11 july 2014
WASHINGTON – Top Republican Rep. Darrell Issa Friday accused the State Department of trying to repeatedly dodge congressional efforts to look into the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman sent a 37-page letter to the newly-created House Select Committee on Benghazi detailing attempts he claimed were made to sidestep providing documents and answering questions about the attack from September 2012 until May 2014.
Issa said the State Department promised to cooperate with Congress but failed to actually provide information requested and missed many deadlines.
He also claimed the State Department threatened to destroy “committee property necessary for internal organization of in camera documents” and called out “abusive State Department document redaction practices.”
According to the letter, the State Department in early 2013 refused to hand over documents to the committee and demanded that the documents be reviewed in private. Issa’s letter added State officials also started leaving some of the documents behind or forgot to bring them to meetings.
Issa’s letter also cited State’s “abusive” redaction of key documents, and said the department tried to retroactively declassify documents to prevent their release.
“To mark a document with the lowest possible classification but the highest possible declassify date –25 years –is highly unusual,” the letter stated.
Fox News previously reported that some of the documents released to Congress by the State Department this past spring were more heavily redacted than documents released to the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.