WASHINGTON — Two of the Justice Department's key witnesses in last year's terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, were summoned to Capitol Hill this month and grilled in separate legal depositions, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday, citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the matter.
Responding to congressional subpoenas, the State Department security agents were asked how the Libyan terrorists stormed the mission and set parts of it on fire, how they were armed and how they killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, the sources said. The agents also were asked about security breakdowns and whether the administration reacted appropriately to the Sept. 11, 2012, assault.
The interviews are part of a bitter dispute between two branches of the federal government. Prosecutors are under pressure to arrest and convict the terrorists, while the Republican-led House is determined to find out who was responsible for any lapse in security that night and whether the administration misled the public.
Weeks before the interviews, top Justice Department officials repeatedly warned Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., against doing so. The department expressed concern that Issa might reveal some details from the interviews or that defense lawyers could subpoena them if suspects are apprehended, according to the sources, who did not have permission to speak publicly, citing the ongoing investigation. At least one person has been named in a sealed indictment in the Benghazi attacks.