Republican lawmakers are blasting the White House for not allowing access to the survivors of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya — many of whom are still recovering at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington.
“We want to talk to the survivors — they won’t do that,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah told Fox News on Wednesday
. “And then the president has the gall to go on television and say ‘Oh, we’re providing all the access’? Baloney. Bull-crap. That is not happening.”
Chaffetz told Fox that he had spoken to a “handful of people” when he visited Benghazi not long after the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans but has not been able to gain access to the survivors since returning to the US.
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The number of Americans who were injured in the attack also varies, according to Fox, and the StateDepartment has declined to say how many survivors were injured or hospitalized.
But as many as 30 may have been injured, and up to seven may still be at Walter Reed, Reps. FrankWolf of Virginia and Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania told Fox.
“Several may have required amputations,” they wrote in a letter to colleagues last week, according to Fox.
A source told Fox, however, that seven Americans were injured and that at least three remained at Walter Reed. One other may be recovering in California — and one of those injured required a partial leg amputation.
Another continues to suffer from smoke inhalation and a possible brain injury, Fox reports.
But some of the survivors work in secret services and do not want their names to become public, Fox reports.
Chaffetz said that the Obama administration “will not give us the names.”
One person who was hospitalized had their “name changed” on hospital records so as not to be identified, Chaffetz told Fox.
Secretary of State John Kerry told Fox on Tuesday that he had visited a survivor in Bethesda, Md., which is where Walter Reed is located.
The survivor is “remarkably courageous” and is doing “very, very well,” Kerry told Fox. He added that he also had talked with the survivor’s wife.
But when asked when the public might learn of the survivors, Kerry told Fox: “I can’t tell you. I don’t know what the circumstances are of any requests to talk to them or not.”
On March 1, Wolf and Gerlach wrote Kerry formally requesting access to the survivors and seeking details about their conditions.
Those injured may be State Department employees, CIA officials, and security contractors, the congressmen claimed in the letter.
“Having served in Benghazi, the perspective of these individuals would provide valuable insight to a dark day in American history – a day which is still shrouded in much mystery,” Wolf and Gerlach wrote, according to Fox.
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