House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., accused President Obama of “aid[ing] those in his Administration who are intimidating” potential Benghazi whistle-blowers, because Obama pleaded ignorance when asked about the issue today.
“Even if the President really doesn’t know anything about someone wanting to come forward, his position should be that whistleblowers deserve protection and that anyone who has different information about Benghazi is free to come forward to Congress,” Issa said in a statement today. “The President’s unwillingness to commit himself to protecting whistleblowers only aids those in his Administration who are intimidating them.”
Obama was asked if he would help State Department employees, survivors of the Benghazi terrorist attack, who have told reporters that they are being blocked from testifying on what they know of the assault.
“I’m not familiar with this notion that anybody has been blocked from testifying,” Obama replied. “So what I’ll do is i will find out what exactly you are referring to.”
But Issa has written the Obama team repeatedly about the subject. “A lawyer for Benghazi whistleblowers has publicly stated that the State Department is blocking her client’s ability to talk freely with counsel,” Issa said. “Over the past two weeks, I have sent four letters requesting that this Administration make information available about how lawyers – who already have security clearances and are representing Benghazi whistleblowers – can be cleared to fully hear their clients’ stories. I have yet to receive any response from the Obama Administration.”
Obama emphasized the importance of whistle-blowers during his 2008 campaign, when he said that their “acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled.”
An anonymous special operator told Fox News that whistle blowers would lose their careers . “The problem is you’ve got guys in the special ops community who are still active and still involved, and they would be decapitated if they came forward with information that could affect high level commanders,” the operator said. “I don’t blame them for not coming forward. It’s something that is risky, especially in our line of profession, to say anything in the realm of politics or that deals with policy.”
Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., who has been pushing for a special congressional investigation into the attack, seized on the operator’s statement today.
“This supports allegations we have repeatedly heard about administration intimidation of Benghazi whistleblowers by White House lawyers,” Wolf said. “And if what President Obama said today in his press conference was true – that the State Department has been forthcoming with information about this attack – why are we just now hearing reports like these?”