News & Politics

Gowdy: Petraeus Testimony Before Benghazi Committee Was 'Productive'

Contradicting a key Democrat on the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said Thursday that the appearance of former CIA director David Petraeus before the panel yesterday was “productive.” As he emerged from the closed door session,  however, Adam Schiff (D-CA) told reporters that Petraeus had nothing new to tell the committee about the deadly attacks.

“I think what we heard today — not surprisingly — is completely consistent with what we have concluded in now eight separate investigations,” Schiff said. “I’m not sure why in fact it was necessary to bring the general back again — but perhaps it was to give the appearance that this select committee is about something apart from Secretary Clinton.”

“Adam has to say that,” committee chairman Gowdy told Bill Hemmer on Fox News this morning. “Remember Adam voted against forming this committee in the first place, and he threatened not to participate and he threatened to walk away, and he called for it to be disbanded months ago… they also put up an ‘Ask and Answer’ website before we interviewed the very first witness a year and a half ago. So of course he can’t say, ‘hey this committee is doing great work.'”

Gowdy suggested that because Adam Schiff is the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, it is perhaps in his best interest to shoot down the Benghazi committee’s findings. “They issued a report — so anything new that we find, necessarily impeaches and undercuts his own work from two years ago.”

Gowdy told Hemmer that Petraeus’ testimony was so constructive, “we’re going to talk to him again.” He called Petraeus a “unique witness” because “he can speak to all three areas of Benghazi,” referring to the periods of time before, during and after the attacks.

Gowdy said that the area in which the general helped him the most was the question of “whether or not we had assets that could have impacted what happened in Benghazi, and if we did not have assets in the region — and this is a really important question — why didn’t we have assets on the anniversary of 9/11?”

Gowdy noted that the committee would be interviewing Charlene Lamb, the former deputy assistant secretary of state for International Programs For Diplomatic Security, to help get to the bottom of that particular issue. Asked by Hemmer when he will bring the long-running investigation to a close, Gowdy answered, “Trust me, Bill, when I tell you — I am just as anxious to wrap this up as you are — I’m less anxious than the Democrats because they didn’t want to start it in the first place.”

He added, “I am waiting on documents from the White House, the CIA and the State Department,”  noting that his panel has managed to get some documents that no one else has gotten.

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Rep. Schiff continues to insist that “there was no stand-down order or gun-running,” according to the AP. But Mark “Oz” Geist, Kris “Tanto” Paronto and John “Tig” Tiegen — who were there —  beg to differ. In September of 2014 Kris Paronto and Mark Geist challenged Schiff to come on Fox News and “say that to our face.”  Schiff declined the invitation.

The movie based on their story, “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,“directed by Michael Bay (Transformers), premieres Jan. 15.

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will appear before the committee tomorrow, and Jeremy Bash, former Defense Department chief of staff, on Jan. 13.