MAY 29, 2013
The key congressional committee responsible for investigating government is taking Judicial Watch’s lead in the Benghazi scandal, this week issuing a subpoena for crucial State Department documents that could shed light on how the Obama administration lied to the public to omit mentioning al Qaeda involvement in the attack.
In the days and weeks following the September 11, 2012 attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, the administration blamed the incident on a rudimentary Internet video deemed offensive to Muslims. This outrageous and evidently false claim was repeated by both Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in multiple public statements and press interviews.
As it turns out, the original “speaking points” intelligence memo seems to suggest that officials believed from the outset that al Qaeda was behind the attack on the U.S. compound in Libya. The secret memo was first revealed by senior California Senator Dianne Feinstein in a network television interview weeks after the attack. “I think what happened was the director of intelligence…put out some speaking points on the initial intelligence assessment,” Feinstein said in the interview. “I think that was possibly a mistake.”
Judicial Watch immediately filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to obtain the original intelligence memo and other assessments, analyses or talking points involving the Libya attack. On October 19, 2012 the ODNI acknowledged receiving JW’s request and the agency was required by law to respond by November 26, 2012. Not surprisingly, JW has received nothing from the agency and was forced to file a lawsuit. JW has other lawsuits pending against the Obama administration involving Benghazi.
Now the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, California Congressman Darrell Issa, has followed JW’s lead by issuing a subpoena for the information. This was necessary because the State Department has refused multiple requests from the investigative committee to provide the communications and documents on a voluntary basis, according to a statement posted on the panel’s website.
“The State Department has not lived up to the administration’s broad and unambiguous promises of cooperation with Congress,” Issa writes in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry. “Therefore, I am left with no alternative but to compel the State Department to produce relevant documents through a subpoena.” He adds that the administration has “largely ignored” Benghazi document requests from his colleagues in Congress despite President Obama’s pledges to cooperate with the investigation.
Besides filing a dozen public-records requests with various federal agencies involving the terrorist attack in Libya, back in January JW published a special report featuring an in-depth analysis of Benghazi conducted by former State Department Security Special Agent Raymond Fournier. The report examines the critical time period leading up to the tragedy, when repeated requests for increased security were shunned by top State Department officials.
It also looks at the Obama administration’s official claim that “an obscure Internet video” triggered the attacks, as well as apparently false claims that four top State Department officials had resigned in response to the Department’s December 18 Accountability Review Board report on the attack. It also raises questions as to the internal problems within the Department that may continue to leave overseas diplomats without adequate security.
In short, Judicial Watch’s special Benghazi report concludes that the attack resulted from a wide range of strategic and tactical failures by State Department officials. Chief among them was the fateful decision to circumvent established security regulations by designating the diplomatic post in Benghazi a ‘Special Mission Compound,’ ignoring repeated requests for additional security resources by Diplomatic Security personnel on the ground and entrusting the security of the SMC [Special Mission Compound] to a local militia group with suspected ties to radical Islamists.
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