House Republicans move forward on Benghazi, analyzing testimony for contradictions

A group of House Republicans are reviewing testimony provided by witnesses who have testified in front of congressional committees looking into the 2012 attack on the American compound in Benghazi which claimed the lives of four Americans.

In an interview with United Liberty on Thursday afternoon, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, explained that he and several other House Republicans have been reviewing testimony from congressional witnesses to look for contradictory statements.

Westmoreland said that he went to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) approximately six weeks ago to get his blessing to form a group consisting of members of three key House committees — Oversight and Government Reform, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs. He wanted members with prosecutorial experience to build a potential case.

“We would look at the testimony, we would look at a list of witnesses that have testified in front of Government Oversight and Foreign Affairs,” Westmoreland told United Liberty. “And we would look at them, and we would look at their testimony and see if there [were] any contradictions in testimonies that may have been presented by somebody else at another committee.”

Boehner’s staff contacted Westmoreland two weeks later, offering staff support to assist the group as it reviews some 50,000 pages of testimony and interviews.

“[I]t’s a small group,” said Westmoreland. “We don’t want any big committee chairs, we wanted the average run-of-the-mill kind of guy that could look at this and not be on TV every night, or be doing interviews and trying to make a lot of gain out of it, because the American people, they want to know the truth, and that’s what we’re doing our best.”

In addition to Westmoreland, the group consists of Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Mike Conaway (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Joe Heck (R-NV), Adam Kinsinger (R-IL), and Devin Nunes (R-CA).

The discussion came the same day a Fox News poll revealed that 65 percent of registered voters want Congress to continue to investigate the Benghazi terrorist attack.

“[W]e have got staff right now, we’re breaking it down into three parts,” said Westmoreland. “We’re breaking it down into the pre-attack, in other words, what did the State Department know and who made the orders for those [Site Security] Teams to leave? We’re trying to find out everything that led up, what was the communications between Tripoli and Benghazi, was there any question about security? Then we’re going to the attack.”

Westmoreland explained that the group has the events and details of the attack nailed down, but they’re looking at what happened in subsequent days. This includes the controversial talking points and the narrative that the attack was a protest gone awry.

The Georgia Republican was one of several House Intelligence Committee members who grilled former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell at a hearing earlier this month. The hearing revolved around the talking points and changes that were made by national security officials, including Morell.

There are potential roadblocks to the group’s work. Westmoreland noted that they will likely have to issue subpoenas to dig deeper into the White House’s response to the Benghazi attack. If that happens, President Barack Obama could claim executive privilege to prevent them from accessing documents.

“Where the White House, or where this administration is going to be in trouble, I think, is where was the President, and what steps did he take to get some military assistance in there?” said Westmoreland. “And so, we will probably have to issue some subpoenas. Because I’m sure he’s going to claim executive privilege, because of his security advisors.”

Westmoreland noted that White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough served as President Obama’s deputy national security advisor at the time of the Benghazi attack. CIA Director John Brennan served as homeland security advisor.

“So he cut us off at the pass when he made those two appointments,” Westmoreland admitted. “Pretty smart.”

This is part of a broader interview with Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA). The rest of the discussion will be posted later today.

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