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Cummings to Lead Democrats on Benghazi Committee

James Wright | 5/24/2014, 2:24 p.m.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reluctantly appointed Wednesday five of her party members — including Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings — ...
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD 7th District) Courtesy Photo

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reluctantly appointed Wednesday five of her party members — including Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings — to a select committee to investigate what happened in the 2012 terrorist attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Cummings, a Baltimore lawmaker and former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, will lead the group of appointed Democrats, which include Reps. Adam Smith of Washington, Linda Sanchez and Adam Schiff of California and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois.

Cummings said he agreed to serve on the panel to defend the truth and honor the slain Americans by "bringing their killers to justice and work in a bipartisan way to strengthen security for all U.S. personnel overseas."

He accepted the assignment even though he does not agree with its purpose.

"I do not believe a select committee is called for after eight reports, dozens of witnesses and a review of more than 25,000 pages of documents," Cummings said. "Many of the so-called 'unanswered questions' Republicans have been raising recently have been answered in previous reports.

"I do not believe the select committee rules proposed by the speaker are fair, open or designed to conduct a neutral, reason-and fact-based inquiry," he said.

Republicans charge that former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Obama administration know more than they are revealing about the incident on Sept. 11, 2012, when Islamic militants attacked the American diplomatic mission at Benghazi, resulting in the death of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and Sean Smith, a U.S. Foreign Service Information officer. Hours later, two other Americans, Tyrone S. Woods and Chris Doherty, were killed in a CIA annex nearby.