- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Three House Republican leaders on Tuesday demanded copies of all documents from a State Department investigation into the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, calling the publicly released version of the report “incomplete.”

In a letter to outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the chairmen of three House panels gave the department until Feb. 11 to produce the documents, which relate to the three-month-long investigation by the State Department-appointed investigative panel, the accountability review board.

“Unfortunately, the [board] did not address some important questions about the attacks in Benghazi, which we believe may contain crucial lessons learned for other U.S. facilities abroad,” wrote Reps. Edward R. Royce and Darrell E. Issa, both of California, and Jason Chaffetz of Utah.

Mr. Royce heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. Issa the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Mr. Chaffetz the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on national security.

The three Republicans said the review board — which published its report in classified and unclassified versions — failed to interview Mrs. Clinton or her two deputies about their roles in the Benghazi incident.

They also said the report did not explain a decision by Patrick F. Kennedy, undersecretary of state for management, to withdraw from Libya’s capital a 16-member special operations forces detachment that was assisting with security. The decision was made a few weeks before the Benghazi attack.

“Additionally, many questions remain as to why the department maintained an independent and isolated post in an increasingly volatile and dangerous city,” they wrote.

An inquiry last year by Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent who has since left the Senate, concluded that it was a mistake not to close the consulate amid a growing tide of concern about deteriorating security in the city in the months before the attack.

The board’s chairman, retired Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering, said the investigation found errors of judgment and failures of leadership at the level of assistant secretary and below.

During a pair of congressional hearings last week, Mrs. Clinton said she had no role in making decisions about security in Benghazi, which proved inadequate to repel the attack.

The three chairmen said they want a video of the attack that was recovered from security cameras at the post; all emails, cables and memorandums received by the secretary and her deputies related to security in Benghazi; and all documents reviewed by the accountability review board.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said that White House counterterrorism chief John O. Brennan should not be confirmed as CIA director “until our questions are answered” about the Benghazi attack.

“I have not forgotten about the Benghazi debacle and still have many questions about what transpired before, during and after the attack on our consulate,” Mr. Graham said in a statement. “In that regard, I do not believe we should confirm anyone as director of the CIA until our questions are answered.”

U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, State Department official Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed in the Benghazi attack.

• Shaun Waterman can be reached at swaterman@washingtontimes.com.

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