WASHINGTON — The State Department on Monday affirmed that it will continue working to meet House Republicans’ ongoing demands for documents relating to the agency’s handling of the September 2012 fatal attack on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya.
In the latest request, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on Aug. 8 sent a letter to former State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland demanding her emails concerning the much-debated television “talking points” from the days following the attack that left four Americans—including Ambassador Chris Stevens—dead.
“You wrote that changes to the talking points did not ‘resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership,’ ” Issa said in his letter. “Your email makes clear that department leadership shared concerns with you about the draft talking points. It is my hope and expectation that the documents I am requesting will identify those concerns, and whose concerns they were.”
Issa went on to describe as inadequate the State Department’s response in handing over 97 pages to comply with his May 28, 2013, subpoena, saying it failed to explain the email language. “The State Department continues to refuse to make the documents available that would clarify what aspects of the talking points your bosses were concerned about.”
In a statement emailed to Government Executive acknowledging receipt of Issa’s letter, a department spokesman said, “the 100 pages of emails on the talking points were publicly released months ago, but Chairman Issa still issued a subpoena on the topic, with which we fully complied. He continues to ask about the talking points and we will again work with him to address these issues.”
State has “demonstrated an unprecedented degree of cooperation with the Congress on the issue of Benghazi,” the statement continued. “Specifically, in support of the investigation, the State Department has participated in nearly 50 congressional hearings and briefings for members and staff, shared more than 25,000 pages of documents with committees, and made State Department employees available for interviews with the House Oversight committee.”
The spokesman reiterated that the facts surrounding the Benghazi incident were laid out to Congress and the public in the independent Accountability Review Board report, and that State is committed to implementing all 29 of the report’s recommendations. “Our diplomats continue to serve in dangerous places,” he continued. “People at the State Department are willing to step up and put themselves in harm’s way, and it is a disservice to them to politicize this issue.”
Issa gave State a deadline of Aug. 15.
Reprinted with permission from Government Executive. The original story can be found here.
What We're Following See More »
Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”
Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.
Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.
Donald Trump's Fox News brain trust keeps growing. After it was revealed that former Fox chief Roger Ailes is informally advising Trump on debate preparation, host Sean Hannity admitted over the weekend that he's also advising Trump on "strategy and messaging." He told the New York Times: “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. I never claimed to be a journalist.”