State Department: Yes, We’ll Send Benghazi Documents — Again

Charles S. Clark, Government Executive
See more stories about...
Charles S. Clark, Government Executive
Aug. 13, 2013, 11:02 a.m.

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 »
UTAH REPUBLICAN
Former Sen. Bob Bennett Dies at 82
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Former Utah Republican Sen. Bob Bennett died of pancreatic cancer on Wednesday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Bennett was defeated in a primary in 2010 by Tea Party–backed Mike Lee.

Source:
GOOGLE SEARCHES SPIKE
Libertarians Getting a Second Look?
11 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
VEEPSTAKES
Trump Floats Gingrich, Kasich as Running Mates
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

Newt Gringrich is actively positioning himself as a possible VP nominee for Donald Trump, according to National Review. After a New York Times piece mentioned him as a possible running mate, he said, "It is an honor to be mentioned. We need a new Contract with America to outline a 100-day plan to take back Washington from the lobbyists, bureaucrats, unions, and leftists. After helping in 1980 with Reagan and 1995 as speaker I know we have to move boldly and decisively before the election results wear off and the establishment starts fighting us. That is my focus." Meanwhile, Trump told CNN he'd be "interested in vetting" John Kasich as well.

NO MORE CUTS
House Dems Push on Puerto Rico, Citing Zika
12 hours ago
THE LATEST

"House Democrats are stepping up pressure on Republicans to advance legislation addressing Puerto Rico’s worsening debt crisis by issuing a report arguing that austerity cuts can’t be sustained and have made the island more vulnerable to the mosquito-borne Zika virus." Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee released a report yesterday that argued "further sharp reductions in government spending can’t be a part of a legislative solution"—especially with a rainy season boosting the mosquito population and stressing an island health system already struggling to deal with the Zika virus.

Source:
WILL ANNOUNCE PICK BEFORE CONVENTION
Trump to Name VP Search Committee
14 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Donald J. Trump said on Wednesday that he expected to reveal his vice presidential pick sometime in July—before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland—but added that he would soon announce a committee to handle the selection process, which would include Dr. Ben Carson." He said he's inclined to name a traditional political figure, unlike himself.

Source:
×