by Peter Grady –
Congressman Darrell Issa’s investigation of the events surrounding the Benghazi attack which killed a U.S. Ambassador and three other Americans appears to be playing out like a rerun of the Fast and Furious investigation.
Issa, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, has been conducting a series of events into the attack after the administration issued contradictory statements about the attack, choosing for several days to insist the attack was because of a video that Muslims say mocks Muhammed.
Administration officials have attempted to place the blame for their statements about the film on intelligence agencies, saying they were the ones who provided the information that terrorism had nothing to do with the attack.
However, it was revealed that intelligence agencies had video footage the day of the attack indicating it clearly was a terrorist attack. Embassy officials also warned of security concerns in communications sent to Washington officials prior to the attack. Vice-President Joe Biden said the government was not aware of these security concerns.
Biden’s statement came during the vice-presidential debate which was just a day after Congress heard testimony that embassy officials had in fact expressed their concerns to Washington.
As the investigation continues, it appears it could end up being like a bad rerun of the Fast and Furious investigation. Fast and Furious was a program begun by the Obama administration to allow illegal guns to be purchased in the U.S. by the Mexican drug cartels and cross the border into Mexico. There was no effort made to ensure the guns could be tracked once they left the country.
The guns have been used to cause the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry as well as several Mexican nationals. During the investigation, the Obama administration asserted executive privilege in an attempt to prevent Issa’s committee from obtaining the information it needed.
The obstructions resulted in Attorney General, Eric Holder, being found in contempt of Congress for not honoring a subpoena. During the hearings, Democrats criticized the investigation for being conducted saying it was politically motivated.
Appearing on Face the Nation Oct. 14, Issa said the hearing was not simply based on why the administration continued to say a video was responsible for the attack long after evidence to the contrary was revealed, but was why the Obama administration ignored security concerns.
“Everybody who works throughout the Middle East is at risk if we can’t get the security level right,” Issa said.
Democrats have attempted to blame Republicans for the security lapses, saying they cut the security budget by $300 million. Biden mentioned this figure during last week’s debate.
However, Issa claims that there is a $2.2 billion discretionary fund available for the State Department to use for security if they needed it. He suggested the issue was not one of money, but of the administration wanting to avoid the appearance of security concerns in the country.
Issa went on to say this was Obama’s “Mission Accomplished” moment, a reference to a banner placed by sailors on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln behind President George W. Bush when he gave a speech announcing victory in Iraq.
However, like the Fast and Furious investigations, Democrats are again saying the investigation is solely about politics.
Appearing after Issa, Rep. Elijah Cummings, who is a member of the Black Congressional Caucus and the leading Democrat on the committee, was asked if there was legitimate concerns to be addressed. Cummings said the FBI should be left alone to do the investigation and Congress should not be looking into the issue.
Cummings said Congress, “rushed to a hearing” and, “This is not the way to do it. We have an FBI hearing going on.” He went on to say Congress was only conducting the hearing to give Mitt Romney “talking points” to use during the campaign.