As Hillary Clinton testified before the House Select Committee on Benghazi last Thursday, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) claimed that Congress has spent more time and effort investigating the security failures that led to the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya than it did investigating the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.
Referring to the questioning of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) as “prosecution” and a “partisan exercise,” Rep. Smith said:
[pull_quote_center]”We didn’t investigate 9/11—you know, 9/11/2001, just to specify—with the length and depth that we have chose to investigate this.“[/pull_quote_center]
Smith’s statement can be seen in context in the above-embedded CNN video.
Rep. Smith added, “And, again, we are now the math here, five hours into [another hearing], count the break, maybe four hours into it. We have learned nothing substantively new about what happened in Benghazi. Very serious things happened. They were investigated. They were reported. Mistakes were made. They were reported. But this committee and all that time and effort has unearthed nothing.”
Truth in Media spoke with Rep. Smith’s office and asked for a citation to his claim. Smith’s press secretary Rebecca Bryant referred the question to the organization of the Democratic members of the Select Committee on Benghazi, who provided this fact sheet comparing the time and money spent on Benghazi versus various congressional investigations. The fact sheet fell short of proving his claim and only includes the time and money specifically spent on the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi, Libya, citing the length of time at “1 year, 4 months and counting” as of the time of the Sept. 28, 2015 report versus the “1 year, 7 months, and 25 days” that it claims the 9/11 Commission spent on its probe.
Talking Points Memo notes that official investigations of the 9/11 attacks were carried out by the 9/11 Commission and a joint congressional panel, whereas the Benghazi attack has been probed by the State Department’s Accountability Review Board and eight congressional committees. Congress reportedly held 22 hearings on 9/11 and has so far held 21 on Benghazi, according to The Atlantic. USA Today contradicted that report and cited a different number of congressional investigations into Benghazi — 32.
The Benghazi Research Center claims that at least $20 million has been spent so far on congressional investigations into the attack in Libya. BRC also cited the total running time of congressional Benghazi hearings so far at 54 hours.
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States reported that the 9/11 Commission had a budget of $15 million.