The cover-up of what really happened in Benghazi continues: the State Department, responding to requests from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to release documents pertaining to the debacle, will make those records available for review only this Thursday and Friday.
The problem is that most of the Senators are not in Washington and won’t be back until next week, when hearings on Benghazi are scheduled. Some documents have been leaked already, so the State Department decided to make it look official and give the Senators a fleeting glimpse at the documents.
The initial requests for information came from Bob Corker (R-TN) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), who, frustrated with the Obama Administration’s stonewalling, sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a letter on November 2nd asking that the documents be physically sent to the committee and not just available when the State Department had time to show them:
Over the past several weeks, cables, emails and other communications regarding the security situation in Benghazi prior to and since the attack on our consulate have been leaked to some Congressional offices and media outlets, resulting in conflicting reports in the press. We have also called for the official transmittal of these documents and are still awaiting your response. On September 25, 2012 and again on October 3, 2012, we sent you letters requesting that all communications between the diplomatic mission in Libya and the State Department related to the security situation be transmitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee without delay. We respectfully ask for an update on the status of our requests for these documents.
State Department Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs David Adams responded to John Kerry, who ironically is now head of the same Foreign Relations Committee he testified to in the 1970s about supposed American atrocities:
We are currently in the process of gathering and reviewing record responsive to Congressional requests. Our efforts have already identified a large volume of potentially responsive records that address the security situation leading up to the attack. To facilitate your committee’s work, we want to offer you and other members of the committee the opportunity to review these cables and memoranda. This set of material contains classified and other sensitive information… Mindful of these concerns, the Department is prepared to make copies of these documents available for the committee’s in camera review.
The Obama Administration’s timing is exquisite; by making the documents available only today and tomorrow, the Senators will not be able to review them to prepare for the hearings next week. Committee staffers are also forbidden to see the material, meaning practically no one will have all the information when the hearings begin.
One senior GOP Senate staffer commented bitterly, “Funny since no member is in town. The timing and limited access clearly demonstrates the administration cares more about playing politics with the tragedy than accepting responsibility.”