failures that led to the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
“If her position is she didn’t do it then we need to find at what level that decision was made,” Gowdy said.