On Sept. 11, 2012, the U.S. diplomatic compound and annex in Benghazi, Libya, came under attack. When it was over, four Americans were dead and U.S. officials were forced to evacuate.
In the years since, a lot has happened, including a series of congressional hearings and inquiries into events in Benghazi. On Thursday, a House select committee will convene yet another.
Hillary Clinton, of course, served as secretary of state at the time of the attacks. Now the Democratic front-runner in the 2016 presidential race, Clinton has been summoned to offer what looks to be several hours of testimony about the event, what administration officials knew, when, and what they did about it.
The Fix pulled together this quick summary of the Benghazi attacks and subsequent controversy to refresh your memory and bring you up to date.
2 (or more): Obama administration versions of precisely what happened in Benghazi.
The administration initially claimed that a video posted on YouTube critiquing and some say denigrating Islam sparked unplanned street protests and that those protests mushroomed into deadly attacks.
This was the essence of the explanation offered by now-National Security Adviser Susan Rice and other administration officials immediately after the attacks. Away from Capitol Hill, administration officials had began to paint a less-certain picture. As early as Sept. 12, President Obama opted for what seemed like very specific language, describing the attack as "an act of terror" carried out by members of "extremist" groups. And on Sept. 19, Matt Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told a Senate subcommittee that Americans were killed in Benghazi during a "terrorist attack," but said there was not solid evidence that the attack had been planned. Then Clinton used the term "terrorist attack" two days later.
In April 2014, a former CIA official told the House Intelligence committee that terrorists with al-Qaeda connections were involved in the attacks but they had not likely been pre-planned. He also said that the CIA was aware of al-Qaeda's involvement before Rice testified in front of Congress.
Republicans have argued that the administration made an effort to mislead the American public in the run-up to the November 2012 election.
2: Days before the deadly attacks that eastern Libyan militia leaders met with U.S. officials and warned of what would later be described in a diplomatic cable as "rising security threats against Americans," the New York Times reported in December 2013. The Libyans told U.S. officials that it would be best to leave Benghazi as soon as possible but also shared their deep interest in American business investment in the country. Among other things, they wanted a McDonalds and a KFC. The meeting occurred Sept. 9, 2012. The attacks followed on Sept. 12, 2012.
4: Americans were killed during the attacks. They included U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith and two CIA operatives. Stevens's death marked the first time that an American ambassador was killed in the line of duty since 1979.
Four months after the Benghazi attacks, in January 2013, Clinton was summoned to testify in front of a Senate committee investigating the attacks. During that testimony, Clinton was asked about the causes of the attacks. She now infamously responded: "Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they’d go kill some Americans?" Clinton said. "What difference, at this point, does it make?"
That last phrase became an often-broadcast soundbite and the subject of widespread commentary. It is also the basis of much of the expected drama at Wednesday's House committee hearing.
More than two dozen: Americans evacuated from Benghazi after the assault on the American mission and a nearby annex. That group included several CIA officers and contractors in the country gathering information about the various militia groups operating in the area. Americans lost their lives in the attack and the country lost what might have been a valuable intelligence-gathering opportunity.
At least 10: Different agencies, Senate and House committees that have opened inquires in the Benghazi attack. They include the State Department, FBI, a select Senate committee on intelligence and a standing House committee on intelligence. Today's hearing will take place in front of yet another group, a House select committee focused on Benghazi.
That investigation count and comments made last month by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R- Calif.) have raised questions about the real goals of Wednesday's hearing.
33: Months after the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks in Benghazi that military commandos and law enforcement officials arrested Ahmed Abu Khattala, a Libyan Islamic extremist identified by several witnesses as one of the event's ringleaders. Khattala had lived openly with his mother in Benghazi and gave multiple interviews to journalists about the attacks and his theocratic government goals for Libya in the years between the attacks and his arrest. Disorder and militia control of the city were said to make his arrest difficult.
12: The number of members of the House select committee that will question Clinton in front of what will almost certainly be a large number of reporters live-blogging, reporting about and recording the day's events.
The members of the select committee include Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and GOP Reps. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.), Martha Roby (R-Ala.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.). It also includes five Democrats: Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Reps. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).