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Benghazi Select Committee Expects to Hear Testimony from Panetta

Benghazi Select Committee Expects to Hear Testimony from Panetta

A spokesperson for the House Select Committee on Benghazi told Breitbart News that it “expects to talk” with Leon Panetta, who served as President Obama’s CIA director and Pentagon chief.

Amanda Duvall, a spokesperson for the Benghazi Select Committee, made that revelation when asked to comment on a letter addressed to the House panel’s chairman from the Benghazi Accountability Coalition, which is made up of prominent conservative figures.

In the October 10 open letter addressed to Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the House select committee chairman, the coalition requests that Panetta testify before the panel this month.

The coalition wants Chairman Gowdy to “promptly secure the testimony under oath of Secretary Panetta and the other principals and key subordinates who have first-hand knowledge of the events that took place on the night of the 11th of September [when the Benghazi incident took place],” states the letter. “In light of the stakes, hearings for this purpose should be held this month, not weeks and weeks from now.”

When Breitbart News asked for comment on the letter, Duvall said the House panel will talk to Panetta, but did not specify when. The panel’s spokesperson told Breitbart News:

Chairman Gowdy has said the Benghazi Select Committee will talk to all material witnesses to discover all relevant facts and answer all relevant questions with regards to what happened in Benghazi before, during, and after the terrorist attack. The Committee expects to talk with former Secretary Leon Panetta and will do so at a time and in a forum that is the most conducive to getting answers to all relevant questions.

The coalition wants Panetta to testify in light of the revelations in his new book Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leaders in War and Peace.

“Indeed, former Secretary Panetta is providing an account of the Benghazi attacks that differs dramatically from what President Obama and his spokesmen presented in the hours, days and weeks after the attack,” wrote the coalition to Chairman Gowdy. 

Congress should return to Washington and hold hearings on Benghazi like it has done on the Secret Service scandal and the Ebola outbreak, according to the coalition. 

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy chairs the Benghazi Accountability Coalition. 

“In rolling out his new memoir in media appearances, former defense secretary Leon Panetta has explained that from the start of the Benghazi terrorist attack, he told President Obama it was, in fact, a terrorist attack,” wrote McCarthy in posting the letter on National Review Online.

“Mr. Panetta, moreover, has acknowledged the obvious: namely, that unanswered questions about the attack, including why no meaningful effort was made to rescue Americans under siege, demand additional congressional attention,” he added.

Frank Gaffney, Jr., founder and president of the Center for Security Policy, who also signed the letter, told Breitbart News, “We have been told endlessly that all the questions about Benghazi have been answered. Yet, Secretary Panetta and his new book have showed that’s not so.”  

“We have been told that Congress can’t possibly get around to examining these issues until it gets back in November or December,” he added.  “Yet, legislators — including Chairman Gowdy — have been willing to return to Washington to hold hearings on other matters. In short, we need the Select Committee to take up these issues, and we need them to do so now.” 

Allen Roth, the president of Secure America Now, who also signed the letter, added in a statement to Breitbart News:

Since the tragedy at Benghazi there has been a lack of urgency in Washington to find answers to questions about government failures that contributed to the deaths of patriotic Americans serving their country. I feel, we need to let friends like Congressman Gowdy know that Congress needs to accelerate its investigation for the good of the country. No more foot dragging on this important issue. 

The letter had 17 signatures from prominent conservatives, including former government officials, as of 11:30 a.m. today.

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