Issa intends to depose officials behind State Dept. Benghazi review

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) wants to take sworn deposition from the officials behind a State Department board which reviewed the Benghazi attack.

Issa said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he planned to request a deposition from former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and retired Admiral Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The two helmed an investigation into the September terrorist attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

ADVERTISEMENT
Issa said the White House "effectively lied" to the public about the nature of the attack, by initially downplaying an terrorist aspects and saying the attack was more spontaneous and mob-oriented.

"The real truth is the people who were there in Tripoli and Benghazi knew it was a terror attack from the get-go," he said. "When the wheels come off, when in fact people make a decision to give us something that's false and then that's shown to be false, of course we have an obligation to look at it."

Issa's panel heard from three current and former State Department employee "whistleblowers" on Wednesday.

ABC News reported Friday that drafts of talking points on the attack showed that the State Department and White House made edits to them 12 different times. Issa said those changes amount to "manipulating the CIA to get the truth you want."

"How could you change talking points 12 times from what seem to be relatively right to what seems to be completely wrong?"

Some Democrats have accused Republicans of inflating mistakes at Benghazi in an effort to discredit former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ahead of a potential 2016 presidential run, but Issa dismissed those claims.

"Hillary Clinton's not a target. President Obama is not a target," he said.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Republicans were looking to assign "ulterior motives" to the Benghazi response she does not believe existed.

"I don't think you can question that there was malevolence on the part of the president or the secretary of State or anyone else," she said on the program. "Every effort has been made to turn this into something diabolical. I don't see that."

More in News

Kerry calls for review of State's email practices

Read more »