July 19 2013
We’re used to a lot of hand-wringing about the supposed ills of gridlock on Capitol Hill.
What I’d like to see some anguish about stonewalling by the administration. Such stonewalling keeps the public from finding out about very important actions taken by government officials.
Rep. Elijah Cummings is attempting to hold down the fort in the House with regard to the IRS scandal.
But it appears that the administration has taken steps to ensure that we never hear from survivors of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi. Survivors appear to have been gagged:
Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., is calling on the Obama administration to explain why the survivors of last year's deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya, were reportedly asked to sign non-disclosure agreements that prevent them from talking about the attack.
In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and CIA Director John Brennan, Wolf said his office has received reports that some survivors of the attack were asked to sign the confidentiality agreement as recently as this summer.
"If these reports are accurate, it would raise serious questions about additional restrictions the State Department has placed on those with knowledge of the Benghazi attacks," Wolf said in the letter. "I also worry about the impact of any [non-disclosure agreements] on congressional efforts to understand fully what happened that night and why the agency responded as it did."
Wolf also noted that the Marine colonel who was responsible for special ops in Northern and Western Africa on Sept. 11 is still on active duty and not, as the officials claimed, retired and thus not available to testify before Congress. It is believed that 37 U.S. survivors of that night in Benghazi were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements.
Breitbart News broke a story about non-disclosure agreements required of Benghazi survivors in February. They were reportedly asked to sign after being interviewed by the FBI. According to a lawyer who is an expert on federal employment, as quoted by Bretbart, the signees were likely intelligence officers who, unlike State Department officials, are not protected by whistleblower laws. He added that State Department employees do, however, sign non-disclosure agreements.
But it would be consistent with law that the survivors would be permitted to tell Congress.
So far Congress has been thwarted in its attempts to find out what happened in Benghazi.
This is completely consistent with the Obama administration’s policies with regard to transparency, which seemingly can be summed up this way: Catch us, if you can.