Issa to CIA: Get your lawyers ready on Benghazi
posted at 8:31 am on April 18, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
Suddenly, it seems that the terror attack on our consulate in Benghazi last September may become relevant all over again. Yesterday afternoon, CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson reported that a number of whistleblowers had emerged to talk to the House Oversight Committee, in news that may have slipped under the radar of other emerging (and non-emerging) developments in the Boston Marathon attack story:
CBS News has learned that multiple new whistleblowers are privately speaking to investigators with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee regarding the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attacks on the U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya.
The nature of the communications with the whistleblowers and their identities are not being made public at this time. But in response, the Oversight Committee yesterday sent letters to the three federal agencies involved: the CIA, the Defense Department and the State Department.
What stories do these new witnesses have to tell? Apparently nothing too complimentary. Otherwise, Oversight Chair Darrell Issa probably wouldn’t need to remind the CIA to refrain from retaliation against these whistleblowers — or warn the agency to get their lawyers on standby (via Instapundit):
“During the course of the investigation, numerous individuals have approached the committee with information related to the attack,” wrote Issa in the letters, which were obtained by The Hill.
He asked agencies to provide details on how to grant outside attorneys the security clearances necessary for them to adequately represent employees discussing classified matters with congressional investigators.
“Some witnesses may be required to retain personal counsel to represent them before the committee and in the event the agency subsequently retaliates against them for cooperating with the committee’s investigation,” he said.
“Additional witnesses may be compelled by subpoena to give testimony to the committee and can be reasonably expected to retain personal counsel at that time.”
Ever since the initial probe stalled a few months ago, many have wondered why the administration hasn’t made the survivors of that night available to House investigators. Some have also wondered why those survivors haven’t come forward on their own, but if they still work in intelligence agencies, they may not have been allowed to do so. These new whistleblowers may or may not be the Benghazi survivors, but clearly they’re coming from within the intel community — and Issa’s letter strongly suggest that they are pointing fingers upstairs.
Four Americans were killed in that attack, and the US was forced to publicly retreat from an area we had claimed to have help liberate and safeguard. That defeat raises a lot of questions about US actions before, during, and after the attack on the consulate, and perhaps some of those questions will finally get answered in the next few weeks.