Co-chair of Benghazi review agrees to congressional interview
May 22nd, 2013
03:44 PM ET
11 months ago

Co-chair of Benghazi review agrees to congressional interview

(CNN) – After a war of words – and a subpoena – the co-chair of a review board that investigated last September's attack in Benghazi, Libya, has agreed to be interviewed privately by congressional investigators.

Thomas Pickering, a former ambassador, will voluntarily appear for a transcribed interview conducted by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the panel's chairman said Wednesday. It's the latest development in the dispute over how and where to examine the review board's report, which Republicans regard as inadequate.

"I appreciate his decision to cooperate on a voluntary basis with our Committee's investigation of the Benghazi attack," Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican, wrote in a statement. "Our investigation includes an examination of criticisms career State Department officials have made about the [Accountability Review Board] report being 'incomplete' and letting senior officials 'off the hook.'"

Pickering said previously he would prefer to testify in a public hearing of the House Oversight Committee rather than submit to a private interview, but Issa demanded the meeting behind closed doors before any open session. After Pickering refused to be privately interviewed, Issa issued a subpoena for the former ambassador.

Republicans, including Issa, have questioned the Benghazi Accountability Review Board's findings on the attack last September at an American diplomatic post in Benghazi, 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."


Filed under: Darrell Issa • Libya
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. jinx9to88

    GOP did you forget that 13 embassy attacks were committed during Bush years? GOP bloggers are so misinformed its hilarious.

    May 22, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "the truth of the matter is that neither pickering nor mullen were qualified to perform any sort of investigation into this fiasco. "

    Riiight...lifelong diplomatic service member and the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. It's like the stupid comes out of your bum on a ticker-tape...almost like dental floss from a dog's butthole after eating from the garbage...and you just mindlessly read from the tickertape.

    May 22, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Soooo, when will all this witchhunt overreach result in progressing from the saying being "it's not the scandal that gets ya, it's the cover up" to "it's not the cover up that gets you, it's the attempt to fabricate that there was one"?

    May 22, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  4. gwiz

    how can these repugs call themselves americans. there have been 3 attacks on embassies during bams 5 years compared with 28 during bushes first four and another 10 during his second clinton had 12 attacks during his whole term bush senior 91 attacks and reagan over 400 attacks on us embassies anybody see a trend the repugs have caused more embassy deaths than anybody else where were these guys when a carbomb was driven into the us embassy in lebanon oh thats right this country wasMOURNING the loss.almost immediatly after this happened repugs couldnt wait to pounce not even to days and they were blaming the administration. when CONGRESS were the ones who hacked 30 million dollars out of embassy protection. way to go repugs looks like your the ones to blame maybe you should make that public knowledge.

    May 22, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    He's been volunteering all over TV for two weeks - and Issa says he is subpoenaing him against his will. ha hahaha ha

    May 22, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  6. just askin

    Sniffit
    "the truth of the matter is that neither pickering nor mullen were qualified to perform any sort of investigation into this fiasco. "
    Riiight...lifelong diplomatic service member and the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
    ----–

    again, absolutely no qualifications to perform investigative work. totally unqualifed, don't know the methods and techniques of investigating. so by your measure these people could simply slide into the job of a prosecutor or of a police detective? you are totally absurd.

    May 22, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    gwiz

    how can these repugs call themselves americans.
    --------–

    Well, to be fair ... they DO have flags they fly; flags they wear; and flags they wave. That's gotta count for
    something ... yes?

    May 22, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  8. jinx9to88

    Under Obama there have been 2 embassy attacks and 4 deaths. Under Bush there were 11 embassy attacks and 52 deaths. Google it Issa!!!

    May 22, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "totally unqualifed, don't know the methods and techniques of investigating"

    LOL! But you do...and you have such a detailed working knowledge and such familiarity with both said techniques and both Pickering's and Mullen's "qualifications" that you're able to make this assessment all by yourself? You...who isn't qualified to be a greeter at Walmart?

    May 22, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  10. Ben Wilhite

    How many people died in this attack, on us soil? Because of a video? Before a presidential election? Please put your partisanship aside. We are so divided we are blind.

    May 22, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
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