Tags: US | FBI | Director | Benghazi

FBI: OK for Congress to Talk to Benghazi Survivors

Image: FBI: OK for Congress to Talk to Benghazi Survivors

Thursday, 14 Nov 2013 04:53 PM


  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

FBI Director James Comey told senators Thursday he is not opposed to Congress speaking with the survivors of the 2012 attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. That contradicts the Obama administration's position that such discussions would jeopardize the FBI's criminal case.

Comey's position on the politically charged issue seemed to surprise some of the senators who have unsuccessfully asked the administration for access to the survivors. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has said he will block President Barack Obama's nominees for Federal Reserve chairman and Homeland Security secretary if the administration does not give Congress access to the Benghazi survivors.

The FBI is leading the investigation into the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Comey, a former federal prosecutor who has headed the FBI for just two months, weighed in on what's become a rallying cry for conservatives. Testifying before a Senate committee on the current terror threat to the U.S., Comey said he was unaware that the administration has refused to give some members of Congress access to the survivors because of the FBI investigation.

"As the FBI director, I don't have an objection to it," Comey said. "I don't know whether the prosecutors would feel differently or if there's some other reason I'm not thinking of. But speaking from my perspective, yeah, I don't have an objection to that."

Conservatives argue that the administration tried to mislead the public about a deadly terror attack on Americans in the heat of a presidential campaign. In the months since, congressional Republicans have accused the administration of stonewalling their investigations.

A diplomatic security agent who was an eyewitness to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack has been questioned by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. But other members want to question survivors as well.

"There should be no reason that the FBI investigation should be used as an excuse for us not to have access to question those witnesses, whether it's an open hearing or in a secure briefing setting," Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said.

Comey said he hadn't discussed the matter with the Justice Department. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to questions about Comey's position.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., asked Comey whether he might have a different opinion after he spoke with prosecutors. Comey, a federal prosecutor for 15 years and deputy assistant attorney general for two years, said it's always possible.

In a letter to Graham last month, the State Department said it was concerned about congressional interviews with the survivors of the attack because of Justice Department advice that they could be witnesses in a criminal trial, and any interviews outside the criminal justice process could jeopardize a case.

The department also wrote that "because these survivors are potential witnesses in a terrorism prosecution, as well as law enforcement professionals who engage in security activities around the world including at high-threat posts, disclosure of their identities could put their lives, as well as those of their families and the people they protect, at increased risk."

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki had no immediate response to Comey's remarks.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Retype Email:
Zip Code:
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Obamacare Provision Allows Treatment Without Payment

Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 13:31 PM

Doctors and hospitals, not patients, will be on the hook for people who don't pay their Obamacare insurance premiums, Fo . . .

GOP Backing Off Support for Cliven Bundy After Racist Remarks

Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 11:12 AM

Republican leaders are backing off their support of Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy after he made a series of inflamm . . .

Obama Faces Growing Rebellion Against Deportation Program

Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 11:54 AM

On April 16, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter announced that the city would no longer agree to federal government reque . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved