Issa Presses Reluctant State Department on Withholding of ARB Documents

Published: Sep 6, 2013

WASHINGTON – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) yesterday sent a letter to the State Department on their refusal to turn over Accountability Review Board (ARB) documents to the Oversight Committee. In the letter, Issa states that the Department’s refusal to provide documents covered by the Committee’s subpoena is unjustified and the latest example of resistance to congressional oversight of the events surrounding the Benghazi attacks.  The State Department has not cited a valid reason to withhold the ARB documents, which were initially requested in January, and the President has not asserted executive privilege.

“The Department has presented the ARB’s work and findings as an independent review,” Chairman Issa says in the letter. “At the same time, it has refused to comply with the Committee’s subpoena for relevant documents.  This refusal raises serious questions about the ARB’s independence.  If the ARB’s work reflected a truly independent review, as the Department maintains, it should present no problem whatsoever to share all relevant documents with Congress.”

No State Department officials have been held accountable for the security failures in Benghazi despite the President’s promises to the American people, and the victims’ families, that he would do so.  In fact, the four State Department officials who were placed on paid administrative leave based on the ARB’s findings recently returned to work.

Chairman Issa subpoenaed the State Department August 1st for documents related to the ARB’s report that found large security failures at the heart of the attack on the United State’s compound in Libya.

This week, a panel headed by former United States Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan found that the security failures that contributed to the Benghazi attacks at the State Department were systemic and have been a serious concern for much longer than the ARB initially reported.

Read the letter here.