Powerful House committee chairmen Darrell Issa and Ed Royce are pressing the administration to respond to a new report that a military team received "orders to wait" after American diplomats called for help during the 2012 attacks on the U.S. compound in Benghazi.
In an Oct. 30 letter to Secretary of State John Kerry
, CIA Director John Brennan
, and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel,
the two California Republicans cited Sunday's "60 Minutes" report that "About 30 minutes into the attack, a quick-reaction force from the CIA annex ignored orders to wait and raced to the compound, at times running and shooting their way through the streets just to get there."
"According to a recent report, there may have been an attempt to delay the deployment of resources to assist our diplomats. If accurate, this is a troubling development meriting a full explanation by this administration," they wrote.
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Issa is chairman of the House Oversight Committee while Royce presides over the Foreign Affairs Committee.
They say the report by CBS' Lara Logan "was not the first to raise questions about the difficulties that the annex response team encountered when they moved to assist their colleagues in extremis. In October 2012, news outlets reported that a team from the annex was delayed in responding to the attack on the SMC because it was initially unable to obtain official authorization to do so."
The letter continued, "At the time, administration officials downplayed the 24-minute interval between the time the annex learned of the attack and the response team’s departure by arguing that the time was spent attempting to secure support from local militias. Notwithstanding the reason for the delay, it is highly probable that it was during this time that Ambassador Stevens and his colleague Sean Smith perished.”
Issa and Royce are not the only lawmakers demanding answers. Several other GOP legislators have said they will block Obama nominations for top positions until the White House releases more information about the attacks.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said at a news conference Wednesday that he will filibuster the nomination of Janet Yellen to head the Federal Reserve unless eyewitnesses and the statements they made to the FBI within 48 hours of the assault are made available to Congress.
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Graham was joined by Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, as well as Reps. Trey Gowdy of South Carolinia, Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Jim Jordan of Ohio, all of whom said the Obama administration is pressuring government employees to keep them from testifying to Congress about what they may know, reports USA Today.
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