By David Martosko In Washington
PUBLISHED: 15:54 EST, 26 July 2013 | UPDATED: 16:26 EST, 26 July 2013
David Ubben, a State Department diplomatic security agent who was gravely injured in the terror attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, is in the Walter Reed medical center near Washington, D.C., recuperating from injuries that almost cost him his right leg, but until Friday was kept out of reach of reporters.
Fox News established contact with Ubben at Walter Reed, showing only his blurred-out face in a still photograph during a television broadcast.
But members of Congress say they are still meeting resistance from the State Department, which is reportedly stonewalling them and denying them access to Ubben, who is still on the federal payroll and can’t speak about his Benghazi experience without clearance from State.
Four Americans died in Benghazi on Sept .11, 2012, including Ambassador Chris Stevens and former Navy SEALs Ty Woods and Glen Doherty. Mortar rounds launched at the roof of the CIA Annex to the U.S. Consulate, where Ubben, Woods and Doherty were stationed, killed the two SEALs and tore Ubben’s leg to ribbons.
In October Reuters spoke with Ubben’s father, a 24-year Air Force veteran who was a master sergeant when he retired in 1995. Like his son, Rex Smith was posted at U.S. embassies across the globe.
Fox showed a blurred-out photo of David Ubben, a Benghazi survivor who rushed into the scene of the firefight to retrieve the body of a fallen comrade
Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz (L) says he has been denied access to Benghazi hero David Ubben, but State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki (R) insists that her agency isn’t standing in anyone’s way
David Ubben didn’t speak to Fox on the record, but Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz explained that his requests to the State Department have fallen on deaf ears.
‘While initially they said they would be helpful,’ Chaffetz told Fox, ‘pretty quickly they turned that off. And I had a meeting scheduled to go visit this young man and then I was denied.’
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In his interview with Reuters nine months ago, Ubben’s father complained that the Obama administration might be risking other American lives.
‘I do find it troubling that they have not owned up to their shortcomings,’ he said. ‘In government, in the military, and in business, if something goes wrong, you admit it, correct it, and move on.’
‘Mistakes and lack of foresight do happen,’ he added, but ‘to attempt to delay or cover information up, upcoming election or no, might put other people’s lives at risk and fools no one.’
Between the September attack and the November presidential election eight weeks later, the Obama administration referred to the terror attack as a spontaneous protest that turned ugly. In the latter stages of the campaign, President Obama conceded that it was a terror attack, and then insisted that he had characterized it that way from the beginning.
The burned-out remains of the Benghazi consulate was the site of an FBI investigation, but the agency didn’t arrive on the scene for three weeks, citing security concerns
A Libyan man told the Associated Press explains that bloodstains on the exterior of the consulate building were from one the American staffers who grabbed the edge of the column while he was evacuated
According to the Fox News broadcast, Ubben (represented at C) shared rooftop duty with Glen Doherty (L) and Ty Woods (R), both of whom were killed in the mortar attack that shredded Ubben’s right leg
According to Fox News correspondent Catherine Herridge, Ubben raced into the Benghazi diplomatic compound to retrieve the body of Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, ‘going back into the smoke and flames at the Benghazi consulate multiple times until he found Smith, whom he believed to be already dead from smoke inhalation.’
‘Thank you very much for what you’ve done,’ Smith’s mother said she would like to tell Ubben, after hearing details of how her son perished. ‘Why couldn’t the government have done the same thing?’
U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens was killed in the Sept. 11, 2012 terror attack on the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi by militants including some linked to Ansar al-Sharia, a group with ties to al-Qaeda
Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert told Fox that he has established a friendship with David Ubben, a fact that tends to support the State Department’s contention that it hasn’t stood in the way of Benghazi survivors speaking up.
‘We don’t prevent anyone from telling their story,’ spokeswoman Jen Psaki said during a July 24 briefing. ‘We’ve helped and facilitated countless hearings, interviews and discussions with members of Congress.’
Republican Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia is engaged in a three-week media blitz to draw attention to what he says are nondisclosure agreements Benghazi survivors were reportedly forced to sign, precluding them from talking to anyone about what they saw.
‘If these reports are accurate, it would raise serious questions about additional restrictions the State Department has placed on those with knowledge of the Benghazi attacks,’ Wolf wrote in a July 18 letter to Secretary of State John Kerry.
‘I also worry about the impact of any [nondisclosure agreements] on congressional efforts to understand fully what happened that night and why the agency responded as it did.’
President Obama said in response to a question during an April 30 press conference that he was ‘not familiar with this notion that anybody’s been blocked from testifying,’ about Benghazi. ‘What I’ll do is find out what exactly you’re referring to.’
The president hasn’t addressed the issue directly since making those comments.
Marine Colonel George Bristol, who was in command of Special Forces in Northern Africa on the day terrorists staged a military-style attack on the Benghazi diplomatic outpost, is another witness who has so far eluded Congress.
After South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham applied pressure, and MailOnline told the Department of Defense that it had found Bristol’s home in Northern Virginia, the Pentagon relented and said it would provide members of Congress with access to the soon-to-be-retired officer.
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton famously asked a Senate Foreign Relations Committee panel on January 23, ‘What difference, at this point, does it make?’ whether the Benghazi catastrophe was a terror attack or the result of an impromptu protest
Fox News correspondent Catherine Herridge (L) spoke to Rep. Louie Gohmert (R),a hard-charging Republican who said he has built a friendship with David Ubben. That would seem to undercut claims that the Obama administration is blocking Benghazi survivors from talking to Congress
Ty Woods’ mother suggested that Ubben’s disclosures about how her son died represented more information than the U.S. government has provided to her
Gohmert said that while Ubben is a soldier doing his job, he and other members of Congress will continue to seek information about what happened in Benghazi.
‘David won’t demand answers. He’s just a patriot,’ Gohmert told Fox. ‘He will do whatever his country charges him to do. But America needs answers.’
MailOnline has confirmed that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Affairs is planning more Benghazi hearings after the congressional August recess.
Chaffetz told Fox that ‘we need to hear from’ servicemen and women like Ubben.
‘America needs to thank these people for the horrific things they went through,’ he said. ‘I think if we heard from the survivors including Ubben — as they walked into that room — there’s wouldn’t be a dry eye in the place because this is what America is all about. These are our heroes.’
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