A few days ago, GOP majority leader and might-have-been-Speaker Kevin McCarthy accidentally told the truth about the $4.5 million Select Committee on Benghazi:
“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought.”
Immediately after this gaffe, some Democrats began calling for the committee to be disbanded.
Today — not missing the opportunity to kick the GOP while they’re down — the five Democrats on the committee have come forward with a public letter threatening to begin releasing unclassified-but-unreleased committee records they say proves the Committee has been running a partisan witch hunt:
In the letter, Reps. Elijah Cumming (D-SC), Adam Smith (D-WA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), said that the way Republicans on the committee went about their work shows how political their investigation has been.
“Although some Republicans attempted to explain away Rep. McCarthy’s admission, it reflected exactly what has been going on within the Select Committee for the past year-and-a-half,” the letter continues. “It has held no hearings of any kind since January, and it has completely abandoned its plans to hear public testimony from top defense and intelligence officials so Republicans can focus almost exclusively on Hillary Clinton.”
The Democratic members of the panel then accused the Republican members of using “a series of selective leaks of inaccurate and incomplete information in an effort to attack Secretary Clinton with unsubstantiated or previously debunked allegations.”
In particular, the letter claims that the committee unfairly portrayed its private interview with former Clinton staffer Cheryl Mills by demanding that the interview be treated as classified information and then leaking parts of the interview to the press. The Democratic members included previously unreported excerpts of the interview with Mills in the letter, and they told Gowdy that the State Department and Mills’ lawyers have five days to identify parts of the interview that should remain private before making the entire transcript public.
One of the key points that the Democrats’ letter makes is that the Gowdy Committee has been playing Calvinball with secrecy rules. Of course, inconsistent classification of government secrets has been a serious problem in all branches of government, including the State Department under Hillary Clinton. This is a serious, non-partisan problem which, unfortunately, will probably not be addressed any time soon.
Nevertheless, given that the Benghazi truthers have been alleging cover-ups and conspiracies based on smoke-and-mirrors, I really won’t fret if the Gowdy Commission gets hoisted by its own petard.