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Benghazi Review Leader Offered To Testify On Capitol Hill

When the House held its much-anticipated hearing on Benghazi Wednesday, one major figure not at the witness table was Thomas Pickering, the former ambassador and co-chair of the Accountability Review Board that reported on last September's attacks.

Why wasn't he there?

That's somewhat in dispute. California Republican Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, put the blame squarely on the shoulders of Pickering and report co-author Admiral Mike Mullen.

"We asked them to testify about their investigation and findings. They refused," Issa said. "When we asked Ambassador Pickering and Admiral Mullen to speak with us and our committee informally, they again refused."

In an interview with NPR Friday, Pickering took great exception to that.

"It was mentioned and it's frequently repeated that I refused to testify to the hearing. That is not true," Pickering said in an interview with All Things Considered. "I made every effort the day before the hearing, including through the White House and their legislative people, to seek an opportunity to join the team testifying before the committee. I was told through the White House that that had been rejected. I was offered a kind of consolation prize of 'some other time.'"

On Friday, committee spokesman Frederick Hill insisted that Issa's version is correct. "That's completely false," Hill said of Pickering's account.

There is, however, one area of agreement.

"The committee would certainly welcome the opportunity for the ambassador to come testify," Hill said - which meshes well with Pickering's thoughts on a possible invitation: "I would certainly go."

S.V. Dáte is the congressional editor on NPR's Washington Desk.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 10, 2013 at 2:24 p.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

Embassy and Consulate attacks under GW Bush admin. :

June 14, 2002, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
Suicide bomber kills 12 and injures 51.
February 20, 2003, international diplomatic compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Truck bomb kills 17.

February 28, 2003, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
Gunmen on motorcycles killed two consulate guards.

July 30, 2004, U.S. embassy in Taskkent, Uzbekistan
Suicide bomber kills two.

December 6, 2004, U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Militants stormed and occupied perimeter wall. Five killed, 10 wounded.

March 2, 2006, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
Suicide car bomber killed four, including a U.S. diplomate directly targeted by the assailants.

September 12, 2006, U.S. embassy in Damascus, Syria
Gunmen attacked embassy with grenades, automatic weapons, and a car bomb (though second truck bomb failed to detonate). One killed and 13 wounded.

January 12, 2007, U.S. embassy in Athens, Greece
A rocket-propelled grenade was fired at the embassy building. No one was injured.

July 9, 2008, U.S. consulate in Istanbul, Turkey
Armed men attacked consulate with pistols and shotguns. Three policemen killed.

March 18, 2008, U.S. embassy in Sana'a, Yemen
Mortar attack misses embassy, hits nearby girls' school instead.

September 17, 2008, U.S. embassy in Sana'a, Yemen
Militants dressed as policemen attacked the embassy with RPGs, rifles, grenades and car bombs. Six Yemeni soldiers and seven civilians were killed. Sixteen more were injured.

Let's not forget, of course, 9-11also occurred on Buh's watch.

I didn't see Issa and the other right-wing ghouls in Congress holding hearing father hearing on any of these.

This is clearly a political witch-hunt.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 10, 2013 at 2:30 p.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

It's particularly troubling to see the repeat attacks on specific U.S.interests under Bush.

The American Embassy in Karachi attacked 3 times and the American Embassy in Sana'a twice.

Was a Congressional probe and a series of hearings in congress held to determine why the initial attacks at these Embassies weren't heeded and sufficient security/intelligence focus placed the first time??

Of course not, because President Obama was not in office so people lie Issa didn't really care by people were dying in repeated attacks overseas.

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