Issa issues subpoena for co-chair of Benghazi review board
May 17th, 2013
04:01 PM ET
9 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. rs

    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.
    Issa and friends have no credibility. They made up quotes, took WH e-mails out of context, expanded timelines- in general, they lied. Pickering will have him for lunch.

    May 17, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    Stop this Benghazi idiotic thing...

    May 17, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. The Real Tom Paine

    -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...
    Please do, you will be digging your own graves.

    May 17, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. Independent

    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??:

    When you have nothing else to say and when all else fails, call them racist!!! Idiot!!!

    May 17, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  5. Independent

    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.
    Goes both ways buddy, Obama obviously has not been so why should the right??? Hypocrites!!!!

    May 17, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  6. Lisa P.

    Excellent! The investigation that actually was looking to solve problems needs a lot more publicity - the investigation that's about scoring cheap political points has been sucking up too much air (can you believe that some people think an e-mail discussion of talking points killed 4 Americans? No, seriously!). Let Rep. Issa have his secret hearing if it makes him feel important - it will only make Amb. Pickering and Adm. Mullins that much more newsworthy. The networks will be fighting to have them on, and Issa's nonsense will be shown for what it is when compared to the valuable work of the ARB.

    May 17, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. Wake up People!


    Considering these are the same klan of people that are still searching for the duly elected POTUS's birth certificate, still calling him a secret Muslim, it's safe to say they ARE racists.

    The only idiots are the people that actually believe the make believe stories of the GOP.
    I can't wait for the truth to come out. The REAL TRUTH.

    May 17, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    PICKERING has been saying for weeks he wants to testify.

    WHY did Issa say "because you have refused to testify, this subpoena is ordering you to attend a private hearing" ...... blah blah. (Not an exact quote).

    WHY is Issa saying he has refused to testify when every station in the world has him on video for weeks saying he wanted to testify and Issa won't let him.

    Thank God Pickering has the sense to take an attorney with him. I'm sure Issa will not tell us the truth. It will be a royal badgering in private.

    And why will Issa not call Petraeus, the head of CIA at the time? Or Admiral Mullen? Is Issa afraid of the truth from them?

    May 17, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. GI Joe

    Vote next year, people, and you KNOW who NOT to vote for.

    May 17, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  10. roro

    Who does Issa think he's kidding? He's afraid what Pickering will say, so he wants to do it in private. He wants all the accusations, misinformation, and mudslinging to be in public, but not Pickering's testimony. This reeks of fear and stinks to high heaven. Do it ALL in public! And the amazing gall of Rumsfeld and Cheney accusing this administration of trying to make so-called facts fit their agendas is a bad joke. I have just two words for them – WMDs and Iraq. One more thing – I just learned that a general offered more security to Chris Stevens, and he TURNED IT DOWN TWICE.

    May 17, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
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