Issa Presses State Department on Refusal to Make Benghazi Eyewitnesses Available for Interviews
WASHINGTON – Today, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., demanded that the State Department comply with the Committee’s request to interview survivors of the September 11-12, 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi and indicated that the Committee may be forced to use the compulsory process if cooperation is not forthcoming.
“The survivors of the attacks are the only people who can give testimony to the Committee about what happened on the ground in Benghazi,” said Issa in the letter sent to Secretary of State John Kerry one day before the anniversary of the Benghazi attacks. “Details provided by the survivors will not only help the Committee determine what took place during the attack, but will also help the Committee and other interested parties determine ways to prevent future tragedies.”
On August 23, 2013, the State Department informed the Committee that it was, “not prepared to support the request for transcribed interviews.”
Chairman Issa’s letter notes that the Accountability Review Board (ARB) interviewed eyewitnesses as part of their review and media outlets have also reportedly had access to survivors of the attack.
Furthermore, the letter states, “The State Department has further restricted the Committee’s access to these witnesses, claiming that they must be insulated from congressional investigators as they ‘would very likely be witnesses in any criminal proceedings relating to the Benghazi attacks’… The Department’s concerns about jeopardizing law enforcement efforts were not at issue during its own internal ARB investigation, and should not be an issue with the congressional investigation.”
“I must receive confirmation that the Department will make these witnesses available to Committee investigators by September 24, 2013,” the letter states. “Otherwise, I will have no alternative but to consider the use of compulsory process. “
You can read the complete letter here.