Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) revealed Monday that his office received anonymous information that a CIA employee who refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement, banning him from discussing the terrorist attack in Benghazi, has been suspended and was forced to hire legal counsel.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, Wolf said that the CIA employee is reportedly facing an internal backlash after his refusal to sign a legal document prohibiting him from publicly or privately discussing the circumstances surrounding the Benghazi terrorist attack that left four Americans dead.
In early August, Fox News reported that at least five CIA employees were forced to sign nondisclosure agreements (NDA’s) last spring following the Benghazi attack. They had already signed such agreements prior to the attack but were told to sign new agreements the goal of which was to dissuade survivors from leaking information to the media.
At the same time, CNN reported that dozens of CIA employees who were in Benghazi on the night of the attack on September 11, 2012 were intimidated into remaining silent. The report indicated that, since January, CIA operatives involved in the agency’s missions in Libya were forced to submit to frequent, sometimes monthly, polygraph examinations. CNN concluded that the CIA “is involved in what one source calls an unprecedented attempt to keep the spy agency’s Benghazi secrets from ever leaking out.”
“The reports on the NDA are accurate,” said Wolf during the launching of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, a panel of former military and intelligence officials who are investigating unanswered questions about the Benghazi attack.
According to Wolf, his office first received the anonymous call earlier in the summer, soon after Fox News and CNN reported on the intimidation of CIA employees. The caller reportedly told Wolf’s staff that an unnamed CIA employee had been suspended after refusing to sign a Benghazi-related NDA.
“My office received a call from a man saying that he knew a CIA employee who has retained legal counsel because he has refused to sign an additional NDA regarding the Sept. 11, 2012 events in Benghazi,” Wolf said during a panel hosted by Judicial Watch on September 9th.
Wolf said that he called the law firm of the attorney representing the CIA employee and that she confirmed that her client is having a problem with the agency.
“Based on my past experiences with the CIA, which is headquartered in my congressional district, I am not at all confident that these efforts will be successful,” Wolf said.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the CIA would not comment directly on Wolf’s charges, but forwarded a letter sent to Congress from CIA Director John Brennan in which he denies charges that the agency has forced its employees to submit to signing NDA’s and polygraph tests:
CIA leadership has consistently made clear to staff and contractors that they may communicate about the Benghazi attacks to our oversight committees.
A handwritten note by Brennan at the end of the letter reads:
I want to assure you that I will not tolerate any effort to prevent our intelligence oversight committees from doing their jobs.
The Washington Free Beacon reports that the CIA repeated its denial of intimidating tactics toward employees in a call to a reporter during which Wolf’s allegations were called “categorically false.”
Wolf’s comments about the anonymous call to his office came on the same day that House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) released a report enumerating the failures in the State Department’s internal investigation into the Benghazi attack.
Issa charged that the State Department “obstructed” congressional investigators, was “not comprehensive” or thorough in nature, and failed to hold senior officials to account.
According to speakers at Monday’s event, the newly formed Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi will pursue goals that are similar to those of congressional investigators but is not confined to the rules that govern the legislature.
“We’re tired of the lies and the cover-up that continues to this day,” said Retired Air Force Col. Richard Brauer, cofounder of the group Special Operations Speaks. “Who gave the order” to stand down, “to remain in place in Tripoli and the other locations and do nothing. When was this order given and why?”
“Forces were available on that very night, likely champing at the bit, but they were told to stand down,” Brauer said. “These are words that will live in infamy.”