- 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’
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.’
‘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.
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‘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 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 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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