House Oversight and Government Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) today announced the issuance of four deposition subpoenas to State Department officials as part of the Committee's ongoing investigation into the events surrounding the Benghazi terror attacks on September 11-12, 2012. All four subpoenaed officials led bureaus where the Accountability Review Board found deficiencies contributing to a lack of security at the time of the attacks.
In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Issa details the Committee's months-long efforts to arrange interviews with officials possessing direct knowledge of the events. On April 29, 2013, Committee staff contacted State Department officials to request their assistance in arranging interviews. The request was reiterated on May 17, 2013, however investigators have only been able to interview one of the 13 individuals with whom they requested interviews and the meeting was arranged without the State Department's help.
"These persistent delays create the appearance that the Department is dragging its feet to slow down the Committee's investigation," Issa writes. "It does not require weeks of preparation to answer questions truthfully. These delays also take us further in time away from the dates of the events in question."
"The Committee has a bipartisan interest in holding a public hearing to examine the Accountability Review Board as soon as possible," Issa continues. "Based on the interview schedule that my staff laid out in April, it was my expectation that we would have interviewed a half dozen witnesses at this point."
"The Department has left me with no alternative but to issue subpoenas to compel testimony from these important witnesses," Issa concludes. "It is irresponsible for the Department to unnecessarily expose its employees to the risks inherent in being named in a congressional subpoena. By its very nature, a subpoena can carry the implication that the witness is being uncooperative. In this case, that is an unfortunate and misleading consequence since it is the Department, and not the individuals themselves, that appears to be dictating the timetable. "
Subpoenas were issued to the following officials:
Eric Boswell, Former Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Diplomatic Security
Scott Bultrowicz, Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director of the Diplomatic Security Service, Bureau of Diplomatic Security
Elizabeth Dibble, Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs
Elizabeth Jones, Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau Near Eastern Affairs