Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) warned the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other government officials on Wednesday to get their lawyers prepared for a massive probe into Benghazi as he escalates investigation into the September 11, 2012 attack which left four Americans dead.
Issa sent separate letters to the legal offices of the CIA, the State Department and the Defense Department in which he indicated that some witnesses might need attorneys, should the agencies retaliate against them for their testimony.
“During the course of the investigation, numerous individuals have approached the committee with information related to the attack,” he wrote.
He also requested details on how outside attorneys would be granted security clearances necessary to adequately represent those who would be discussing the matters in question with congressional investigators.
“Some witnesses may be required to retain personal counsel to represent them before the committee and in the event the agency subsequently retaliates against them for cooperating with the committee’s investigation,” he wrote.
“Additional witnesses may be compelled by subpoena to give testimony to the committee and can be reasonably expected to retain personal counsel at that time,” he added.
This move comes as more than 100 Republicans in the House have increased pressure on Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to create a select committee to investigate Benghazi. Additionally, a resolution introduced by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) which called for the committee has been signed onto by at least 106 lawmakers. Sean Smith’s mother, Patricia Smith, has also given her support to Wolf’s resolution.
However, Speaker Boehner claims that the investigation would be expensive and time-consuming. Really? Someone needs to relieve John Boehner of any ability to lead in any fashion until he can be removed from office.
Congressman Issa has given fair warning to the agencies involved against taking any negative action against employees that will be involved in the investigation.
“[I]t is important that the agency makes clear to its employees that they are free to furnish information to Congress in accordance with their statutory rights,” Issa wrote.
“Additionally, retaliation against a witness who communicates with the committee can be considered obstruction of a congressional investigation and is punishable by fine and imprisonment,” he added.
Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra also told Newsmax Thursday that whistleblowers may have access to classified information and may need a lawyer to ensure that they comply with the rules, regulations, and legal requirements to protect themselves.
“There are multiple whistleblowers who want to get the story out,” Hoekstra said. “All of these people are very concerned that they do everything appropriately.”
“These whistleblowers still feel that there’s a gap between what’s in the public domain and what really happened,” Hoekstra continued. “They’ve all been frustrated.”
This all comes as news was breaking over new whistleblowers coming forth and talking to congressional investigators about Benghazi.
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air writes, “Ever since the initial probe stalled a few months ago, many have wondered why the administration hasn’t made the survivors of that night available to House investigators. Some have also wondered why those survivors haven’t come forward on their own, but if they still work in intelligence agencies, they may not have been allowed to do so. These new whistleblowers may or may not be the Benghazi survivors, but clearly they’re coming from within the intel community — and Issa’s letter strongly suggest that they are pointing fingers upstairs.”
I’d say that many of the Benghazi survivors need to be located and put in protective custody until they can be interviewed. It is speculation, but is possible that some of the new whistleblowers may actually include survivors.
Tim Brown is a frequent contributor to The D.C. Clothesline and the Editor of Freedom Outpost.