Yesterday, Representatives Darrell Issa and Jason Chaffetz sent a letter to Hillary Clinton requesting more details about the events preceding the attack in Benghazi:
Based on information provided to the committee by individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya, the attack that claimed the ambassador’s life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to Sept. 11, 2012. It was clearly never, as administration officials once insisted, the result of a popular protest. In addition, multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed to the committee that, prior to the Sept. 11 attack, the U.S. mission in Libya made repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi. The mission in Libya, however, was denied these resources by officials in Washington.
But Clinton’s letter in response indicates that Issa and Chaffetz won’t get their answers until November at the earliest. From Foreign Policy’s Cableblog (emphasis mine):
“I appreciate that you and your committee are deeply interested in finding out what happened leading up to and during the attacks in Benghazi, and are looking for ways to prevent it from happening again. I share that commitment,” Clinton wrote in the letter, obtained by The Cable.“Nobody will hold this department more accountable than we hold ourselves — we served with Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods.”
Clinton said that the State Department’s Accountability Review Board will begin work this week and the letter revealed the names of all five board members. In addition to former Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Pickering, who will lead the board, the other members will be former Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen (ret.), Catherine Bertini, Hugh Turner, and Richard Shinnick.
Clinton asked Issa to withhold any final conclusions about the Benghazi attack until the review board finishes its work and reports to Congress, which could come as early as November or as late as early next year. She pledged to work with Issa’s committee and asked him to submit any requests for information or witnesses at hearings to the State Department’s Office of Legislative Affairs.
It certainly appears that the Obama administration is doing what it can to prevent this matter from becoming an election issue. Nonetheless, Issa and Chaffetz are scheduled to have a hearing on this October 10.