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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

May 2, 2014 - 8:09 am

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) just subpoenaed Secretary of State John Kerry to appear at a May 21 hearing on Benghazi.

In a three-page letter to Kerry accompanying the subpoena, Issa outlines the State Department’s evasiveness with the committee and stresses that “compliance with a subpoena for documents is not a game.”

He noted that when Kerry took over from Hillary Clinton, “the State Department had a well-deserved reputation for obstructing and delaying the congressional investigation of the Benghazi attack.”

Kerry, Issa noted, “pledged to fix it.” Issa notified Kerry a year ago that document requests and other cooperation were still being impeded at the department.

“Little has changed,” he wrote today. “The State Department continues to produce heavily redacted documents to the Committee. Even classified documents, which are already protected from public disclosure, are blacked out. Some categories of documents have been withheld entirely, and no valid privilege has been asserted.”

Issa added that new State Department documents released to the committee only after a Freedom of Information Act request appear to hold “conclusive evidence that your agency attempt to illegally withhold subpoenaed material.”

“I remind you that such contempt of Congress may constitute a criminal offense,” the chairman said. “…The Department is not allowed to delay responsive materials because it is embarrassing or implicates the roles and actions of senior officials.”

The State Department alerted the committee on April 17 that, per the outside FOIA request, they were releasing documents previously requested by the panel that show White House official Ben Rhodes coordinating talking points for then-Ambassador Susan Rice which encouraged an emphasis that the attack was “rooted in an Internet video, and not a failure of policy.”

“The State Department’s response to the congressional investigation of the Benghazi attack has shown a disturbing disregard for the Department’s legal obligations to Congress,” Issa wrote in the letter. “…Because your Department is failing to meet its legal obligations, I am issuing a new subpoena to compel you to appear before the Committee to answer questions about your agency’s response to the congressional investigation of the Benghazi attack.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Can you think of a reasonable, pragmatic alternative? I completely agree with you about the futility of Congress's actions, but what else can they do?

Serious question, not sarcasm. I can't think of anything.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Kerry doesn't comply with this subpoena, will they subpoena him to force him to comply with the subpoena that forces him to comply with the subpoena?

If our best move is to read from the U.N. playbook, we're in trouble.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (16)
All Comments   (16)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
We're doing the once unthinkable.....we're letting the twin malignancies of Political Correctness and Affirmative Action destroy this once great Nation.
No one politician wants to be confrontational or stray too far from the bland; everybody's got eyes fixed on potential voter scores.
We desperately need the unity of February of 1942.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ms. Johnson or anybody who can answer this question: Can the Select Committee demand--and get--unredacted documents?
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Kerry wants a run at POTUS he is in a great spot to knock Clinton back a few squares.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yep. Standard Congressional Kabuki Theater. Kerry will answer a fer softball questions and blame Hillary or George Bush.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Apparently, Issa did not get the memo.

John the Bupkist will not allow himself to be questioned.

And no, the lawlessness of this cabal is not a game. They are dead serious about shredding the Constitution.

They aren't afraid. Who is going to get them to tell the truth. Rhodes brother at CBS? Jay Carney's wife? The Soros media?

And unveil the Obama/Clinton plot?

The ONLY surprise is that they complied with the FOIA at all. There is a mountain of hidden evidence buried or burned.

Don't worry, they will get Eric Holder to investigate...just as soon as he is done investigating...Eric Holder.

The Boza Nostra (Clown Mafia) is not going to cooperate. This is a criminal enterprise engaged in an overthrow. They don't recognize any other authority. Nor will they ever.

They don't recognize the people's rights, freedoms, liberty or power.

Much less their neutered representatives.

Viva the revolution. Because, what...at this point...does anything else matter?
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually, they did not comply with FOIA. They were forced to release the latest emails by court order via a suit filed by Judicial Watch.

If Trey Gowdy has any snap (and he does) he will anticipate similar delays in the future and have litigation at the ready.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
“Compliance is not a game”

Yeah it is.

Its all a game…all of it…So, John the Orange Goblin finally moved.
More talk and talk, with nothing gonna come from it?

We expect Impeachment?
Of the first Black President?
Sure, THATS likely.

Bone-boy only moved for a reason. He's not doing this for us, he's doing this for something else, some other "compromise"...

Whats the Pay-off?
Amnesty?
Dropping resistance to Obamacare?

Great, Weepy has finally said “ go” on Benghazi…

And nothing more on the IRS, the Gun Running, or anything else, right?

Cant look TOO nasty and mean going into Mid terms, right?
If we play nice and bow our heads in “racist fear” between now and then, maybe we’ll win the Senate with a few more RINO seats… then what?

2 years of non-stop Media Abuse for pursuing a “3 year old phony scandal”? Sure, the Estblishment Republicans have the stones for THAT, right?
They wont give away the store to prop-up their "moderate" cred, huh?

You DO KNOW that everything given away, or ever MENTIONED as a possible giveaway, is already a done deal, right? Food Stamps, Obama Phones , Amnesty, Health Care, Student Loan Bailouts…they’re here now, or on the way, and they will NEVER be repealed or scaled back, EVER, don’t you?

So, after several YEARS of the Blazingly Obvious, a Chief-RINO has finally made a Glacier-like move in the right direction on ONE of obamas scandals, huh…

All that tells me, is look-OUT…\

Something REALLY bad is about to happen.

29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
May 21st? Why are they giving him so much time to prepare? Why not get him up there on Monday?
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
"‘Compliance Is Not a Game’"
It is to this administration and they are winning.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
John Kerry became SOS January, 2013.

IF he shows up to testify May 21, you can imagine Genghis John declaring, among other demurrals, that he wasn't even at the state dept. September 2012.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Exactly...
Smoke and mirrors, sound and fury...
Designed to fail, go-nowhere-throw-the-Tea-Party-a-Bone....

In exchange for SOMETHING....

The RINOS and the Dems are all on the same side...
Somethings cooking here, and its NOT going to be good
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh no! Kerry had better watch out! He might just get a contempt citation from Congress. We all know how much the obama admin cares about contempt citations don't we? Why not just throw a nerf ball at him instead?
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Can you think of a reasonable, pragmatic alternative? I completely agree with you about the futility of Congress's actions, but what else can they do?

Serious question, not sarcasm. I can't think of anything.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
One Congresscritter suggested withholding anyone's salary who has been held in contempt of Congress.

That would apply right now to the Attorney General of the US, Eric Holder, who got all huffy a couple of weeks ago when representative Louie Gohmert suggested Holder didn't take the fact that he'd been cited for contempt of Congress very seriously.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
If we withhold their salary but leave them with administrative authority, my concern is that it cuts them loose from any incentive to not run hog wild. It is kind of like declaring someone an outlaw; when you do, they tend to stop following the law.

Also, people like Kerry are so rich that their salaries fail to make up what their fortunes lose to inflation. I'm not sure material incentives will work with the that crowd.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Kerry doesn't comply with this subpoena, will they subpoena him to force him to comply with the subpoena that forces him to comply with the subpoena?

If our best move is to read from the U.N. playbook, we're in trouble.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
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