Graham & Gowdy seek deeper look into Benghazi consulate attack

Greenville NewsAugust 2, 2013 

FILE PHOTO: Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.

CLIFF OWEN — AP

— Two South Carolina Republicans are among a group of eight asking the incoming FBI director to more aggressively investigate last September’s attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

“We struggle to understand why we don’t know more about those who attacked two U.S. compounds and murdered four brave Americans,” the group wrote to incoming FBI Director James Comey, who was confirmed for the job by the Senate on Monday.

The members of Congress, including Sen. Lindsey Graham of Seneca and Rep. Trey Gowdy of Spartanburg, want Comey to deliver a status report one month after he is on the job. Comey is scheduled to be sworn into office Sept. 4, replacing Robert Mueller, who held the job for 12 years.

The U.S. ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, was one of those killed in the attacks on Sept. 11.

Graham and Gowdy are among lawmakers who have accused President Barack Obama’s administration of initially understating the seriousness of the attacks, but their letter to Comey focuses on the lack of arrests.

“We appear to be no closer to knowing who was responsible today than we were in the early weeks following the attack,” they wrote. “This is simply unacceptable.”

The FBI has circulated pictures of people who were on the grounds of the consulate during the attacks and has asked the people of Libya for information about them.

White House spokesman Jay Carney referred questions about the investigation to the FBI.

“The president has absolutely instructed his team to do everything they can to bring to justice those who are responsible for the deaths of four Americans,” Carney said Wednesday.

The July 31 letter was also signed by Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Rep. Darrell Issa of California, and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.

Also Thursday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, where Gowdy is a member, issued subpoenas for State Department documents related to its investigation of security lapses involved in the attacks.

The committee also is investigating the administration’s initial claim the attacks were part of a spontaneous reaction to a protest rather than a coordinated act of terrorism.

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