Tags: issa | benghazi | demands | access

Rep. Issa Demands Access to Benghazi Survivors

Tuesday, 10 Sep 2013 05:22 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Adding urgency to a growing chorus seeking answers to lingering questions about the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, California Rep. Darrell Issa Tuesday demanded access to survivors to interview them about the deadly strike.

In a blistering letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee warned if access continues to be denied, "I will have no alternative but to consider the use of compulsory process."

Issa gave the State Department until Sept. 16 to comply with his demand — denied once already by State Department on Aug. 23.

"The survivors of the attacks are the only people who can give testimony to the Committee about what happened on the ground in Benghazi," the letter said.

"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."

Last month, State flatly denied such access, stating it was "not prepared to support the request for transcribed interviews.”

Not good enough, Issa said.

His letter said the department's own internal review board, along with media outlets, have been able to speak with survivors.

Issa blasted the State Department for restricting the committee's access, "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 . . . investigation, and should not be an issue with the congressional investigation," the letter stated.

Issa said he'd give the department until Sept. 16 to make the witnesses available.

Last month, Issa also blasted the Obama administration over the Benghazi investigation.

After news that four State Department employees from the mission were back at work at the department, Issa railed that the administration had repeatedly promised victims' families those responsible for security failures would be held accountable.

"Instead of accountability, the State Department offered a charade that included false reports of firings and resignations and now ends in a game of musical chairs where no one misses a single day on the State Department payroll," he said in a statement on Aug. 20.

And on Tuesday, Republican Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers became the latest lawmaker demanding continued investigation of the attack that killed four people in the diplomatic mission in Libya.

"As we pay homage to their legacy, we are emboldened in our search for answers," she told the Lake Spokane Outpost. "I remain more committed than ever to provide answers about what happened in Benghazi and to hold the President accountable to the American people. Four brave Americans lost their lives in this attack, and we will continue our search for answers until we determine who was responsible."

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