Democrats are accusing Rep. Trey Gowdy of dragging out a "political charade" by continuing to direct hearings through the House Select Committee on Benghazi, but the South Carolina Republican said Thursday the hearings are important as more information becomes available.
"I'm going to be criticized no matter what I do," Gowdy told Fox News' Bill Hemmer on the "America's Newsroom"
"So why don't I just wait and get the documents that that we're entitled to? We're getting close. We have about a dozen more witness interviews."
One of those witnesses on Wednesday was former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, who testified in a closed session before the committee.
After his testimony, California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff complained that the committee heard nothing that wasn't already heard in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, of which he is also a member, and of "eight separate investigators."
Schiff and other Democrats have accused Gowdy of stretching out the hearings to damage former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
Gowdy, though, on Thursday said the committee did learn "with a degree of specificity" about differences between security at the CIA annex in Benghazi and that at the diplomatic compound where Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed.
"Adam had to say that," Gowdy said. "He voted against forming this committee in the first place and he threatened to walk away and called for it to be disbanded months ago."
And as Schiff was on the Intelligence Committee and it issued a report, "anything new that we find necessarily impeaches his own work from two years ago."
Petraeus' testimony on Wednesday, Gowdy continued, was "constructive enough that we are going to talk to him again."
The former CIA director also helped with testimony about the question of U.S. assets that could have stopped the attack on the embassy and CIA compound, which took place on Sept. 11, 2012.
"If we did not have assets in the region, and this is a really important question: why did we not have assets in the region on the anniversary of 9/11?" Gowdy said.
Gowdy said he and the committee are still awaiting key documents from the White House, State Department, and the CIA,
But the chairman does have one thing in common with the Democrats who oppose the committee, saying that he's "just as anxious to wrap this up," but specifying he is not as anxious as the Democrats because they didn't want to start the effort at all.
On Friday, Leon Panetta, who was serving as Secretary of Defense when the attacks occurred, and who had been CIA director from 2009-2011 will take the stand behind closed door to give testimony Gowdy described as "really important."
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