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When in doubt, there's always Benghazi

If you've been waiting for yet another congressional hearing into the 17-month review of the 2012 attack, today offered good news.
The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames in this file photo taken September 11, 2012.
The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames in this file photo taken September 11, 2012.
As the Affordable Care Act's successes grow more apparent, complaints from congressional Republicans lose their political punch. GOP officials could switch gears to the year-old IRS "controversy," but it's clearly been discredited and even Republican insiders realize the inquiry hasn't produced anything.
But as we were reminded on Capitol Hill this morning, when in doubt, there's always Benghazi.

In a rare open hearing, Michael Morell, the deputy CIA director during the 9-11 anniversary assault in Benghazi on Wednesday, fired back at Republicans who have alleged that he cherry picked intelligence for government-wide talking points in the aftermath of the attacks. [...] In his written testimony, Morell said, "there is no truth to the allegations that the CIA or I 'cooked the books' with regard to what happened in Benghazi and then tried to cover this up after the fact." While Morell acknowledged the CIA could have done a "better job" on some aspects of its analysis of Benghazi. The former top intelligence official also said that none of the agency's flaws "reflect any intention to mislead Congress or the American people or any intention to provide political benefit to anyone."

In other words, the latest witness is telling lawmakers what all the other witnesses have already told lawmakers.
Which naturally raises questions anew as to why the hearing, held by the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee, was deemed necessary in the first place.
One can only speculate, of course, but it hardly seems like a stretch to think election-year politics maybe, just maybe, had something to do with it.

A trio of Republican senators is pushing for a special committee to investigate the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans dead. "We are once again calling for the appointment of a Joint Select Committee to investigate the terrorist attacks on our compounds in Benghazi," said Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John McCain (R-AZ) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) in a statement Monday. "It is imperative that we learn everything that happened before, during and after the attacks. A Joint Select Committee should be established."

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), meanwhile, is now leading a "working group" of like-minded House Republicans to "further review the 2012 Benghazi terror attack."
In case anyone's forgotten, over the last 17 months, the deadly attack in Benghazi has been investigated by the independent State Department Accountability Review Board, led by former Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and career diplomat Thomas Pickering, the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Senate Armed Services Committee, the House Intelligence Committee, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
And yet, at this point, more than a few GOP lawmakers have determined that a new committee, made up of members from other committees, should get together to ask questions. Which questions? The ones that have already been answered.