Benghazi

In rare public Q-and-A with reporters, Obama denies knowing Benghazi terror-attack survivors have been forbidden from talking to Congress

  • At least four career officials have hired  lawyers as they prepare to share sensitive information with Congress
  • Would-be State Department whistle-blowers  claim harassment, intimidation
  • Obama: I’m not familiar with this notion  that anybody’s been blocked from testifying’

By  David Martosko In Washington

PUBLISHED: 11:14 EST, 30  April 2013 |  UPDATED: 15:43 EST, 30 April 2013

President Barack Obama said during a rare  public session answering reporters’ questions that he was unaware of any efforts  to prevent survivors of the 2012 Benghazi, Libya terror attack from testifying  before Congress about what they experienced.

‘I’m not familiar with this notion that  anybody’s been blocked from testifying,’ the president said Tuesday in response  to a question from Fox News Channel correspondent Ed Henry.

‘They’ve hired an attorney,’ Henry told  Obama, ‘because they’re saying that they’ve been blocked from coming  forward.’

‘What I’ll do,’ the president offered, ‘is I  will find out what exactly you’re referring to.’

Obama claimed ignorance of alleged efforts inside the U.S. State Department to clamp down on whistle-blowers who want to testify about the Benghazi terror attack and its aftermathObama claimed ignorance of alleged efforts inside the  U.S. State Department to clamp down on whistle-blowers who want to testify about  the Benghazi terror attack and its aftermath
 

‘What I’ve been very clear about from the  start is that our job with respect to Benghazi has been to find out exactly what  happened, to make sure that U.S. embassies not just in the Middle East but  around the world are safe and secure, and to bring those who carried it out to  justice.’

The White House has yet to take a formal  position on the hundreds of Americans who lived through the Sept. 11, 2012  attack that claimed the lives of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and two  others.

‘There are some survivors of that terror  attack who say they want to come forward and testify – some in your State  Department,’ Henry said, ‘and they say they’ve been blocked. Will you allow the  Benghazi survivors to testify?’ he asked.

Mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades, gunfire and arson: The U.S. Consulate compound in Benghazi, Libya was destroyed Sept. 11, 2012, on the anniversary of the al Qaeda attack that killed thousands

Mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades, gunfire and  arson: The U.S. Consulate compound in Benghazi, Libya was destroyed Sept. 11,  2012, on the anniversary of the al Qaeda attack that killed thousands in New  York City, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania

Obama gave the question a brief answer,  insisting that he didn’t know about alleged efforts to keep the survivors  quiet.

‘I’m not familiar with it,’ he reiterated,  later adding, ‘I’ll look into that.’

Fox News reported Monday that at least four  CIA and State Department career officials have retained lawyers to help them  with plans to provide sensitive information to Congress about the Benghazi  attacks.

It’s unknown whether those potential  whistle-blowers were part of the U.S. contingent on the ground in  Benghazi.

One of them reportedly has information about  the federal government’s inner-workings during the months before the Sept. 11,  2012 attack when the diplomatic mission in Libya unsuccessfully sought tighter  security, during the attack itself, and during the crucial week  afterward.

It was in those first days that U.S.  Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice falsely claimed a spontaneous  protest, inspired by a YouTube video critical of the Muslim prophet Muhammad,  resulted in the consulate’s destruction.

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before a congressional committee about Benghazi, asking 'What difference does it make?' whether the death and destruction was preplanned or spontaneousThen-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before  a congressional committee about Benghazi, asking ‘What difference does it make?’  whether the death and destruction was preplanned or spontaneous

Victoria Toensing, the man’s attorney,  told Fox News that her client has been threatened by unnamed persons in the Obama  administration who have warned about the impact on his career if he  cooperates  with Republican investigators in Congress.

‘It’s frightening, and they’re doing some  very despicable threats to people,’ Toensing said. ‘Not “we’re going to kill  you,” or not “we’re going to prosecute you  tomorrow,” but they’re taking career  people and making them well aware  that their careers will be over.’

Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz told Fox  News in March that he only had access to a ‘handful of people’ when he visited  Libya shortly after the Benghazi attack, and that he has not been given access  to other survivors in the months that followed.

‘We want talk to the survivors. They won’t do  that,’ Chaffetz said of the Obama administration.

‘And then the president has the gall to go on  television and say “Oh, we’re providing all the access”? Baloney. Bull-crap.  That is not happening.’

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