Issa demands more Benghazi documents from State
August 1st, 2013
08:01 PM ET
5 years ago

Issa demands more Benghazi documents from State

(CNN) - The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is again issuing subpoenas for State Department documents involving the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi last year.

But an adviser at the State Department said the latest demand is a head-scratcher.

Programming note: Was there a political cover up surrounding the Benghazi attack that killed four Americans? Watch a CNN special investigation — The Truth About Benghazi, Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET.

Chairman Darrell Issa, R-California, announced Thursday that his committee needs more documents produced during the Accountability Review Board's investigation of the terror attack that left four Americans dead, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

“After ignoring requests for months, the State Department has left no alternative but to issue subpoenas for documents relevant to our investigation,” Issa said in a statement. “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 review board’s report, issued late last year, found "systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies" at the State Department in the lead-up to the attack. 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.

Critics of the board’s independent review, however, say its report lacked key information and did not go deep enough into the investigation.

Read more: Lawmaker: If CNN can interview suspect in Benghazi attack, why can't FBI?

With renewed attention on Benghazi and the fact that none of the suspects have been captured or killed nearly a year later, Republicans are again increasing pressure on the Obama administration to provide answers about its response to the attack.

Issa and his committee want all the documents provided by the State Department, as well as all documents and communications the review board produced during its investigation.

The committee had already subpoenaed the State Department for 25,000 pages of documents. The department complied and has been bringing in the documents each day for the committee's review since January. Issa placed those same documents under the new subpoena, as well.

Alex Gerlach, communications adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry, released a statement Thursday night, saying the department "has worked in good faith to meet Chairman Issa's many demands."

"For seven months, we've offered and provided access to specific documents at his request. I'm scratching my head trying to ascertain what practical value yet another Issa subpoena has in protecting our diplomats," Gerlach said.

In March, the oversight committee subpoenaed the State Department for documents related to the controversial talking points used by then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on news shows days after the attack. She said at the time the violence originated from a spontaneous demonstration, but the administration later labeled it a terrorist attack.

- CNN’s Elise Labott and Jill Dougherty contributed to this report.

Filed under: Darrell Issa • Libya • State Department
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