Washington (CNN) - The long-awaited House committee hearing on the Benghazi terror attacks featuring State Department whistle-blowers has started with statements from Rep. Elijah Cummings, of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the committee, and chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California. The whistle-blowers, Gregory Hicks, Mark Thompson and Eric Nordstrom, will brief the committee on what happened during the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack that killed four Americans. In the lead-up to the hearing, Republicans have said the State Department officials will tell the truth about what happened during the attack. Democrats say they have been frozen out of the investigation.
(CNN) – In an interview with congressional investigators, the former top diplomat in Libya expressed concern that more could have been done by the military on the night of September 11, 2012 and morning of September 12, 2012, to protect those being attacked at the U.S. compound and annex in Benghazi, Libya. Specifically, he wondered why the military did not send a plane as a show of force into Libyan airspace, and why four U.S. Special Operations soldiers were not permitted to travel to Benghazi on a Libyan plane the morning of September 12.FULL STORY
(CNN) – Greg Hicks, former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, told congressional investigators that the State Department internal review of the catastrophe at the mission in Benghazi "let people off the hook," CNN has learned.
The Accountability Review Board "report itself doesn’t really ascribe blame to any individual at all. The public report anyway," Hicks told investigators, according to transcript excerpts obtained by CNN. "It does let people off the hook."FULL STORY
(CNN) – A review board responsible for investigating the September attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya is now getting its own review.
The office of the State Department's inspector general is doing a special review of the "effectiveness and accountability" of the Accountability Review Board (ARB) process, according to Doug Welty, a spokesman for the IG's office.
(CNNMoney) - The State Department said Friday that the Keystone pipeline expansion should have no significant effect on the environment along its proposed route, but stopped short of saying whether or not the controversial pipeline should be approved.
If the company behind the pipeline, TransCanada, follows all the rules, its "construction and normal operation" of the pipeline should pose no major risks, the State Department said in its draft environmental impact statement. That statement is now open for a 45-day public comment period, after which the Obama administration will make its decision about the pipeline.FULL STORY
(CNN) - John Kerry's first international trip as secretary of state is right out of diplomatic "central casting" - at least the first half, designed to avoid diplomatic pitfalls. But that may end up being impossible.
The 11-day, nine-country sojourn - to England, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar - begins with a warm embrace for America's traditional European allies.FULL STORY
Washington (CNN) - John Kerry, the new secretary of state, jokingly calls himself a "recovering politician."
After 28 years in the Senate, he now finds himself "sort of walking a new line," as he says, not allowed to mix politics with international policy.FULL STORY
Washington (CNN) - Secretary of State John Kerry has asked his "old communicator and colleague," Jen Psaki, to be his chief spokeswoman, a senior agency official confirmed Wednesday.
Psaki is only in her 30s but she is an old hand at Democratic message-shaping. She worked with then-Senator Kerry on his 2004 presidential election bid and was President Barack Obama's deputy communications director.
(CNN) – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Sunday that lack of intelligence information and logistical challenges made it difficult to respond quickly to the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last year.
Panetta said the administration had no warning about the attack, despite requests for more security from U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens in the weeks leading up to the violence.