These Charts Show Why You’re Still Hearing About Benghazi

October 23rd 2015

Diana Crandall

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton testified Thursday in front of the House Select Committee investigating the attack on an American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. The attack left several people dead, with many questions unanswered about why it happened in the first place.

But investigations into Clinton's actions and emails have happened so many times that some have questioned the motivation behind them. ThinkProgress reports that eight separate committees and one non-partisan agency investigation have looked into the attacks. Because there have been so many investigations, some argue that the latest inquiry is politically motivated by Republicans looking to undermine Clinton. To illustrate this point, ThinkProgress created these two charts that compare the Benghazi investigation to other investigations of terrorist attacks:

Congressional Committee Past Investigations

Congressional Hearing Past Investigations

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Visually, it is clear that the number of congressional committee investigations into previous terrorist attacks are significantly fewer than the Benghazi investigation, but why? ThinkProgress points that some ranking Republicans have made statements that suggest the House Select Committee was created to "go after" Clinton.

For instance, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was under fire after he made the following comment regarding the committee's success in damaging Clinton's political standing.

"Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?" McCarthy told Fox News. "But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee, what are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping, why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened."

You can see the video of his remarks below. Many have said that this quote backfired on McCarthy and justified the argument of Clinton supporters that the committee is just about politics and not about getting to the bottom of the attacks. Shortly after he made this statement, McCarthy, who was the odds on favorite to be the next Speaker of the House, dropped out of the race.

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Another example is Rep. Richard Hanna, a Republican from New York. Hanna went on the record this week in an interview with a radio show called "Keeler in the Morning" in upstate New York.

“This may not be politically correct, but I think that there was a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after people and an individual, Hillary Clinton,” Hanna said. (Listen starting at 9:45).

Others argue that questioning Clinton is part of normal investigation procedure, and they would treat any other terrorist investigation the same way.

But it can't be ignored that in addition to a large number of committees created, there is once again a huge disparity between Congress’ attention to Benghazi.

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