Issa Issues Benghazi Subpoenas to State Department

Tuesday, 25 Jun 2013 12:22 PM
By Sandy Fitzgerald

Four State Department officials have been subpoenaed in the ongoing investigation into last year's terror attack on the Benghazi diplomatic post, with Rep. Darrell Issa saying the department was stalling on allowing them to be interviewed.

Issa, chairman of the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee, identified the four officials as Eric Boswell, who was assistant secretary at the Bureau of Diplomatic Security; Scott Bultrowicz, director of the Diplomatic Security service; Elizabeth Dibble, former principal deputy assistant secretary at the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs; and her boss, Elizabeth Jones, the bureau’s acting assistant secretary, reports The Washington Times.

The attacks, which occurred last Sept. 11, killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, and Republicans have accused the Obama administration of playing down terrorism while the president was seeking re-election and of misleading the public about the cause of the attack, The Washington Post reports.

On Monday, Issa, a California Republican, said the four officials had been leaders of offices that a State Department Accountability Review Board report found contributed to a lack of security at the embassy, and identified them as failing to show leadership.

The board said State Department officials in Washington allowed the Benghazi facility, which was considered temporary, to continue to be occupied even though it didn't meet security standards, and then ignored pleas from diplomats for additional security.

The four officials subpoenaed Monday were identified by name in the report. Since failure to show leadership is not a disciplinary offense, they remain employed, but three do not hold their former senior-level posts.

Issa said in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry that his efforts since April 29 to arrange interviews with the four officials and others have not worked out, and his investigators have only been able to talk with one out of 13 people he had requested to interview.

"That meeting was arranged without the State Department's help," Issa said in the letter. "These persistent delays create the appearance that the department is dragging its feet to slow down the committee’s investigation. It does not require weeks of preparation to answer questions truthfully."

Issa said the subpoenas shouldn't be taken to mean the witnesses are being uncooperative.

"In this case, that is an unfortunate and misleading consequence since it is the department, and not the individuals themselves, that appears to be dictating the timetable," Issa said in his letter to Kerry.

Investigators have already arranged voluntary interviews with the review board's two chairs, retired diplomat Ambassador Thomas Pickering and retired Adm. Michael Mullin, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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