The chairman of the special House committee investigating the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on Benghazi says he’s seen nothing suspicious so far about Ambassador Chris Stevens’ meeting with a Turkish diplomat soon before the attack on the U.S. facility.
Theories have linked Stevens’ meeting with Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin to a potential weapons shipment to Syrian rebels.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) told Fox that why Stevens was in Benghazi would be the focus of a January hearing. “I think folks would tell you that we have to be in dangerous places because you have to balance the policy with the risk and then determine the presence. But you can’t debate risk versus policy if you don’t know what the policy was,” he said.
But, Gowdy added, he’s “seen no evidence that the meeting with the Turkish diplomat was in any way related to, well, what ultimately happened to the ambassador.”
And if there’s any evidence to link the meeting with the Turk to the size of the State Department and CIA’s presence in Benghazi, Gowdy has “not seen it.”
“I’m curious why he was there. But I’m curious why we, as a country, were in Benghazi. The ambassador loved Libya. And he particularly loved the people of Benghazi. We may ultimately find out there is no more nefarious explanation other than the fact that our ambassador loved the people of Benghazi,” Gowdy said. “So we’re going to find out. But I’ve seen no evidence to suggest there was any nefarious reason for him to be in Benghazi other than the fact he loved the country and the people and he hadn’t been there in a while.”
“I honestly think at the end of that analysis we’re going to find that he and the Turkish diplomat were friends.”
When pressed on the issue by host Greta van Susteren, Gowdy replied, “I know you and I live in a world where people want to find something that is harder to understand than just a simple fact that he loved the people there, he was friends with the Turkish diplomat. Keep in mind, the night that they met, nothing was going on when they parted ways.”
The chairman said National Security Advisor Susan Rice will be called before the committee.
“She’s never been called before a committee of Congress to explain what role she played in the drafting or the giving of the White House talking points. Ben Rhodes, as I read that memo again today — and I have not discussed it with Mr. Cummings and he and I have to consult with each other before any decisions are made. But that memo was pretty important to our understanding of how a false narrative was perpetrated to our fellow citizens,” Gowdy said.
He also wants to hear from Hillary Clinton, but needs more documents from the State Department first. “I don’t see how you can have any definitive accounting of Benghazi without talking to the secretary of state at the time,” he said.
“The State Department has not been difficult for us to work with,” Gowdy added. “And I don’t expect that that will change.”