The House Select Committee on Benghazi might not release its findings about the 2012 attacks until 2016 – in the midst of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
“Factors beyond the committee’s control, including witness availability, compliance with documents requests, the granting of security clearances and accreditations—all of which are controlled by the Executive branch—could continue to impact the timing of the inquiry’s conclusion,” committee spokesman Jamal Ware said in an email.
Republicans place blame for the delay squarely on Clinton and Democrats on the committee, noting that panel Chairman Trey Gowdy originally said he pledged to wrap up the investigation by the end of this year.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the committee, called the move "a political charade."
"Does anybody even remember anymore that we were supposed to be investigating the attacks in Benghazi? With the Republicans’ obsessive focus on Hillary Clinton, and their now stated intention to drag out this political charade until just months before the 2016 election, the Select Committee no longer bears any resemblance to its original purpose," he said in a statement.
House Speaker John Boehner dismissed accusations that the report's timing is politically motivated, telling NBC News that it has been pushed back due to stonewalling by the Obama administration.
“[The Committee] could clean this up a whole lot quicker if the administration and former Secretary Clinton were in a position to actually cooperate with the committee and turn over the kind of information that we have been seeking for some time,” Boehner said Wednesday morning.
The Speaker added: “when we have the facts, we will have a report.”
Clinton – the 2016 Democratic frontrunner – has come under fire for using a private email server to send official correspondence while serving as Secretary of State. She has refused to turn over the server to the committee and has yet to respond to the panel’s request for a private transcribed interview about the attacks. The deadline for response is May 1st.
The Sept. 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. compound in Libya killed Ambassador Chis Stevens and three other Americans.