State Department to Issa: Yes, We'll Send Benghazi Documents--Again

“You wrote that changes to the talking points did not ‘resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership,’ " Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said. “You wrote that changes to the talking points did not ‘resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership,’ " Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said. Harry Hamburg/AP file photo

The State Department on Monday affirmed that it will continue working to meet House Republicans’ ongoing demands for documents relating to the agency’s handling of the September 2012 fatal attack on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya. 

In the latest request, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on Aug. 8 sent a letter to former State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland demanding her emails concerning the much-debated television “talking points” from the days following the attack that left four Americans—including Ambassador Chris Stevens—dead.

“You wrote that changes to the talking points did not ‘resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership,’ " Issa said in his letter. “Your email makes clear that department leadership shared concerns with you about the draft talking points. It is my hope and expectation that the documents I am requesting will identify those concerns, and whose concerns they were.”

Issa went on to describe as inadequate the State Department’s response in handing over 97 pages to comply with his May 28, 2013, subpoena, saying it failed to explain the email language. “The State Department continues to refuse to make the documents available that would clarify what aspects of the talking points your bosses were concerned about.”

In a statement emailed to Government Executive acknowledging receipt of Issa’s letter, a department spokesman said, “the 100 pages of emails on the talking points were publicly released months ago, but Chairman Issa still issued a subpoena on the topic, with which we fully complied. He continues to ask about the talking points and we will again work with him to address these issues.”

State has “demonstrated an unprecedented degree of cooperation with the Congress on the issue of Benghazi,” the statement continued. “Specifically, in support of the investigation, the State Department has participated in nearly 50 congressional hearings and briefings for members and staff, shared more than 25,000 pages of documents with committees, and made State Department employees available for interviews with the House Oversight committee.”

The spokesman reiterated that the facts surrounding the Benghazi incident were laid out to Congress and the public in the independent Accountability Review Board report, and that State is committed to implementing all 29 of the report’s recommendations. “Our diplomats continue to serve in dangerous places,” he continued. “People at the State Department are willing to step up and put themselves in harm’s way, and it is a disservice to them to politicize this issue.”

Issa gave State a deadline of Aug. 15. 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.