Sen. Lindsey Graham challenged President Barack Obama to allow survivors of the deadly attack last year on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, to talk with congressional investigators without fear of being fired.
“Benghazi is eight months old, nobody has been arrested, and the survivors have never been allowed to be talked to by the Congress. This administration is investigating itself,” Graham said Wednesday in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
“I’m urging the president, I’m challenging this administration, allow the survivors to come forward without the fear of being fired,” said the South Carolina Republican.
Earlier this week, attorney Victoria Toensing said she had a client who wanted to share classified information with congressional investigators, but is being blocked by the State Department.
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“In order to tell the whole story, my client has to provide classified information,” Toensing told Newsmax earlier this week. The State Department “hasn’t acknowledged a process for doing that.”
At least four career State Department and CIA officials are seeking legal representation and are complaining that administration officials are trying to intimidate them as they prepare to cooperate with congressional investigators, according to a Fox News report.
Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, recently informed Benghazi whistleblowers — some of whom have been cooperating — that they should lawyer-up in preparation for being called to testify in the probe.
The California Republican last week sent a scathing letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, charging the department was employing “a range of tactics to interfere with the committee’s investigation.”
“The investigation has proceeded despite efforts by department staff to limit the committee’s access to documents and witnesses,” Issa said.
The president, during his Tuesday news conference, that he was unaware of the issue, and White House spokesman Jay Carney on Wednesday called it was a non-issue.
“Let’s be clear,” Carney said. “Benghazi happened a long time ago. We are unaware of any agency blocking an employee who would like to appear before Congress to provide information related to Benghazi.”
Graham told Hannity that both the Benghazi attacks and the Boston terror bombings exposed flaws in the nation’s security apparatus and need to be looked at by Congress.
“We’ve got eight dead Americans killed in the last seven months — four in Benghazi, four in Boston,” Graham said. “When you look at Boston and Benghazi, things are not working.”
Graham said Congress needs to review actions by the CIA and Department of Homeland Security, “not separately, but jointly, to learn from our mistakes.”
When Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said “there is no connection here to a broader plot, she had absolutely, no way she could have known that that soon,” Graham added, referring to the Boston bombings.
“The more you know about these two guys, they certainly didn’t learn all this in the bottom of their basement,” Graham said of suspected bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. “Bin Laden is dead, but radical Islam is on the rise. We need to up our game.”
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