The State Department on Monday said that Congress should not have the chance to interview lower-level employees of State about Benghazi because the State Department has done their own investigation, and Congress should let it go at that.
State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said:
The standard practice, going back for a very long time, is that there are senior officers who are willing to testify on behalf of this department about our operations. We don’t sort of have people at the operational level necessarily as witnesses who are testifying. The bottom line is that congressional testimony is at the deputy assistant secretary level and above. And just as you wouldn’t have necessarily a soldier or troops called as witnesses, you have their superior officers. That’s the same practice for the State Department … We think that we’ve done an independent investigation, that it’s been transparent, thorough, credible, and detailed, and that we’ve shared those findings with the U.S. Congress. And that should be enough.
Ventrell slammed the “many folks who are, in a political manner, trying to sort of use this for their own political means, or ends.”
He was apparently referring to House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who has been relentlessly pushing the investigation, and has asked for legal protections for the same lower-level employees that the State Department is trying to keep under wraps. Issa has said that his committee has been approached by some of those lower-level employees. He wrote to current Secretary of State John Kerry: “The Department is interfering with its employees’ right to communicate with Congress. To date, the State Department has not even taken [the] modest step to assure whistleblowers that they will not face retaliation from the department.”
Issa has a point; any employee testifying against Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration has much to fear.