GOP Lawmakers Prepare Whistleblower Protections for Benghazi Survivors
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News over the weekend that the Obama administration is telling individuals who were rescued during the deadly Benghazi attack last September to be quiet about what they know.
Graham said he “had contact” with survivors and described their accounts as “chilling.” “The bottom line is they feel that they can't come forth, they've been told to be quiet."
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney refuted that the administration is gagging survivors, telling Fox News last week, "I'm sure that the White House is not preventing anyone from speaking,"
Graham does not buy it and is threatening to hold up all business in the upper chamber if the White House does not release the names of the survivors to Congress. Graham is urging his colleagues in the House to move forward and issue subpoenas of Benghazi survivors if the administration fails to release any information on them.
"To our leadership in the House, you’re gonna have to up your game on Benghazi,” the South Carolina Republican said.
Breitbart News first reported in December that Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) was being stonewalled by the Obama administration from visiting the injured survivors of the Benghazi attack.
Since then, Senator Graham has demanded the FBI turn over the interviews with the survivors to no avail. Graham, Senators John McCain (R-AZ), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) all called for a joint select committee to investigate the Benghazi assault, while Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) re-issued a second resolution to form a House Select committee to do the same.
Wolf and Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA) demanded Sec. Kerry to hand over the contact information of all the State Department employees who worked at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi when the attack occurred. Wolf’s resolution currently boasts over 60 co-sponsors.
Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Select Intelligence Committee, and Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee, are looking forward to hear from Benghazi survivors as well.
“We’ll get our chance to talk to Benghazi survivors and get the reports from the FBI. That will happen. I’m confident of that,” Chairman Rogers told Breitbart News. “We want to make sure people have a chance to heal first and we’ll have an opportunity to talk these people before this is over. I’m fairly comfortable this will happen,” he said.
Chairman Issa noted that Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to a Benghazi survivor opened the door for Congress to question anyone who was on the ground and survived the Benghazi attack. “We expected to speak with all the witnesses and the Benghazi survivors,” he told Breitbart News. “Now that Secretary Kerry has publicly, essentially a senator, in a post way, has chosen to visit with them, any claim that they’re not available at this point to Congress is unsupportable. And I look forward to oversight by all committees.”
Any Benghazi survivor who talks to his committee would be protected from prosecution or job termination from the Obama administration, Rogers said. “We’ll make sure of that. That is whistle bower standard protection. If they’re fired for talking to us, there’ll be some hell to pay.”
Issa agrees, saying, “Any kind of retaliation against any of the witnesses we’ve already had would not be tolerated.”
Four Americans were killed on site when the U.S. mission in Benghazi was attacked, including U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens. Questions remain, however, as to the physical health of those who were evacuated from the U.S. compound. Rogers cannot confirm if any evacuee later succumbed to their injuries while being treated at medical facilities.
The Michigan Republican explained, “Like I said, I don’t know. We’ll know before it’s over. My review is not over yet. We’re looking at all the information. We still have cables and emails that we still haven’t gone through one hundred percent yet. It’s voluminous.” He added, “Were going through it painstakingly. I’m just an old FBI guy, so I’m going through it painstakingly to find to find the truth. My goal is to find the truth. And wherever those facts and leads takes us.”