Did President Barack Obama’s administration do everything it could to save Americans from a deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya? Did senior aides try to cover up findings that the Sept. 11, 2012, strike was the work of terrorists? Should former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, widely expected to be a presidential contender in 2016, pay a price? Or is this a Republican fishing expedition unfairly using the tragic death of four Americans for political gain?
These are some of the questions expected to be at the heart of a hotly anticipated congressional hearing on Wednesday that seems unlikely to shift the partisan battle lines on Benghazi.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hear from three State Department witnesses Republicans have described as “whistle-blowers” eager to shed light on what really happened in the eastern Libyan city eight months ago.
That’s when heavily armed assailants stormed the U.S. facility and, in two separate attacks hours apart, killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
The committee’s scheduled witnesses are Mark Thompson, the State Department’s acting deputy assistant secretary for counterterrorism; Gregory Hicks, the former deputy chief of mission in Libya; and Eric Nordstrom, a former regional security officer in Libya.
Republicans have waged an aggressive media campaign over the past week—releasing snippets of testimony and interview transcripts coupled with predictions that the hearing will offer blockbuster revelations.