Oversight Report: ARB turned Blind Eye in Benghazi

There’s actually two stories here. One is that a 100-page draft report by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has identified the Accountability Review Board (ARB) tasked with investigating the breakdowns at the State Department which led to the deaths of four Americans. The other is who is (and how) it’s being reported.

Issa: ARB protected State Department officials.

Issa: ARB protected State Department officials.

**UPDATE** Here is a link to the now-released report.

Somehow, when it comes to the ARB – as well as information about State Department employees and officials tied to it – the Daily Beast’s Josh Rogin has gotten at least two scoops. The first was last month, when Rogin reported that the State Department had cleared the four employees who had been put on paid leave and that they would be returning to work.

The second appears to be yesterday, when Rogin was one of the first – if not the first – to report that the House Oversight Committee majority has compiled a 100-page draft report which charges that the ARB failed to hold senior administration officials accountable for the lax security at the consulate in Benghazi.

Fox News’ Catherine Herridge reported on the story some hours later. One distinct difference between these two reporters is that Rogin appears to prefer the term “Administrative Review Board” while Herridge – like the authors of the ARB report itself – uses the “Accountability” word when identifying the group.

Via Rogin at the DB:

The Administrative Review Board, chosen by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, unfairly placed the blame for the terrorist attack on four mid-level officials while ignoring the role of very senior officials in Clinton’s State Department for decisions about security in Benghazi, according to the new report led by Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA). Also, the structure of the ARB and the culture in Clinton’s State Department raised questions about the independence and integrity of the review, according to Issa’s committee.

Via Herridge at Fox:

The nearly 100-page report concludes that the State Department’s internal review board — called the Accountability Review Board, or ARB — was flawed. The report by Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee alleges the board’s probe was not comprehensive, its interviews were not thorough, and the investigation itself may have been damaged by conflicts of interest.

Why has Rogin decided to arbitrarily change the name of the ARB from what the ARB named itself?

In general, there wasn’t a huge difference between the two reports but consider this excerpt from Herridge:

As for an alleged conflict of interest, the interim draft states that Kennedy, whom the interim report found to bear significant responsibility for the Benghazi policy, oversaw the selection of the ARB staff. Mullen told investigators he considered the staff’s familiarity with the State Department to be useful. But in at least one instance, Cheryl Mills, who was Clinton’s chief of staff, was given advance warning that her questioning before the ARB would be rough.

As mentioned previously, Rogin has often been the first to report on these kinds of developments relative to the ARB. Speaking of conflicts of interest, we continue to ask why Rogin was in attendance – with ARB chairman Pickering – at what amounts to be a Muslim Brotherhood conference in Doha, Qatar this past June?

Pickering and Rogin: Participants at Qatar Muslim Conference

Pickering and Rogin: Participants at Qatar Muslim Conference

We have been making the case that the Muslim Brotherhood was involved in the attack in Benghazi so why would the head of the ARB and a reporter both be rubbing elbows with Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathizers in Qatar?

Ok, so why would Rogin report on the findings of Issa’s committee at all, if they’re damaging to Pickering, the ARB, and State?

Is it because it’s bad news that’s going to get out anyway and it’s better to be out in front of it than to be caught flat-footed?

One way for us to help answer that question is to learn more about why both Pickering and Rogin were listed as participants at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum this past June?

The full report from the Oversight Committee is supposed to be released to the public later today. We’ll bring it to you.


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