The chairman of the Benghazi Select Committee said the panel will not give a pass to anyone in its fact-finding mission to determine what happened on Sept. 11, 2012, when four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, were killed during a terrorist attack, Fox News reported
Rep. Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican who heads the committee with Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, told Fox News reporter Catherine Herridge that he "can't skip over a witness that I think we ought to talk to simply because there is an assertion of either privilege or immunity."
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That includes former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell, and former CIA Director David Petraeus, a four-star general. Petraeus is still under FBI investigation after resigning
less than two months after the attack following revelations that he had been having an extramarital affair with his personal biographer.
Gowdy told Herridge that the investigation is not political gamesmanship but a bipartisan effort to find the truth. The committee is made up of seven Republicans and four Democrats and is expected to reach its target of 20 by the time the hearings start, according to Fox News.
"The initial efforts to marginalize us as just a political exercise dedicated to drumming up the base, those efforts were not successful," he said. "Democrats are not only cooperating. They are suggesting, in some instances, other ideas for hearings."
The first hearing has been scheduled for early September and Gowdy has recommended closed hearings or private depositions because he thinks that would glean the most information.
"Five minutes has proven time and time again to be an inadequate amount of time to get to the truth," he told Herridge. "I'm certainly not good enough in five minutes to unlock all the mysteries in the world. I might not be doing five hours, but I would rather use whatever investigatory tool allows me the most amount of time with a witness or potential witness and I think that will be depositions as opposed to public hearings."
He plans to stay on schedule and keep the committee's findings secret until it has all the necessary information to build a "detailed timeline to identify gaps in the facts."
"This is going to be serious, fact-centric. There are not going to be leaks. There are not going to be selective releases," he said. "Hopefully, if the investigation is still ongoing, [Petraeus] may conclude, he has an absolute right to conclude, that he is still going to participate."
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