Wolf Claims Benghazi Survivors Gagged by Non-Disclosure Agreements
Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) took to the House floor on July 18 and talked about why those Americans who survived the attack in Benghazi, Libya last September 11 have not been heard from.
"On Tuesday I raised the question of why none of the Benghazi survivors, whether State Department, CIA, or private security contract employees have testified publicly before Congress," said Wolf.
"According to trusted sources that have contacted my office, many if not all of the survivors of the Benghazi attacks along with others at the Department of Defense, the CIA have been asked or directed to sign additional non-disclosure agreements about their involvement in the Benghazi attacks. Some of these new NDAs, as they call them, I have been told were signed as recently as this summer."
Wolf explained further:
It is worth nothing that the Marine Corps Times yesterday reported that the Marine colonel whose task force was responsible for special operations in northern and western Africa at the time of the attack is still on active duty despite claims that he retired. And therefore could not be forced to testify before Congress.
If these reports are accurate, this would be a stunning revelation to any member of Congress, any member of Congress that finds this out and also more importantly to the American people. It also raises serious concerns about the priority of the administration's efforts to silence those with knowledge of the Benghazi attack in response.
Breitbart News first reported in February that Benghazi survivors signed non-disclosure agreements, specifically after talking to the FBI. Bill Bransford, a Washington, D.C. attorney at Shaw Bransford & Roth P.C. who specializes in federal employment law, told Breitbart News, “First of all, I’m assuming that most of these people who witnessed the attack, except for the State Department folks, would be intelligence people, and they are not covered by the whistle blower protection laws.”:
Bransford added, “They are covered by whatever policies their agency has. An executive order that President Obama issued in the late fall in which he ordered the intelligence community to come up with a more effective whistle blower protection system, which has not yet been developed.”
However, as federal employees, State Department personnel must sign non-disclosure agreements. Bransford stressed, “If somebody violates one of these non-disclosure agreements, the consequences could include: interfering with a criminal investigation, obstruction of justice, criminal charges for releasing classified information, and those are pretty serious.”
Bransford noted that State Department employees are governed by whistleblower protection acts, as modified by the Whistle Blower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012. According to Bransford, there is a provision in the law about non-disclosure agreements.
For example, it would be consistent with the law on classified information and what they would be allowed to tell Congress.
It is customary and probably consistent with valid non-disclosure policy to tell somebody who is a witness in an ongoing criminal investigation, which of course the FBI is there, so it’s criminal and counter-terrorism, to tell (witnesses) they are not to discuss the substance of the interview or what they discussed with the investigating agents with anyone.
Bransford added, "And that would be consistent with a valid non-disclosure policy. So, at this stage, to get (Benghazi survivors) to talk might be tough."