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Benghazi Committee to Hear from Petraeus, Panetta This Week

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Pentagon on Feb. 14, 2013. (Defense Department photo)

A string of high-profile witnesses is coming before the House Select Committee on Benghazi this week — but behind closed doors.

Former CIA Director David Petraeus comes before Rep. Trey Gowdy’s (R-S.C.) committee on Wednesday, followed by former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Programs for Diplomatic Security Charlene Lamb on Thursday.

Lamb has been grilled in other congressional hearings about her reticence to support additional security in Benghazi and her admission to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in October 2012 that budget cuts had nothing to do with the lack of security in Benghazi.

She was initially placed on administrative leave following the terrorist attack but reinstated by Secretary of State John Kerry.

On Friday, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will speak with the Benghazi panel.

Panetta countered President Obama’s version of events in an interview last year, stressing that on the night of the attack he told Obama “there was an attack by terrorists.”

“In 2015, the Select Committee conducted interviews with 64 witnesses, including 53 who had never been interviewed by a congressional committee,” Select Committee on Benghazi press secretary Matt Wolking said in a statement Monday. “It also obtained and reviewed roughly 100,000 pages of documents from various departments and agencies, most of them never before seen by a congressional committee.”

“While we are still waiting to receive crucial documents from the State Department and the CIA, and still waiting for important witnesses to be made available, the committee is diligently working to complete its thorough, fact-centered investigation and release a report with recommendations within the next few months,” Wolking said. “The American people and the families of the victims deserve to know the truth about what happened before, during and after the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attacks, and we must do everything we can to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future.”

Some conservatives were calling on Gowdy to challenge Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in the race to replace retired Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), but Gowdy quickly refused to jump into the contest, citing his need to see the Benghazi committee investigation through.