Fox: State Department Missed Deadline for Benghazi Document Review Panel

State Department / AP
May 6, 2016

Documents show the State Department missed a deadline set by itself for establishing a special document review unit last year for the investigation into the Benghazi terrorist attack, Fox News reports.

Fox News obtained the documents showing Congress set aside more than $4 million to establish the special unit with it to be running by June 2015. However, it did not begin hiring personnel until around that period.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.), the Chairman of the House Benghazi Select Committee, led the effort to secure the $4 million for the Department of State in an effort to expedite the review of the documents.

Gowdy is now trying to figure out from the Department of State and from Secretary of State John Kerry's chief of staff, Jonathan Finer, where those funds went. However, the Department of State is refusing to say what happened.

As Fox News reports, the committee was supposed to be staffed by a variety of personnel, including with some personnel who were evacuated from American facilities in Yemen in 2015:

According to the internal committee files, the State Department’s document review unit was supposed to encompass twelve full-time employees, including at least three lawyers, "case managers" to oversee responses to specific document requests, and an IT professional.

The State Department conveyed to the committee last year that it intended to use some of the U.S. personnel evacuated from Yemen last year to staff the unit, according to the documents.

On Thursday, Toner said the use of the personnel from Yemen was "never necessary" – but did not spell out why the evacuated personnel were considered superfluous when the department was having trouble meeting its own target date of mid-June for the unit to become operational.

Gowdy's attempts to speedily review the documents seems to go against claims by the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign that the entire nature of the committee is to damage Clinton, and not attempt to find out what happened during the attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.