The House Benghazi committee has interviewed two drone sensor operators who were working on the night of the deadly 2012 attacks in Libya, including one who identified himself on talk radio as “John from Iowa.”
The unidentified drone operator has earned derision from the Pentagon and committee Democrats, who say the GOP-led panel has made a series of costly, duplicative and unnecessary requests – including some based on claims made on Facebook or talk radio.
The drone operator, an Air Force sergeant, told a radio host in 2013 he was surprised that no one from Congress had contacted him.
The panel’s chairman, Republican congressman Trey Gowdy, says that “talking to enlisted service members with first-hand information is just as important as talking to the generals and admirals who command them.”
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In a statement announcing the subpoena for Hedger, Gowdy also suggested that the former Democratic congressional aide and others at the Defense Department may have tried to shield the drone operator’s identity.
“This Pentagon political appointee claimed in an official letter to the committee the Department of Defense could not find a requested witness, despite expending ‘significant resources’ searching for him,” Gowdy said.
“This witness is still on active duty and confirmed Thursday the Air Force knew exactly who he was — a drone sensor operator who was operating over Benghazi on the night of the attacks,” he added.
“Mr. Hedger will now have the opportunity to detail exactly what ‘resources’ he ‘expended’ and how. I look forward to him explaining the serious questions that have arisen with respect to this matter, including whether they are related to incompetence or deliberate concealment of the witness from a congressional inquiry.”
Committee Democrats immediately circled the wagons around the Defense Department and Hedger, who has worked for Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill and New York Rep. Steve Israel, both ardent supporters of Hillary Clinton.
“This latest abuse of authority by House Republicans is ridiculous and a desperate distraction from a failed investigation,” Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat, said in a statement.
Read more: Daily Caller