Rep. Darrell Issa put out a seething statement that reeked of a temper tantrum after Sec. of State John Kerry and the Obama administration outsmarted him, and forced the Republican to back off of having Kerry testify on Benghazi.
Here is Issa’s statement announcing that he has released Sec. Kerry from his obligation to testify at the June 12 Benghazi hearing:
“Seeing Secretary Kerry and others, who have worked to obstruct critical oversight of Congress’ investigations into Benghazi, attempt to use the upcoming June 12 hearing as a shield against the Select Committee tells me it’s time to reassess. 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.
“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. While Speaker Boehner and I had both originally concluded that Secretary Kerry needed to promptly testify and explain why his Department had withheld subpoenaed documents, neither of us immediately recognized how opponents of congressional oversight would use this as an opportunity to distract from the Select Committee’s effort.
“I am extremely proud that the Oversight Committee’s investigation led to a bipartisan vote to establish the Select Committee. Our work pierced the original false accounts introduced by senior Administration officials in the immediate aftermath of the attack, and gave the American people many essential facts about events prior to, during and after that terrible night in Benghazi. As much as we fought to learn what we could, bring critical witnesses forward, and shame the Administration into disclosing more than it originally intended, I expect the Select Committee’s unified jurisdiction will afford it better access to the complete picture than any of its investigative predecessors. In attempting to cover up documents like the September 14 e-mail from Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and other officials have no one but themselves to blame for the increased scrutiny they should soon expect.”
Issa’s statement reads like a bad movie villain who is promising that he will have his revenge. I don’t know how scrutiny could be increased any more than the six previous House Republican Benghazi investigations already have. Issa comes off in this statement like a spoiled child who has had his favorite toy taken away from him. Rep. Issa threw quite a tantrum. He accused Sec. of State Kerry of squirming and the administration of lying.
The California Republican had been trying for weeks to sabotage the House Select Committee on Benghazi after he was left off the panel. Sec. Kerry and the White House used the dueling Republican committees to split the GOP by declaring that Kerry would only testify before one House committee, not both.
House Republican leaders were forced to make a decision. Either they continue to let Issa run wild, or completely take his prized Benghazi investigation away from him.
The truth is that the Obama administration outsmarted Darrell Issa and the House Republicans. Issa can try to put a good face on this, but the reality is that he has been demoted and the Republican Benghazi circus has taken another turn towards revealing itself as a partisan freak sideshow.