Skip to comments.THE NECESSITY OF TESTIMONY FROM SEC. OF STATE JOHN KERRY TO EXPLAIN HIS DEPARTMENT'S FAILURE TO...
Posted on 05/22/2014 8:48:26 PM PDT by smoothsailing
(Extensions of Remarks - May 21, 2014)
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[Extensions of Remarks]
THE NECESSITY OF TESTIMONY FROM SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY TO EXPLAIN HIS DEPARTMENT'S FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH A CONGRESSIONAL SUBPOENA
HON. DARRELL E. ISSA
in the house of representatives
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Mr. ISSA. Mr. Speaker, as the House's Select Committee on Benghazi stands up and takes ownership of an investigation that has been conducted jointly by standing committees since the fall of 2012, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee has, with your support, one final bit of business scheduled for May 29: subpoenaed testimony from Secretary of State John Kerry about his Department's failure to produce critical documents subject to a lawful subpoena.
On April 17, 2014, the State Department sent a letter informing the Committee that it was producing previously unreleased e-mails subject to prior requests and subpoenas. In this letter the State Department acknowledged that these documents were responsive to a September 20, 2012, request and an August 1, 2013, subpoena. These subpoenaed documents had been willfully withheld from the Committee and were only turned over after a federal judge ruled against the administration's efforts to block a Freedom of Information Act request from the organization Judicial Watch.
One e-mail in this production showed that White House official Ben Rhodes coordinated talking points for then Ambassador Susan Rice, encouraging an emphasis that the attack was ``rooted in an Internet video, and not a failure of policy.'' This exposed false White House claims that inaccurate statements made by then Ambassador Susan Rice on national television were solely the product of bad information from the intelligence community even though the intelligence community talkers made no reference to an Internet video.
Undaunted, earlier this month, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney argued at a White House press briefing that the Internet video reference in the Ben Rhodes' e-mail was the result of a, ``connection between the protests in Cairo and what happened in Benghazi, that's drawn directly from talking points produced by the intelligence community, as testified to by the deputy director of the CIA on multiple occasions.''
New evidence obtained by the Oversight Committee, however, contradicts this explanation. An e-mail sent at 9:11 pm eastern time on September 11, 2012, (3:11 am September 12 in Libya) to the Diplomatic Security Command Center under the subject line ``Update on response actions--Libya'' recounts items discussed in a Secure Video Teleconference attended by senior Administration officials. Among the items noted in this e-mail, one states: ``White House is reaching out to U-Tube to advise ramifications of the posting of the Pastor Jon Video.'' Among descriptions of actions from different agencies, the e- mail says nothing else about what the White House was doing that night. This information is troubling for a number of reasons.
First, it contradicts White Press Secretary Jay Carney's claim this month that White House assertions about an Internet video were ``drawn directly from talking points produced by the intelligence community.'' The intelligence community talking points that were used, in part, to brief Ambassador Rice were not even requested until September 14--three days after the attack and the White House's decision to embrace its storyline.
Second, former Libya Deputy of Chief of Mission Gregory Hicks--who spoke to Ambassador Christopher Stevens on the phone during the attack--indicated that it was immediately clear to him that the assault on the Benghazi diplomatic compound was a terrorist attack and not a protest of a YouTube video gone awry. Retired Brigadier General Robert Lovell, who had served as Deputy Director for Intelligence and Knowledge Development at U.S. Africa Command the night of the attack also testified that the assault on the Benghazi compound was clearly identifiable as a terrorist attack and not a protest gone awry. Former Deputy CIA Director Mike Morrell publicly testified that incorrect conclusions by his agency that there had been a protest were made as a result of analysis that took place after, not during, the attack. In fact, reports and evidence collected during the attack and embraced by some Administration officials specifically pointed to Al Qaeda linked militia Ansar al-Shaira. A State Department draft memo for Secretary Clinton from September 12 about a condolence letter to the mother of slain American Sean Smith actually references both the White House assertion of a YouTube video and the involvement of Ansar al-Sharia.
Third and finally, the e-mail shows the White House had hurried to settle on a false narrative--one at odds with the conclusions reached by those on the ground--before Americans were even out of harm's way or the intelligence community had made an impartial examination of available evidence. According to the e-mail, the White House--at 3:11 am Libya time--had resolved to call YouTube owner Google about an Internet video being responsible for violence more than two hours before Americans Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed by militants at 5:15 am.
Unfortunately Secretary Kerry and the State Department continue to try to keep this information from the public, only turning this document over to Congress last month. While the information I have cited from this e-mail is clearly unclassified, the State Department has attempted to obstruct its disclosure by not providing Congress with an unclassified copy of this document that redacted only classified portions outlining what the Department of Defense and the Secretary of State were doing in response to the attack in Benghazi that night. This tactic prevents the release of the e-mail itself. In advance of Secretary Kerry's testimony, I intend to request that the State Department declassify this e-mail in its entirety. I will also request that a small sample of other documents be declassified and the removal of redactions from other material occur so that the Oversight Committee can have a more meaningful discussion with Secretary Kerry about information that has been inappropriately withheld from Congress.
In conclusion Mr. Speaker, I appreciate your support for this hearing and view it as an appropriate conclusion to the transition the House of Representatives has decided to make to a Select Committee. By discussing these issues with Secretary Kerry in a public forum on May 29 at the Oversight Committee, the Select Committee will benefit from an examination of tactics this Administration has employed to obstruct the investigation into the Benghazi terrorist attacks. Oversight is a constitutional responsibility of Congress, but we can only do our job when the executive branch, one way or another, meets its legal responsibilities.
that one swears to - that when one swears to
mebee cary can finally release his military records during his testimony. he promised he would
Somewhere in a Kerry testimony he’ll say “how dare you”.
The hole keeps getting deeper.
or the meaning of "swears" or "laws".
His "don't go there buddy."
We could be in for an interesting summer.
Do you know whether or not John Kerry served in Viet Nam?
John effin’ Kerry is in charge. I think that explains any and all failures.
They might be going by the wrong definition of “execute.”
I know he claimed to be in Cambodia at Christmas while Nixon was president. He’s such a confused twit, he probably thinks he pulled a full tour in Nam too.
It’s all the fault of his magic hat.
He won’t “say” it, he’ll “thunder” it....
That’s what Tereza said.
This is interesting...
Congress can arrest someone in the Executive Branch under the inherent contempt power of Congress.
Indeed. The whole thing did not pass the smell test from the get go. At this point there seems to be no question the “offensive video” is/was a ruse. My gut feeling is that it was a way to make the assertion of general peace more palatable during an imminent election. They could also lie in order to diffuse what is otherwise an inflammatory condition and dispense with an Ambassador and some special forces as collateral damage (a bump in the road). The end justifies the means.
Incompetence? Lots. Malfeasance? Lots more. I am not convinced, although I may be in the future, there was an attempt to hide a greater wrong of intentionally enabling the enemy; or a plan to offer Stevens as an object of ransom and rescue. If those things happened, this goes way beyond political opportunism and into literal treason. Not that Elijah Cummings can discern the difference.
Subpoena Jay Carney and put him under oath. I’d pay to see that.