House Committee Grills State Dept Official on Benghazi

At yesterday’s House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, Undersecretary for Management at the State Department, Patrick Kennedy testified about the Accountability Review Board’s findings relative to security at Benghazi before the attack last year. In an exchange between Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), Royce seems to refer to the findings in a report from the House Oversight Committee dated two days earlier.

Ed Royce: Chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee

Ed Royce: Chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee

Here is an excerpt from the report:

The Committee has reviewed documents and obtained witness testimony that calls into question whether the ARB process and structure give the Board the independence necessary to conduct an objective and fair evaluation. As currently structured, the ARB is heavily reliant on the State Department for personnel and resources. The Secretary convenes the ARB and nominates four of five members, and the Department provides the necessary staff and resources. Such heavy reliance on State Department employees and resources has the potential to create not only the appearance of a conflict of interest, but also actual conflicts. For example, UnderSecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy supervised the selection of the Benghazi ARB staff. {emphasis ours}

Royce addressed this with Kennedy. Also, take note at the end that Kennedy actually thinks reassigning four employees to a new job – without losing one paycheck – is sufficient accountability when talking about security lapses that led to the deaths of four Americans:

Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) also addressed the accountability issue but he also asked Kennedy if he thought that Ansar Al-Sharia was responsible for the attack in Benghazi. Kennedy didn’t seem all that comfortable answering that question. Of course, Ansar Al-Sharia also operates out of Egypt.

You’ll note that Poe attempted to ask one more question and the Chairman suggested the next congressman defer to Poe if he’d like. That congressman was Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), who did just that. Here is Poe being afforded the opportunity to ask his last question, followed by Duncan’s questioning of Kennedy:

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) questioned Kennedy as well. During his questioning, Rohrabacher asked Kennedy of an autopsy had been performed on Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Kennedy did not know if or why those results had not been made available to Congress. Something else to watch for in this clip, toward the end. In response to Rohrabacher’s question to Kennedy about who created the narrative that a video was responsible for the attack in Benghazi, Kennedy said he didn’t know but then said something quite ridiculous. He said the attack in Cairo from hours earlier was caused by the video. Lost on Kennedy was the protests outside the embassy in Cairo that very day that was demanding the release of the Blind Sheikh:

Speaking of the Blind Sheikh, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), who also chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, listed attacks on the Benghazi compound prior to September 11th and identified the Blind Sheikh brigades as being responsible. This would bolster our research that indicates an Egyptian connection to the Benghazi attacks. Kennedy didn’t address the issue of the Blind Sheikh in either case:

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH)In this exchange, Kennedy continues to insist that putting four lower level employees on extended paid leave and changing their job titles is severe punishment.

In this exchange between Kennedy and Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Chabot asked Kennedy if he thought Hillary Clinton had been held accountable, considering she took full responsibility.

Kennedy could not answer…

This is a very interesting exchange between Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) and Kennedy. Take note of the man to Perry’s right; it is Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), a strong right-wing congressman who has been at the center of controversy on more than one occasion.


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