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Benghazi Committee Nears 80th Witness

House Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), followed by committee member Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), leaves a closed hearing on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The House select committee investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi will be hearing from an unnamed witness who saw the assault unfold.

The “eyewitness to the attacks from the national security community” is scheduled to appear before the committee on Super Tuesday, in the midst of a field of new witnesses who have not yet appeared before Congress.

On Thursday, the panel heard from Gentry Smith, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Countermeasures within the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. On March 3, James “Sandy” Winnefeld, Jr., former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is scheduled to testify, followed by Susan Curley, managing director of the State Department’s Office of Management Policy, Rightsizing and Innovation, on March 4.

“Our committee continues to break an immense amount of new ground as we compile the most comprehensive accounting of what happened before, during and after the terrorist attacks in Benghazi,” chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said in a statement Thursday. “As we approach our 80th witness interview and work to release our report and recommendations before summer, it’s time for the administration to turn over the records this committee requested nearly a year ago.”

“The American people and the families of the victims deserve the truth, and I’m confident that the value and fairness of our investigation will be abundantly clear to everyone when they see the report for themselves.”

After these interviews have been completed, the tally of Benghazi committee witnesses will stand at 79. Sixty-two of those had never before spoken to a congressional committee.

Democrats on the committee complained in January that the process is taking too long.

“The Select Committee’s investigation of the Benghazi attacks has been widely condemned as hyper-partisan and ineffective, and it stands in stark contrast to the bipartisan investigation and report issued by the 9/11 Commission,” said Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). “Instead of following the bipartisan model set by the 9/11 Commission, which brought our entire nation together after we were attacked by terrorists, Republicans created a highly partisan Select Committee with an unlimited budget to attack their political opponents.”

“Republicans continue to drag out this political charade closer to the 2016 presidential election, and the American taxpayers continue to pay the price.”