Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

House Republicans push ahead with Benghazi investigation

An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012.

STR/AFP/GettyImages

An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012.

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans pushed ahead Monday with their investigation of the deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, last year.

The latest Republican focus is the independent review that slammed the State Department for inadequate security at the installation before the twin nighttime attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans on Sept. 11, 2012.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, asked the two authors of the investigation — veteran diplomat Thomas Pickering and retired Adm. Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — to meet privately with committee staff to answer questions about their review. Democrats countered that if Congress wants to talk to them, Issa should hold a full open hearing.

Republicans insist that the Obama administration misled Congress and the American people in the immediate aftermath of the attack, trying to play down an act of terrorism that would reflect poorly on Obama weeks before the 2012 presidential campaign.

Emails disclosed Friday showed that State Department and other senior administration officials pushed for references to prior warnings and al-Qaida to be deleted from the talking points used by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice five days after the attack. One email suggested that Congress could use those issues as ammunition against the State Department.

Issa wants to hear from Pickering and Mullen about their investigation and he asked that they turn documents, communications, lists of witnesses, notes and other material by Friday.

He pointed to the testimony of three State Department witnesses last week who criticized the Accountability Review Board's work as incomplete and flawed.

"The White House and the State Department have touted the ARB's report as the definitive account of how and why the Benghazi attacks occurred," Issa said in separate letters to Pickering and Mullen. "It is necessary for the committee to understand whether the criticisms of the ARB's work that we heard from witnesses on May 8, 2013 are valid."

But the top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, told Issa that he should bypass private depositions from the two men and go directly to an open hearing on May 22. Issa said to Pickering and Mullen that they would work out a hearing for their public testimony at a later date.

Their blistering report found that "systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels" of the State Department meant that security was "inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place." They absolved former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, faulting lower level State Department officials.

Four State Department officials were reassigned or resigned in the wake of the Pickering-Mullen report.

"We knew where the responsibility rested," Pickering, a career Foreign Service officer who has worked for Republican and Democratic administrations, said Sunday.

House Republicans push ahead with Benghazi investigation 05/13/13 [Last modified: Monday, May 13, 2013 11:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting

    Blogs

    The Rays are looking to keep rolling when they make a quick turnaround after Friday's win over the Twins and are back on the field for a matinee today, 2:10 first pitch Tampa Bay time.

    RHP Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays, coming off a good but not great start against the Angels, though buoyed …

  2. Global computer outage grounds British flights

    Airlines

    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports Saturday as a global IT failure caused severe disruption for travelers on a busy holiday weekend.

    British Airways planes are parked at Heathrow Airport in January. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)
  3. Road rage incident leaves uninvolved man, 52, with critical injuries in Pinellas Park

    Accidents

    PINELLAS PARK — A 52-year-old man was critically injured after an apparent road rage incident that shut down the area of a U.S. 19 overpass for nearly six hours on Friday, police said.

    Pinellas Park police say a man has critical injuries after a truck involved in a road rage incident slammed into him after he cut off another vehicle. (Pinellas Park Police Department)
  4. Britain lowers terror threat level to 'severe' as more arrested

    World

    MANCHESTER, England — Britain reduced its terrorism threat level a notch, from "critical" to "severe," as authorities said major progress has been made in unravelling the plot behind the Manchester bombing. More arrests are expected.

    An army bomb disposal team works with members of the police in the Moss Side area of Manchester, England, on Saturday. British police say they are evacuating residents around a house being searched in connection with the Manchester concert bombing. Police are searching a number of properties and have 11 suspects in custody in connection with Monday's explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, which killed more than 20 people and injured dozens. (Jonathan Brady/PA via AP)
  5. Miami pollster Sergio Bendixen dies

    Blogs

    Sergio Bendixen, the first Hispanic to run a U.S. presidential campaign who later pioneered public-opinion polling among Latinos and other immigrant populations, died late Friday in Miami. He was 68.

    Sergio Bendixen.