WASHINGTON – Today, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) issued two subpoenas to the State Department for documents relevant to the Committee’s investigation into the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya that cost four American lives.
“After ignoring requests for months, the State Department has left no alternative but to issue subpoenas for documents relevant to our investigation,” said Issa. “State Department tactics to delay and impede accountability have exhausted the Committee’s patience. Further subpoenas may also be necessary if the Department is not forthcoming on other requests.”
The documents covered by the subpoenas will allow Congressional investigators to understand how the ARB conducted its review and how it obtained testimony from witnesses. Witnesses interviewed by the Committee have testified that the ARB never asked them about the very issues that the ARB eventually cited as cause to hold four State Department officials accountable for the inadequate security posture in Benghazi. Those four officials were subsequently placed on paid administrative leave based on the ARB’s recommendation. Yesterday, the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry outlining some of the concerns expressed to the Committee by witnesses. The subpoenas also require the State Department to produce 25,000 page of documents to Congress that are currently carted into the Capitol each day, preventing investigators from having full access.
The subpoenas require the State Department to produce:
- All documents provided by the Department of State to the Accountability Review Board (“ARB” or “the ARB”) convened to examine the facts and circumstances surrounding the September 11-12, 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya.
- All documents and communications referring or relating to ARB interviews or meetings, including, but not limited to, notes or summaries prepared during and after any ARB interview or meeting.
- All documents that have been made available to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for in camera review, including, but not limited to, the approximately 25,000 pages of documents referenced in the March 29, 2013 letter from Acting Assistant Secretary Thomas B. Gibbons to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa.
The Oversight Committee previously subpoenaed the State Department for documents related to talking points prepared for Ambassador Susan Rice in advance of five appearances on Sunday Shows, where she told the American people that a demonstration against a Youtube video was the cause of the attacks on the compound in Benghazi. Top American officials on the ground in Libya later testified that they believed it was a terror attack from the beginning and never suspected a demonstration as the cause.