Allegations of crimes, the complete implosion of his precious Benghazi Select Committee, multiple lawsuits for defamation… The time has come to hold Trey Gowdy accountable.
The House Select Committee on Benghazi, led by Republican Trey Gowdy, all but exploded in the wake of several stunning revelations in late 2015. The CIA revealed in October 2015 that Trey Gowdy altered documents in an attempt to frame Hillary; and in November 2015, Maj. Bradley Podliska, a former investigator on the Benghazi committee staff, filed a lawsuit against Gowdy seeking damages for defamation.
Salon elaborated on the lawsuit, reporting that, “Maj. Bradley Podliska, a former investigator on the Benghazi committee staff, claimed that he’d been improperly and illegally fired from the committee. He also revealed some damning details about the committee’s work, claiming that it had become singularly focused on Hillary Clinton and the State Department, to the exclusion of other agencies involved in the Benghazi response. According to Podliska, he’d been discriminated against for taking leave to fulfill his duties as an Air Force reservist and for resisting the committee’s intense focus on the State Department.”
In June 2016, Democrats serving on the House Benghazi Select Committee issued a 339 page report clearing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of any responsibility for security lapses during the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
The Democratic report also documented the grave abuses Republicans engaged in during this investigation—from A to Z. Republicans excluded Democrats from interviews, concealed exculpatory evidence, withheld interview transcripts, leaked inaccurate information, issued unilateral subpoenas, sent armed Marshals to the home of a cooperative witness, and even conducted political fundraising by exploiting the deaths of four Americans.
“In our opinion,” the Members wrote, “Chairman Gowdy has been conducting this investigation like an overzealous prosecutor desperately trying to land a front-page conviction rather than a neutral judge of facts seeking to improve the security of our diplomatic corps.”
It is also noteworthy that in August 2016, Fox News took the unexpected position of defending Hillary Clinton regarding a wrongful death and defamation lawsuit filed by the parents of two Americans who were killed in the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi. Fox News correspondent and law school graduate Gregg Jarrett defended Clinton in an article published by Fox News that stated that “the wrongful death cause of action is legally fallacious. Pure fiction.” He went on to write that the “defamation cause of action is really quite delusional” and warned that the parents could “get hit with sanctions for bringing a frivolous lawsuit.”
Gowdy’s uncompromising Benghazi
investigation witch hunt is illegal, unlawful, and demands accountability – hopefully in the form of a lengthy prison term.
Below is but a sampling of his misdeeds.
Trey Gowdy The Criminal
As Liberals Unite reported in Octobe2 2015: in a bombshell revelation, the Central Intelligence Agency reached out to Democrats serving on the Select Committee on Benghazi on Saturday to confirm that Chairman Trey Gowdy had altered documents provided to the committee by Hillary Clinton.
On October 7, 2015, Gowdy sent a response to ranking Benghazi committee member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), referring extensively to Sidney Blumenthal, a long-time confidante and adviser to the Clintons, who served as assistant and senior adviser to Bill Clinton from August 1997 until January 2001.
In addition to Sidney Blumenthal’s business interests, Secretary Clinton also apparently received classified information from Blumenthal – information she should have known was classified at the time she received it. In one email, Blumenthal writes “Tyler spoke to a colleague currently at CIA, who told him the agency had been dependent for intelligence from [redacted due to sources and methods].”1 This information, the name of a human source, is some of the most protected information in our intelligence community, the release of which could jeopardize not only national security but also human lives. Armed with that information, Secretary Clinton forwarded the email to a colleague–debunking her claim that she never sent any classified information from her private email address. There may be other instances as well where Secretary Clinton passed on classified information she received from Sidney Blumenthal. [emphasis added]
- However, as Newsweek reported, the CIA informed the House Select Committee on Benghazi that Gowdy’s claims were false: “Indeed, according to committee correspondence reviewed by Newsweek, the CIA did tell the panel on Saturday that it had reviewed 127 emails between Clinton and her close friend and outside adviser, Sidney Blumenthal, and none of it was deemed classified. Additionally, according to Newsweek: “’The CIA reviewed the material in question and informed State that it required no redactions,’ the agency informed Susan Sachsman Grooms, staff director and general counsel for the panel’s Democrats, on October 17.” [emphasis added]
- Cummings sent a letter to Gowdy in October in which he dropped the bomb – accusing Gowdy of altering documents in an effort to frame Clinton: “To further inflate your claim, you placed your own redactions over the name of the individual with the words, ‘redacted due to sources and methods.’ To be clear, these redactions were not made, and these words were not added, by any agency of the federal government responsible for enforcing classification guidelines.” [emphasis added]
- Cummings continued, emphasizing the fact that the CIA had thoroughly debunked Gowdy’s false claims against Clinton: “Contrary to your claims, the CIA yesterday informed both the Republican and Democratic staffs of the Select Committee that they do not consider the information you highlighted in your letter to be classified. Specifically, the CIA confirmed that ‘the State Department consulted with the CIA on this production, the CIA reviewed these documents, and the CIA made no redactions to protect classified information.’” [emphasis added]
Trey Gowdy’s Taxpayer-Funded Political Campaign Against Clinton
- The Committee was given an unlimited, taxpayer-funded budget, and it has now spent more than $4.6 million in one of the longest and least productive investigations in congressional history—focused on Clinton.
- The Committee is being used by Republican fundraisers to attack Clinton.
- The Committee’s attacks were described by the conservative PAC America Rising as a taxpayer-funded political activity: “This has all occurred without a single cent of paid advertising taking place.”
- Gowdy’s name, image, and position have been used to solicit political donations by Stop Hillary PAC, which describes itself as “created for one reason only—to ensure Hillary Clinton never becomes President of the United States.
- Gowdy appeared at a GOP political event in June where local Rep. Chuck Fleischmann explained: “Whether you are Hillary Clinton or any other lefty out there, you better beware because Trey Gowdy is out there and he is going to get you.”
- Gowdy reportedly does not plan to release his findings until “just months before the 2016 presidential election.”
- Gowdy’s approach has been criticized even by conservative commentators: “Whatever the findings are in this investigation—it will forever be plagued by allegations of unfairness, and politics if this investigation is dragged into 2016. That would not be fair to the American people.”
The historical significance of this moment can hardly be overstated, and it seems many Republicans, Democrats and members of the media don’t fully understand the magnitude of what is taking place. The awesome power of government—one that allows officials to pore through almost anything they demand and compel anyone to talk or suffer the shame of taking the Fifth Amendment — has been unleashed for purely political purposes. It is impossible to review what the Benghazi committee has done as anything other than taxpayer-funded political research of the opposing party’s leading candidate for president. Comparisons from America’s past are rare. Richard Nixon’s attempts to use the IRS to investigate his perceived enemies come to mind. So does Senator Joseph McCarthy’s red-baiting during the 1950s, with reckless accusations of treason leveled at members of the State Department, military generals and even the secretary of the Army. [emphasis added]