Ever since the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, the Obama administration has been stalling, obfuscating and outright lying in order to avoid taking responsibility for the deaths of four Americans, including our ambassador. To a considerable degree, they have gotten away with that strategy. But Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has stepped into the breach. Issa’s committee has been approached by whistle-blowers within the State Department, and the stories they tell about the department’s malfeasance are shocking. Today Issa wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, outlining information his committee has received and announcing his intention to hold hearings on what happened in Benghazi:
Based on information provided to the Committee by individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya, the attack that claimed the Ambassador’s life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to September 11, 2012. It was clearly never, as Administration officials once insisted, the result of a popular protest. In addition, multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed to the Committee that, prior to the September 11 attack, the U.S. mission made repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi. The mission in Libya, however, was denied these resources by officials in Washington.
This is, obviously, a bombshell. Issa goes on to itemize no fewer than 13 attacks and other incidents involving diplomatic personnel in Libya, including at least two attacks on the consulate in Benghazi. Perhaps the most chilling of these incidents was the following:
Ambassador Stevens was in the habit of taking early-morning runs around Tripoli along with members of his security detail. According to sources, sometime in June 2012, a posting on a pro-Gaddafi Facebook page trumpeted these runs and directed a threat against Ambassador Stevens along with a stock photo of him. It is reported that, after stopping these morning runs for about a week, the Ambassador resumed them.
Issa’s letter concludes with a series of questions directed to Secretary Clinton, relating to the Department’s knowledge of the itemized incidents and the security measures that were taken or not taken. Issa requests responses by December 8, and says that his committee will convene a hearing on the attack on October 10.
Secretary Clinton replied this afternoon in a conciliatory fashion, but she made no promise to provide information to Issa’s committee, which the Obama administration has stonewalled in the past. She referred to the State Department’s own investigation; this was the most salient point in her letter:
Clinton asked Issa to withhold any final conclusions about the Benghazi attack until the review board finishes its work and reports to Congress, which could come as early as November or as late as early next year.
Here is a hint: there won’t be any report until after the election.