Today, the House Benghazi Committee announced that it has received over 4,000 pages of material from the State Department Accountability Review Board (ARB) that analyzed State Department actions and policy regarding the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Questions about the ARB’s review and independence have been raised since it was revealed that it chose not to record or transcribe interviews, and that it decided not to interview key figures, including then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Conflict of interest concerns were raised when ARB co-chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, who was placed by Clinton, admitted that he tipped off Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills about someone he viewed as “a weak witness” for the State Department who had been called to testify before Congress.
The document hand over to the committee marks the first time that such material from a State Department ARB investigation have been turned over to Congress. ARB’s convene periodically after State Department-related events that are deemed to merit critical review. On December 19, 2012, the ARB issued 24 unclassified recommendations and 5 classified recommendations. The State Department accepted all of them.
“Contrary to those who said all had been asked and answered, the Benghazi Committee has shown there is more still for Congress to consider,” said Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) in a statement. “Getting this production from State’s Benghazi ARB is an important part of ensuring the committee has access to all the facts.”
Gowdy notes that it took two years from the time that the information was first subpoenaed before records were produced to Congress. The committee is still awaiting additional subpoenaed documents and records. Gowdy has repeatedly stated that all records must be available for committee members to review prior to conducting at least two interviews with Clinton.