WASHINGTON – Today, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry outlining the State Department’s continued obstruction into the investigation of the tragic events in Benghazi. While the Secretary stated in a House hearing this month that he was “not aware” of any State Department generated delay or obstruction into the investigation, Chairman Issa outlines specific incidences where the Department has used various tactics to stall and impede the investigation. This obstruction includes unusual restrictions on documents, threats to destroy Committee property, and attempts to hinder whistleblowers from obtaining legal representation cleared to view classified information.
The State Department has refused to provide requested information about procedures for attorneys representing whistleblowers can be cleared to handle classified information.
“During the course of the Committee’s investigation, numerous individuals have come forward with information related to the Benghazi attack,” wrote Issa in the letter. “Some witnesses may be required to retain personal counsel to represent them before the Committee and in case the Department retaliates against them for cooperating with the Committee’s investigation. Additional witnesses may be compelled by subpoena to give testimony to the Committee and can be reasonably expected to retain personal counsel at that time. In each case, witnesses may need to share sensitive or classified information with their lawyers. The Department’s unwillingness to make the process for clearing an attorney more transparent appears to be an effort to interfere with the rights of employees to furnish information to Congress.”
Read the letter here.