Family Of Slain Benghazi Contractor Waits For Benefits As Congress Focuses On Hillary Clinton's Emails

It's been three years since the attack.
Barbara Doherty, mother of former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, has not been able to get survivor benefits after her son died in th
Barbara Doherty, mother of former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, has not been able to get survivor benefits after her son died in the 2012 attack in Benghazi. 

WASHINGTON -- Last week, the GOP-led House Select Committee on Benghazi held an 11-hour hearing with Hillary Clinton that was supposed to, in the words of chair Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), help deliver "justice" to the four Americans who died in the 2012 attack. 

"Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods served this country with courage and with honor," Gowdy said in his opening statement. "And they were killed under circumstances that most of us could never imagine. ... They were more than four images on a television screen. They were husbands and fathers and sons and brothers and family and friends. They were Americans who believed in service and sacrifice."

Yet three years after that attack, the family of Doherty, a CIA contractor and former Navy SEAL, is still waiting for about $400,000 in survivor benefits it believes it deserves. Doherty was unmarried and had no children, and family members said they never realized they would be ineligible for financial support after his death. 

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) said he watched nearly the entire hearing with Clinton last week and was struck by the irony of the affair. 

"I think the perfect way to honor Glen's memory would be to pay the benefits that would have gone to his family," Lynch said. "We're not asking anything that he did not expect here. He paid his premiums when he served in Iraq, in Afghanistan and when he was deployed to Libya."

CIA contractor Glen Doherty lost his life in the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.
CIA contractor Glen Doherty lost his life in the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

In January, Lynch introduced the Glen Anthony Doherty Overseas Security Personnel Fairness Act, which would amend the Defense Base Act so that employees killed in the line of duty who are unmarried and have no dependents can have their full death benefits transferred to other family members. 

Lynch said his push is bipartisan and praised Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) for helping him in the Senate. And while all of the House committees that need to sign off for his bill to move forward have already done so, he said he's still waiting on a couple of approvals out of the Senate. 

Another route to getting Doherty's family financial support would be for the CIA to change administrative rules regarding survivor benefits. But even then, congressional committees need to give their approval because it involves transferring money from one fund to another. 

Until recently, the Senate Intelligence Committee was part of the hold-up. But Becca Glover Watkins, spokeswoman for committee chair Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), said Thursday that it had cleared their panel.

"This issue has been resolved with the agency," she said, giving no other details. The CIA declined to comment.

Amy Carnevale, who is one of the attorneys representing the Dohertys on a pro-bono basis, said the family still has not received the benefits.

Carnevale said she believes the next step is for the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee to give its approval for the process to move ahead. A spokesman for the chair, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), did not return a request for comment.

During the most recent Benghazi Committee hearing, Clinton and lawmakers mentioned Doherty's name 11 times. In contrast, Sidney Blumenthal -- a longtime Clinton adviser and friend -- came up 82 times. Blumenthal would frequently email his thoughts about foreign policy to Clinton, who would sometimes forward those emails to her staff.

Republicans have tried to argue that Clinton, who was secretary of state in 2012, failed to protect Doherty and the other Americans who died because she was relying on an uninformed outsider for her intelligence information. Clinton has maintained that Blumenthal was not her primary source of information on foreign policy. 

"I did not ask him to send me the information that he sent me, and as I have previously stated, some of it I found interesting, some of it I do not," Clinton told Gowdy during the hearing. "Some of it I forwarded, some of it I do not. ... I thought that, just as I said previously, newspaper articles, journalists, of which he is one -- a former journalist -- had some interesting insights."  

Doherty's mother, Barbara, did not watch Clinton's hearing and told the Boston Globe that the committee appeared to be more interested in the Democratic presidential candidate than the victims of the attack.

"They're so intent on focusing on one person they're not looking at the whole picture," she said, referring to Clinton. "It's been such a long journey."

There have been a total of eight investigations into the Benghazi attacks. The current one has lasted 17 months and cost taxpayers more than $4.5 million. 

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