Issa: President's Remarks Only Help to Intimidate Benghazi Witnesses
President Barack Obama appeared unaware of the legal obstructions witnesses to the Benghazi terrorist attacks are facing, telling reporters during a White House press conference on Tuesday, “I’m not familiar with this notion that anybody has been blocked from testifying."
He added, “So what I’ll do is I will find out what exactly you’re referring to.”
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, shot back at President Obama on Tuesday for the President's comments. In a statement, Issa said:
A lawyer for Benghazi whistleblowers has publicly stated that the State Department is blocking her client’s ability to talk freely with counsel. Over the past two weeks, I have sent four letters requesting that this Administration make information available about how lawyers – who already have security clearances and are representing Benghazi whistleblowers – can be cleared to fully hear their clients’ stories. I have yet to receive any response from the Obama Administration.
Washington D.C. attorney and former Justice Department official Victoria Toensing is representing a State Department employee who appears to have relevant information of the attack that took four American lives in Benghazi, Libya, including U.S. Ambassdor Chris Stevens.
“I'm not talking generally, I'm talking specifically about Benghazi – that people have been threatened,” Toensing told Fox News on Monday. “And not just the State Department. People have been threatened at the CIA.”
Issa continued in his statement, “Even if the President really doesn’t know anything about someone wanting to come forward, his position should be that whistleblowers deserve protection and that anyone who has different information about Benghazi is free to come forward to Congress." Issa blasted Obama's comments, saying, "The President’s unwillingness to commit himself to protecting whistleblowers only aids those in his Administration who are intimidating them.”
On April 16, Issa sent the Department of State, CIA, and Department of Defense letters "requesting that the Administration make information available for lawyers representing Benghazi whistleblowers." Issa sent a letter dated April 26 to the State Department telling Secretary of State John Kerry that Oversight Committee investigators were being impeded from doing their jobs and the State Department still had not responded to his April 16 letter regarding legal counsel clearance.