Issa lets John Kerry off Benghazi hook — so Trey Gowdy can have a better crack at him

Accusing Secretary of State John Kerry of trying to “squirm” his way out of testifying fully about what he knows about the Benghazi terrorist attack and the Obama administration’s response to it, Rep. Darrell Issa moved Friday to put Kerry on a sharper hook.

collageissakerry0531Issa released Kerry from a subpoena to testify before Issa’s oversight committee, leaving the secretary of state vulnerable to a summons to testify before the House select committee established specifically to investigate the Obama administration’s handling of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stephens and three other Americans.

“It’s been disappointing to watch a long-serving former senator, like Secretary Kerry, squirm his way to what I’m doing today — releasing him from the upcoming hearing commitment he made only after we issued him a subpoena,” the California Republican said in a harshly worded statement Friday, according to Fox News.

Issa’s House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform had issued two subpoenas to Kerry to testify about the attack. Last week, Kerry finally agreed to do so, but the State Department indicated that testimony would mean Kerry would not testify before the separate committee headed by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.

That dodge isn’t going to work, Issa said.

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His committee will do without Kerry’s testimony if it has to to force the State Department to cooperate with Gowdy’s committee, which is empowered to “get to the bottom of Benghazi,” as House Speaker John Boehner has put it.

“No matter how long the investigation of a terrorist attack that killed four Americans takes, getting the full truth is what matters. The select committee is the House of Representatives’ commitment to getting this truth.  It will conduct its investigation in the face of an all-hands-on-deck effort by defenders of the principal actors to further obscure the facts,” Issa’s statement said.

“I expect the select committee’s unified jurisdiction will afford it better access to the complete picture than any of its investigative predecessors … President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and other officials have no one but themselves to blame for the increased scrutiny they should soon expect.”

Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at [email protected].

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