There are several minor issues are coming up that are not important as the committee grinds on but there are several major lines of questioning that are probably going to be focused upon by House Republicans in further testimony. Today’s testimony did not provide any smoking gun that many Republicans were hoping for that would link what happened in the Benghazi to an Obama administration cover-up. But expect them to keep asking question about:
1. The Security Team Lead by Colonel Gibson
Gregory Hicks claims that the 4 person team in Tripoli was given a “stand down” order when they were ready to go. He was asked if he knew who gave this order to stand down and he responded that it did not know. The Pentagon issued a statement that the team was not ready for battle and that their transit to Benghazi would have taken them there when the fighting had been over. Do not expect Congressional Republicans to be satisfied it.
2. The Initial Administration Response
Several member of the committee asked about the administration’s initial response. They focused on remarks made by Susan Rice on news talk shows that the attack was a result of a protest that turned violent. Later the administration would state that is was an terrorist attack. There were several times when the witnesses were asked about their reaction to the confusion. Several Republicans on the committee maintain that this confusion is actually a political cover-up. Intelligence officials claim that it was merely faulty intelligence and confusion from the initial attack.
3. The nature of the security in the Benghazi compound
There were several questions about the status of the Benghazi compound and how it was inadequately defended due to its status as a temporary encampment despite being in high threat zone. Although it’s less attractive as a talking point, it may prove a way to link Clinton directly to the whole affair. Or it could just be a genuine organization failure.
4. The Non-deployment of the Foreign Emergency Support Team
Mark Thompson repeated brought up that that a State Department team known as the Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST) was not deployed and repeated wanted to know why. Several Republicans wanted to know why it was not as well. FEST is not a military unit, it mostly acts as a support team that acts as advisers. Expect questioning to come about the lack of its deployment.
Don’t worry there is more testimony to come!