Republicans on Capitol Hill will get the chance Wednesday to publicly grill a top CIA official involved in drafting the Obama administration’s inaccurate talking points immediately after the Benghazi terrorist attacks of 2012.
Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell is set to testify before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Wednesday morning, according to a release from Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers, the committee’s chairman.
“Morell has twice testified before the Committee on this topic in closed sessions,” the release stated. “The Committee seeks to gain additional information from Mr. Morell about his role in the development of the Benghazi talking points and in shaping the Administration’s public narrative of the terrorist attack.”
Four Americans died in the Benghazi attacks of 2012, including Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya. Since then, Republicans from a variety of committees have been holding hearings to investigate whether the Obama administration could have done more to prevent the attacks, and whether officials attempted to cover up their failures.
Susan Rice, who was U.N. Ambassador at the time, went on the Sunday news shows after the attacks and used the Obama administration talking points to claim the attacks were the result of an anti-American demonstration, and not a pre-planned terrorist attack. That has since been debunked.
The Washington Times reported Tuesday that the CIA’s station chief in Libya told Morrell in an email just days after the attack that it was “not an escalation of protests” that caused the attacks. Lawmakers are expected to ask Morrell about why the talking points claimed otherwise.
In February, a report released by the House Armed Services Committee blamed the Obama administration for not doing enough to stop the attacks.
“In assessing military posture in anticipation of the September 11 anniversary, White House officials failed to comprehend or ignored the dramatically deteriorating security situation in Libya and the growing threat to U.S. interests in the region,” the report said.
The Senate Intelligence Committee said in a report earlier this year that the attacks could have been stopped.
“The committee found the attacks were preventable, based on extensive intelligence reporting on the terrorist activity in Libya—to include prior threats and attacks against Western targets—and given the known security shortfalls at the U.S. Mission,” the committee, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, and Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a Republican from Georgia, said in a statement.