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**Posted by Phineas
No wonder the House Oversight Committee can’t get to interview these people — State is trying desperately to hide them:
Congressman Frank Wolf, a Republican from Virginia, said today on the House floor that survivors of the Benghazi terror attack have been forced to sign non-disclosure agreements:
“On Tuesday I raised the question of why none of the Benghazi survivors, whether State Department, CIA, or private security contract employees have testified publicly before Congress,” said Wolf.
“According to trusted sources that have contacted my office, many if not all of the survivors of the Benghazi attacks along with others at the Department of Defense, the CIA have been asked or directed to sign additional non-disclosure agreements about their involvement in the Benghazi attacks. Some of these new NDAs, as they call them, I have been told were signed as recently as this summer.”
“Asked or directed” meaning “sign or your jobs are on the line.” This is bunk: employees of the federal government cannot be made to sign “non-disclosure agreements” that are proof against an investigation by the People’s elected representatives. This is nothing but browbeating by a cabinet department and White House that is hoping anyone interested in what really happened that night will just give up and go away. It’s time to subpoena not only the survivors, but whoever issued the order to require NDAs and to require them to explain why.
But wait! There’s more!
Wolf continued: “It is worth noting that the Marine Corps Times yesterday reported that the Marine colonel whose task force was responsible for special operations in northern and western Africa at the time of the attack is still on active duty despite claims that he retired. And therefore could not be forced to testify before Congress.
Here’s a quote from the Marine Corps Times piece:
When insurgents attacked the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, last fall, Col. George Bristol held a key post in the region. As commander of Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara, he was in a position to know what options the U.S. had to protect Americans under fire.
U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died in the Sept. 11 attacks, sparking national outcry and a congressional investigation examining the lack of protection. Several U.S. officials have testified before Congress since — but not Bristol, a salty Marine whose task force was responsible for special operations in northern and western Africa.
Defense Department officials have told members of Congress that Bristol cannot be forced to testify because he retired after stepping down during a March change of command ceremony, according to several media reports. The Pentagon reinforced that point of view to Marine Corps Times on Tuesday.
“Col. Bristol was not invited by Congress to testify before he retired,” said Air Force Maj. Robert Firman, a spokesman with the Office of the Secretary of Defense. “The DoD has cooperated fully with Congress and the Accountability Review Board since the beginning of this investigation, and we will continue to do so.”
That isn’t the case, however. While Bristol is preparing for retirement, he is on active duty through the end of July, said Maj. Shawn Haney, a Marine spokeswoman, on Wednesday. He will be placed on the inactive list on Aug. 1, she said. That contradicts statements that Pentagon officials have issued to both Congress and the media.
I’ve mentioned Colonel Bristol, before, and expressed… “skepticism” at the claim that they just didn’t know where he is:
Sure, the Pentagon can’t find him. They have no forwarding address for his mail, no entry for a stateside residence, and no friends who might know how to get in touch with him. Nope. He just retired and walked out that door and vanished, and nobody in the vast US military bureaucracy knows where he is. It’s a real-life case of “Where’s George?”
And yet now we’re told he’ still on active duty for another week? This is looking a lot less like bureaucratic bungling and a lot more like obstruction of congress (PDF). I’m reminded of the wise words of the great Vince Lombardi.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)