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Issa subpoenas Pickering over flimsy Benghazi accountability report

issa pickering
Darrell Issa and Thomas Pickering on “Meet the Press.”

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House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa officially subpoenaed former Ambassador Thomas Pickering to appear for a deposition by the committee next Thursday about the State Department’s Accountability Review Board report on Benghazi.

Pickering co-authored the ARB report on the Benghazi terrorist attack along with former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen, but only Pickering was subpoenaed, The Hill reported.

Though Pickering has offered to testify publicly before Issa’s committee, the subpoena was issued to force Pickering to first submit to a “transcribed interview,” which he had previously refused to do.

Issa told Pickering in the subpoena that his committee has many unanswered questions about how the ARB conducted its investigation on the events of Sept. 11 in Libya, including why then Sec. of State Hillary Clinton was never interviewed and why a Foreign Emergency Support Team was never sent to help those under attack in the Consulate.

“The ARB worked behind closed doors. It did not record its interviews. No transcripts of ARB interviews exist. Even now, months after the ARB report was released, the ARB’s investigative process has remained opaque,” the subpoena read.

Issa continued:

At this point, the only publicly available information about the ARB’s methodology is contained in the 39-page unclassified version of the report itself. The public version of the report does not contain footnotes or list the witnesses that were interviewed. A fully informed hearing, in which the Committee begins with a factual understanding of how the Board reached its conclusions, is critical to engaging in a public discussion with you about criticisms career State Department officials levied at the ARB’s efforts and recommendations.

Pickering’s refusal to sit for a taped interview with Issa’s committee defies Pickering’s “commitment to be tough and transparent,” Issa wrote.

Issa concluded by saying that if Pickering submitted to the taped interview voluntarily before next Thursday, he would “consider lifting the subpoena.”

Read Issa’s subpoena to Pickering here via The Hill.

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