Issa issues subpoena for co-chair of Benghazi review board
May 17th, 2013
04:01 PM ET
2 years ago

Issa issues subpoena for co-chair of Benghazi review board

(CNN) – The ongoing dispute over how and where to debate the independent review of last September's attack in Benghazi continued Friday with the subpoena of the review board's co-chair to be deposed by congressional investigators.

Thomas Pickering, a former ambassador, has said he would prefer to testify in a public hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform rather than submit to a private interview, but the panel's chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, wants the meeting behind closed doors before any open session.

"While I am very much committed to having you testify publicly and appreciate your newfound willingness to do so, I was disappointed that you are attempting to limit the Committee's understanding of the Accountability Review Board by refusing to participate in a voluntary transcribed interview prior to testifying publicly," Issa wrote to Pickering on Friday.

"In light of your continuing refusal to appear voluntarily for a transcribed interview, however, I have found it necessary to issue a subpoena to compel your appearance at a deposition."

Republicans, including Issa, have questioned the Benghazi Accountability Review Board's findings on the attack last September at an American diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, which left four Americans dead.

The report, issued late last year, found "systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies" at the State Department in the lead-up to the attack in Benghazi. As a result, four State Department officials were disciplined immediately after the report's release. One resigned, while three others were placed on administrative leave and relieved of their duties.

But critics say the report did not go far enough, and did not include accounts from key witnesses to the attack who were on the ground as it happened.

The disparagement heated up earlier this month at a House Oversight Committee hearing featuring several witnesses who said they weren't interviewed by the review board.

Neither Pickering nor his co-chair, Admiral Mike Mullen, appeared at that hearing, leading to a bitter back-and-forth over whether they were invited to testify. The following weekend on NBC's "Meet the Press," Issa said he would request a deposition from Pickering and Mullen on how their panel reached its conclusions.

"Ultimately, if they got it right, we can put this issue to rest," Issa said. "We believe it was insufficient. We believe it's likely they did not interview all the people."

Pickering and Mullen responded to that request Wednesday, addressing a letter to Issa requesting a public hearing rather than a closed-door interview.

"The public deserves to hear your questions and our answers," they wrote.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the highest ranking Democrat on the oversight panel, wrote in a statement Friday that Issa's subpoena was a "stark example of extreme Republican overreach and the shameful politicization of this tragedy."


Filed under: Darrell Issa • Libya
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Malory Archer

    Thomas Pickering, a former ambassador, has said he would prefer to testify in a public hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform rather than submit to a private interview, but the panel's chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, wants the meeting behind closed doors before any open session.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Of course he does – so he can put the kibosh on Ambassador Pickering when he starts stating facts that don't mesh with the car thief's narrative.

    May 17, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    What a farce. This is nothing but theater from Issa. He's terrified of what Pickering would say in a public hearing. TERRIFIED. Pickering told him he'd testify at the last one...Issa refused. He's written Issa letters saying he should be allowed to testify publicly...that the public has a right to hear his testimony. Issa still refuses and then pretends that Pickering has been refusing to testify.

    The only reason he's doing it this way is so he can try to keep the transcript secret and release only carefully chosen out-of-context quotes from it...to selectively misrepresent whatever Pickering says. Then, maybe later, after the MSM runs with the selective quoting and misrepresentations, he'll hold a hearing at which Pickering testifies and he'll make a big show of confronting Pickering with those quotes and loudly tell Pickering to shut the hell up whenever Pickering tries to explain that he's being taken out of context etc.

    May 17, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. Wake up People!

    Come on Issa. Transparency dude!! Let the man testify in public!! What are you and that hateful klan of racists and bigots hiding??:

    May 17, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. sassysticks53

    Why does Issa want a closed door meeting? So Issa can tell a pack of lies after! The GOP are angry, bitter bigots and it shows! Idiots!

    May 17, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  5. Data Driven

    Interesting, no conservatives on THIS post. I wonder why.

    Speaking of posts, another great one, Sniffit. Reality bites, LOL!

    May 17, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. Jean2

    ISSA SHOULD BE INVESTIGATED!!
    What is his agenda?
    Wake up citizens – mwhat is he hidding behind??

    May 17, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Will the cherry-picked out-of-context deposition transcript quotes that Issa's aides "leak" be falsified like their notes on the emails were?

    You betcha.

    May 17, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. don in albuquerque

    Enough of this already. It has pretty much been proven that the only liars involved in this emit the GOTP stench. I understand Issa is one of the richest men in congress.....well, I think he should start footing the bill for this charade all by himself. I want an investigation into why the GOTP voted to cut spending for security to our embassies, and I want to see the emails doubtlessly received telling them how to vote. I want to know who in the GOTP doctored the white house emails and leaked them, and I want their names, and then I want to see them in prison-just like Boehner said. And I want a pony for Christmas.

    May 17, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. just sayin

    this is the proper way of doing it. that way pickering can't sleaze his way out of answering questions that might have secret information. he'll have no excuses whatsoever to keep from answering.

    May 17, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. Dmengel

    What about all the screams for transparency?

    May 17, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This guy seems like he doesn't understand a voluntary offer to speak to the committee.

    May 17, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  12. Joan

    What is Issa afraid of? So much for transparency. He's losing the battle on this one and he knows it and he is trying to pull out all the stops and try his best to keep important testimony from being public. Shameful.

    May 17, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Subpoena yourself Issa for impersonating a legislator.

    May 17, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. The Real Tom Paine

    -just sayin

    this is the proper way of doing it. that way pickering can't sleaze his way out of answering questions that might have secret information. he'll have no excuses whatsoever to keep from answering.
    ****************************
    By " sleaze his way out", you mean saying things in public that don't fit the narrative Issa wants. Just never post anything demanding transparency, because its clear that's not what you want.

    May 17, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. Mack

    Time to alter some more emails, Issa.

    May 17, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. Len

    The e-mails released to public this week tell the real story. Did you know that the committees had these e-mails back in Feb. Did you also know that the GOP turned around two of the e-mail statements to their advantage. They completed lied about the statements. That is why the White house released them to the public. Did you also know that this consulate was really a cover for the CIA outpost. My question: Why was Ambassador Stevens there in the first place? The Wall Street Journal reported several months ago that he meet with a Turkish diplomat.

    This has become a real farce. We should demand a hearing on the GOP members who misrepresented the e-mail quotes. And why are we not asking then CIA Director Petraus to testify again? If you have an answer please submit it.

    CNN please do not remove my post.

    May 17, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. just askin

    don't stop with pickering. subpoena hillary clinton, susan rice, valerie nuland, leon panetta, and everybody else that was involved that night. no need to subpoena obama. we know he didn't do anything to help save those people under attack. He just went to bed early so he would be well rested for his campaign fund raiser in las vegas the next day. priorities, priorities, priorities...

    May 17, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. Pander Bear

    Darrel Issa deserves a kick in the teeth.

    May 17, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    Issa doesn't want a public hearing? I thought he was after the TRUTH?

    Like all these GOP hacks, Issa's idea of the "truth" is only when it fits their hysterical, deluded narrative.

    Keep this in mind folks, come November 2014. We can put a stop to all this Repub nonsense by voting them all OUT!

    May 17, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    Will Issa burn the deposition transcripts like he did his inventory if he can't use it to hang Obama?

    May 17, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    @just sayin: "This is the proper way of doing it. that way pickering can't sleaze his way out of answering questions that might have secret information. he'll have no excuses whatsoever to keep from answering."

    Riiiiiight ... Issa wants to spin what Pickering says with anything public to contradict him. Issa is a fool – and you're an even greater fool to support him.

    May 17, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain

    Issa's a liar and a petty criminal ... can't change the stripes on this piece of fecal matter ...

    May 17, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. Bootstomper

    Issa is a thug plane and simple.

    May 17, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  24. rs

    "but the panel's chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, wants the meeting behind closed doors before any open session."
    _____________________________________
    That way, he can lie about it.

    May 17, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. PJ

    So, Ticker, where is your story on the letter to Boehner from Michael Needham of the Heritage Action for
    America, arm of the Heritage Foundation?
    They advise Republicans to "conduct oversight hearings" and "keep attention focused squarely on the
    Obama Administration". The letter is outrageous, saying, ask for more cuts to food stamps or say no
    to the Farm Bill.
    It is public because I just read it.
    That is why Issa is doing this, along with his other cohorts that are "Chairmen" of Committees.
    They should be tried for treason because they are certainly undermining the progress of America.
    SNIFITT, The Real Tom Paine, etc. help me understand this.

    May 17, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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