As lawmakers sent out their traditional 9/11 statements to mark the 12th year since the attacks on New York and Washington, some Republicans also somberly — and with frustration — remembered the attack on the Benghazi consulate a year ago.
“Astonishingly, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has yet to schedule hearings with the survivors of the attack, or State Department employees directly involved in overseeing the security of the diplomatic facility in Benghazi or the administration’s response that night,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of that panel, wrote on Fox News’ website this morning. “It’s also unacceptable that despite President Obama’s pledge last year that his ‘biggest priority’ was to bring the perpetrators to justice, none of the terrorists who attacked the compound in Benghazi and who murdered four Americans have been killed or captured.”
“…The Obama administration continues to show no interest in learning from the mistakes that led to this tragic event. The administration’s unwillingness to take this attack seriously will have implications for our national security for years to come.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said that CIA Director John Brennan has now pledged to cooperate in the investigation yet denied officers who wanted to talk to Congress about events that night were being subjected to polygraphs or nondisclosure agreements.
“In the individuals that we’ve talked to so far, I believe that’s accurate. We have not talked to all of them,” Rogers said this morning on Fox. “And one of our frustrations was there were several that were either not made available or decided they didn’t want to cooperate. But that no longer is an option. And so, we got that letter. We’re going to make a final determination with all of the CIA officers on the ground.”
“Remember, the CIA is the good guys in this. They acted with great bravery and patriotism, and, by the way, risked their lives to go back and try to save the ambassador,” the chairman added. “So they’re not the bad guys in this. But there’s valuable information we think they have. There’s some indication that the timelines that has been presented are not accurate. And we’re going to get to the bottom of that.”
“This is an important movement in the investigation. I’m sorry that had to happen on the year anniversary. Obviously, there is some political calculation here. This should have happened — that letter — you know, we should have this opportunity months and months and months ago.”
Yesterday, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) demanded that the State Department comply with his panel’s request to interview Benghazi survivors.
“The survivors of the attacks are the only people who can give testimony to the Committee about what happened on the ground in Benghazi,” wrote Issa in the letter sent to Secretary of State John Kerry. “Details provided by the survivors will not only help the Committee determine what took place during the attack, but will also help the Committee and other interested parties determine ways to prevent future tragedies.”
“The State Department has further restricted the Committee’s access to these witnesses, claiming that they must be insulated from congressional investigators as they ‘would very likely be witnesses in any criminal proceedings relating to the Benghazi attacks’… The Department’s concerns about jeopardizing law enforcement efforts were not at issue during its own internal ARB investigation, and should not be an issue with the congressional investigation,” the letter continues.
“I must receive confirmation that the Department will make these witnesses available to Committee investigators by September 16, 2013,” Issa added. “Otherwise, I will have no alternative but to consider the use of compulsory process. “