The following is an excerpt from Steve Benen | October 19, 2015 | msnbc.com |
At last count, two congressional Republicans and a notable GOP staffer have admitted that their party’s Benghazi Committee is a partisan political exercise intended to undermine Hillary Clinton. The pressure’s starting to get to the panel’s chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who said yesterday that Republicans not on the committee need to “shut up.”
But as Clinton herself prepares to testify this week, the political conditions surrounding the controversial panel appear to be going from bad to worse. The Huffington Post reported yesterday:
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, alleged in an Oct. 7 letter that Clinton used her private email account to release the name of a CIA source on Libya. An email sent by adviser Sidney Blumenthal that she then forwarded to a member of her staff reportedly contained the name of that source, which would have suggested that Clinton used her private email server to disseminate classified information.
But on Sunday, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the committee’s ranking member, revealed that the CIA investigated the email and found that the information was not classified.
Cummings’ letter explained, “The CIA [on Saturday] informed both the Republican and Democratic staffs of the Select Committee that they do not consider the information you highlighted in your letter to be classified. Specifically, the CIA confirmed that the State Department consulted with the CIA on this production, the CIA reviewed these documents, and the CIA made no redactions to protect classified information.”
Cummings asked that Gowdy apologize for making a bogus anti-Clinton claim, though the former Secretary of State probably shouldn’t hold her breath.
This flap came on the heels of another partisan political dispute on Friday, when the Benghazi Committee brought in Huma Abedin, Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff, to testify for no apparent reason. Gowdy didn’t even show up for the hearing, preferring instead to go to Utah for a fundraiser.
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