State tells House Oversight Committee to find a “more appropriate witness” than Kerry on Benghazi

posted at 12:41 pm on May 13, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

If Darrell Issa expected John Kerry to abide by a subpoena in the issue of e-mails withheld by the White House on Benghazi, the State Department wants to temper those expectations. Earlier today, spokesperson Jen Psaki offered a suggestion to the House Oversight Committee — find someone “more appropriate” for such testimony:

The State Department is doubling down on its opposition to Secretary of State John Kerry testifying on the deadly Benghazi attack, saying in a statement overnight that a congressional committee should find “a more appropriate witness.”

Kerry will be on a previously scheduled official trip to Mexico on May 21, the day the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subpoenaed him to testify, State spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in the statement.

Psaki said State Department officials had been in touch with the committee to “determine how to resolve their subpoena,” but she stopped short of confirming that Kerry would ever appear at a hearing related to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, which predated his time in office.

The militant attack on a U.S. consulate and nearby CIA annex killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American personnel. An independent review panel found that the State Department had ignored requests for more guards and security upgrades and had become too reliant on local militias for security. The State Department has since participated in several congressional hearings and released thousands of documents in response to queries about its response that night.

“Given the pressing foreign affairs issues that the secretary is actively engaged on and the committee’s focus on document production issues, we would like to explore whether there are better means of addressing the committee’s interests, including through a more appropriate witness,” Psaki’s statement said.

That’s diplomatic speak for: Enough already. Find somebody else to testify.

Good luck with that. The reason why Oversight subpoenaed Kerry was that the Obama administration has been hiding documents related to Benghazi, a fact that emerged a couple of weeks ago. That obstruction apparently includes State, which has supplied “thousands of documents,” but with significant redactions and now clearly some gaps in their compliance. Kerry has responsibility for State, and Congress has legitimate responsibilities for oversight and accountability.

Still, the obvious question can’t be avoided. What difference at this point does this make? Once the Select Committee takes over the investigation, Oversight will have to move on to other issues — probably the IRS scandal. That’s why this little snub from Psaki makes little sense, politically speaking, except momentary self-satisfaction by the Obama administration. State could have just played out the string and waited for Trey Gowdy to start his probe, and then moot the entire controversy by providing full disclosure of documents withheld or redacted in earlier investigations.

Until now, State has played it cool. With Leon Panetta and Mike Morell weighing in with support for the select committee, maybe they should have stuck with that strategy.


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The Obama Administration: Teenage Mutant Ninja Socialists

Roy Rogers on May 13, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Hillary
Panetta
Ham
Petraeus
obama himself

Kerry is just a talking horse.

Schadenfreude on May 13, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Isn’t Jen our hash tag warrior? So brave!

butch on May 13, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Hillary!!!

(May be the only time in my life I type her name followed by exclamation points.)

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 13, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Fine. Haul Hillary up before the House Oversight Committee. You can’t get more appropriate than that.

HotAirian on May 13, 2014 at 12:49 PM

It blows my mind that a derp-queen like Psaki who was basically nobody other than a lie-peddler with a ‘communications degree’ during the elections in 2008/2012, is now in the spokesman for State? This is the best America can muster? Even though I’m only 30, I long for some surly old (and perhaps extremely experienced in foreign policy) man to be the spokesman… but then I realize this is just my ‘privilege’ talking :(

nullrouted on May 13, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Find a more Appropriate Witness….

..like one of the State Department janitors…

Welcome to the Family Circus Cartoon Administration…

..the question of Who Did this, with Clouds above
the kids…”Not ME”

Oh, and Eleanor (he died of Smoke inhalation) Clift will be
available, if needed…

This Country is now a National Joke….

ToddPA on May 13, 2014 at 12:50 PM

To expand on my previous statement, I just don’t know how anyone expects her to be taken seriously on the world stage. She has no policy experience other than LW talking points… too young, too bitchy, there’s really nothing good about her.

nullrouted on May 13, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Idiots

cmsinaz on May 13, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Subpoena Hillary’s Brain!

Brat on May 13, 2014 at 12:51 PM

Responding to a Congressional subpoena is for the little people, dolts!

Wanderlust on May 13, 2014 at 12:53 PM

The militant Al Qaeda-affiliated attack on a U.S. consulate and nearby CIA annex killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American personnel. An independent review panel found that the State Department had ignored requests for more guards and security upgrades and had become too reliant on local militias for security. The State Department has since participated in several congressional hearings and released thousands of documents in response to queries about its response that night, although critics are quick to point out that most of those documents were too heavily redacted to perform a useful investigation.

De-editorialized, for your enjoyment.

crrr6 on May 13, 2014 at 12:53 PM

It blows my mind that a derp-queen like Psaki who was basically nobody other than a lie-peddler with a ‘communications degree’ during the elections in 2008/2012, is now in the spokesman for State? This is the best America can muster? Even though I’m only 30, I long for some surly old (and perhaps extremely experienced in foreign policy) man to be the spokesman… but then I realize this is just my ‘privilege’ talking :(

nullrouted on May 13, 2014 at 12:49 PM

With Democrats, it’s not who you know, it’s who you blow…so you shouldn’t be surprised at ms. brave hashtag warrior.

Wanderlust on May 13, 2014 at 12:55 PM

They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

He had no trouble testifying then.

Sven on May 13, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Call Hillary.

Philly on May 13, 2014 at 12:55 PM

nullrouted on May 13, 2014 at 12:49 PM

That’s what Victoria Nuland was doing before she was promoted after Benghazi and was able to issue her famous Fu*k the EU diplomatic statement heard ’round the world after the rooskis tapped her phone and sent it global. Go ahead and take a shot at it. Can you make a hash tag? Can you lie under pressure?

butch on May 13, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Who cares about subpoenas anymore? Boehner already said he isn’t arresting Lerner who is in contempt of Congress…. why would the White House honor any subpoena? They should just ignore them. There won’t be any consequences.

chuckfinlay on May 13, 2014 at 12:57 PM

W a t e r g a t e was cracked with perjury traps.

The more people sworn under oath, the quicker Benghazi and IRS will be “solved.”

mjbrooks3 on May 13, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Kerry would think nothing of outright lying.

Lee Jan on May 13, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Gowdy must have cracked the safe where they’ve stashed those CIA guys who were on the ground. I can’t believe Pelosi is just going to let that happen without smearing feces on the walls.

butch on May 13, 2014 at 1:02 PM

The state department has no such authority.

ConstantineXI on May 13, 2014 at 1:03 PM

I guess that Kerry statement that he will cooperate is a lie as well. Just like his military papers are open for review at his campaign headquarters, yet they weren’t. Lying coward, show us your purple heart scars buddy.

rjoco1 on May 13, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Ed, you seem under the impression the this administration will comply with the Select Committee, unlike they did with the other “legitimate” investigating committees. Democrats are calling the Select committee “illegitimate” for a reason. This is a phony scandal after all.

If Gowdy starts putting IT guys under oath like he said he would, this administration will suddenly find that they can get along just fine without an IT department and fire em all.

Mord on May 13, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Well Hillary! is brain damaged.

That’s why this little snub from Psaki makes little sense, politically speaking, except momentary self-satisfaction by the Obama administration.

It’s the petulant teenager administration.

rbj on May 13, 2014 at 1:14 PM

3a.m. call

Schadenfreude on May 13, 2014 at 1:19 PM

W a t e r g a t e was cracked with perjury traps.

The more people sworn under oath, the quicker Benghazi and IRS will be “solved.”

mjbrooks3 on May 13, 2014 at 12:58 PM

That is why Kerry will never appear at any hearing under oath. He wants to keep his Presidential options open and a perjury charge will finish him.

Hillary got away with dodging the testify under oath bullet and testified in an open non-sworn hearing. That was blamed on her alleged fall and the fact that by the time she was out of the hospital and done recuperating at home she was on the way out the door.

Johnnyreb on May 13, 2014 at 1:20 PM

First, how about appointing someone more ‘Appropriate’ as Secretary of State?!?

mouell on May 13, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Even though I’m only 30, I long for some surly old (and perhaps extremely experienced in foreign policy) man to be the spokesman… but then I realize this is just my ‘privilege’ talking :(

nullrouted on May 13, 2014 at 12:49 PM

I can identify but it would be interesting to know what you consider old.

crankyoldlady on May 13, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Kerry is just a talking horse.

Schadenfreude on May 13, 2014 at 12:47 PM

.
I thought it was stalking hor… oh, I get it.

ExpressoBold on May 13, 2014 at 1:23 PM

If Gowdy starts putting IT guys under oath like he said he would, this administration will suddenly find that they can get along just fine without an IT department and fire em all.

Mord on May 13, 2014 at 1:07 PM

That sounds like a smart play to me, us IT guys always know where the skeletons are buried, and we usually have root access as well, we also know plenty we’re not supposed to — like how much everyone at the company makes, trade secrets, you-name-it.

nullrouted on May 13, 2014 at 1:24 PM

I can identify but it would be interesting to know what you consider old.

crankyoldlady on May 13, 2014 at 1:23 PM

I’d settle for 45 as a minimum. Old wasn’t meant to be pejorative in my comment, it was meant to convey experience and wisdom rather than some young, inexperienced girl, shooting her mouth off on Twitter.

nullrouted on May 13, 2014 at 1:25 PM

I’d settle for 45 as a minimum. Old wasn’t meant to be pejorative in my comment, it was meant to convey experience and wisdom rather than some young, inexperienced girl, shooting her mouth off on Twitter.

nullrouted on May 13, 2014 at 1:25 PM

I get that and I’m glad to see a young person interested in what’s going on in the world.

crankyoldlady on May 13, 2014 at 1:29 PM

And that’s Jeb Bush’s problem. He’s antagonized the base on hot-button issues such as immigration and the Common Core curriculum, without trying to persuade anyone he’s conservative enough. He even presented Clinton with an award on the eve of the first anniversary of the Benghazi attack.

Schadenfreude on May 13, 2014 at 1:40 PM

#Findsomeoneelsetotestify

LetsBfrank on May 13, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Don’t forget

Schadenfreude on May 13, 2014 at 1:53 PM

Lurch……

Bwahahahahahahaha

A lugubrious faux patrician…..He loves the empire and serves it enthusiastically. Yes indeed. We had to support al-Qaeda-affiliated rebels in Libya because al-Qaeda attacked us on 9/11.

Bwahahahahahahaha

So what really happened….Jeebus….. the gubrmint wanted to avoid the political costs of another terrorist attack on American interests that was only made possible because of the U.S.-NATO bombing war in Libya aimed at toppling the Gadhafi regime. The decision to change the regime in Libya and excite the civil war had long-ranging consequences, from destabilizing the entire north African region to bolstering the presence and influence of al-Qaeda affiliated groups.

Benghazi was blowback. Is it any wonder the Obama administration tried to cover it up? No. But what is amazing is that Republicans are so allergic to acknowledging blowback as a phenomenon that it has barely entered the debate.

roflmmfao

donabernathy on May 13, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Why don’t the pansies subpoena Obama already?

Stop beating around the bush. We all know what this is about.

everdiso on May 13, 2014 at 2:05 PM

#Lawlessness
#ScrewOversight
#WeDontNeedNoStinkinBadges

jukin3 on May 13, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Check out Trey Gowdy’s questions for the media:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5i4tuuy1jsw

onlineanalyst on May 13, 2014 at 2:21 PM

You can choose Kerry who wont say anything or choose someone more appropriate which I think means anyone who doesn’t know anything.
Sanitary jerk off.

Tard on May 13, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Check out Trey Gowdy’s questions for the media:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5i4tuuy1jsw

onlineanalyst on May 13, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Thank you. I hadn’t heard that.

crankyoldlady on May 13, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Psaki. Is she the red head with the dead eyes or the bouncy blonde with the Mr. Magoo glasses? Hilary sure does like variety in her gals, didn’t she?

ctmom on May 13, 2014 at 3:01 PM

That sounds like a smart play to me, us IT guys always know where the skeletons are buried, and we usually have root access as well, we also know plenty we’re not supposed to — like how much everyone at the company makes, trade secrets, you-name-it.

nullrouted on May 13, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Gowdy is no fool, though he constantly tries to downplay his experience and intelligence every chance he gets a chance (using liberal’s own prejudices against them) by saying “I’m just a dumb hick prosecutor”.

I doubt that IT guys in the positions that we are talking about have access to any content, though. He just wants them under oath saying that “these are all the documents that came up when I searched for XXXX” because the Administration has been “less than truthful” about these matters.

Mord on May 13, 2014 at 3:10 PM

Spokeshole Jen Psaki is apparently begging to see what happens when you ignore a Congressional subpoena. Or perhaps in typical Obamanation Administration procedure, she’s just lying.

oscarwilde on May 13, 2014 at 3:19 PM


ctmom on May 13, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Red head—dead eyes.

dirtseller on May 13, 2014 at 3:52 PM

. . .
Kerry is just a talking horse.

Schadenfreude on May 13, 2014 at 12:47 PM

It’s always about the cover up. And Kerry obviously participated at least in part in the continuance of the cover up — either knowingly or via willful ignorance — until they ALL blinked (especially the WH & State) when the federal judge ordered them to comply with the FOIA request from Judicial Watch.

Any incoming Administrator or Sec’y worth his or her salt would demand a detailed internal review of ongoing controversies upon taking office. And, he or she would want to have his or her own people give the new head their read on each one of those possible pitfalls. He would not have relied on Hillary’s minions, who would most likely have self-preservation guiding whatever they might say to him.

Plus, if you are taking over a position from someone as fiercely partisan as Hillary, you would want to be doubly sure you are not being set up for a major controversy or possibly a fall as a result of failing to be up to speed right from the beginning.

As a result, Kerry could actually be an important witness.

Putting him under oath and asking the right types of questions could loosen up some previously buried information. Even asking why he “reorganized” certain offices, or possibly changed the way information flows to him at the top, could give investigators insight into where certain bombs could have been buried,and might still be interred.

Trochilus on May 13, 2014 at 4:59 PM

Everytime i see Kerry interviewed on TV or listen to him on radio, I get down on my knees and thank the good lord that it is not President Kerry. I had issues with President Bush, but can you imagine Kerry after 9-11? How can any foreign entity (friend or foe) even look at him, Obama, Rice , Hagel and take the US seriously? The world is going to hell and all we get is Thurston Howell III and hashtag diplomacy. It’s Bambi vs. Godzilla.

warmairfan on May 13, 2014 at 5:47 PM

Ed, Ed, Ed, how is it possible that you got through this entire post without mentioning She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed.

This one is so obvious even Jazz Shaw could figure it out.

First we had Panetta and Morell throwing State under the bus, and squeezing Pelosi’s nuts in the bargain. Now we have State throwing itself under the bus, or rather a previous version of itself, i.e. the Hillary State Department. They couldn’t have been clearer if they had burnt Hillary in effigy at Foggy Bottom.

There is no way Kerry is going to let his legacy be “tarnished”, at least in his own mind, with Benghazi. Didn’t happen on his watch. Not his problem. Call in the old boss. Leave him alone to save the Jews from themselves or something.

Let’s face it. Everyone hates Hillary, including her own party. She’s always the front runner until someone better comes along. You think Kerry is done running for President? Hah. He’s as likely as anyone to run in 2016, and he needs Benghazi hanging around his neck like he needs another Vietnam medal.

Now that this thing is out in the open they are going to toss her to the wolves. Rove is helping by spreading the rumors of ill health. He’s the perfect messenger because he’s not credible. People will attack him and dismiss him, but the word will get out, and Hillary will get the message that next time the information won’t come from a flawed messenger.

No one except a rabid coterie of Clinton partisans wants another Clinton Presidency. Her own party will take her out in 2016 like they did in 2008, if she doesn’t get the message and stay down.

Joseph K on May 13, 2014 at 6:12 PM

Darrell Issa to Jen Pasaki:

Show up on Tuesday at 8AM to testify before the Oversight Committee. Bring your toothbrush and jammies, because you won’t be going home.

Well, I can dream, can’t I?

wagnert in atlanta on May 14, 2014 at 8:49 PM

#Can’tWeAllJustGetAlong?
#StopBullyingTheSOS
#MexicanYachtClub
#MexicanKayakingClub
#YouRang?

funkengruven on May 15, 2014 at 8:35 AM