Issa subpoenas four State Department officials in Benghazi probe

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Tuesday subpoenaed four State Department officials as part of his investigation into the administration’s response to the Benghazi, Libya, diplomatic mission attack.

In a sharply worded letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Issa wrote that State chief of staff David Wade has been uncooperative since being first approached in mid-May with the request to make 13 State Department personnel available for depositions.

“I am concerned that waiting weeks or months while the Department prepares witnesses to be interviewed creates the risk that their testimony will have been rehearsed or coached,” Issa wrote. “The Department has left me with no alternative but to issue subpoenas to compel testimony from these important witnesses.”

The witnesses work in two bureaus that were singled out for criticism in the department’s independent audit of security lapses at the U.S. mission.

{mosads}The newly deposed individuals are Eric Boswell, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s former assistant secretary and its former principal deputy assistant secretary; Scott Bultrowicz, the director of the Diplomatic Security Service; and Elizabeth Dibble and Elizabeth Jones, the former principal deputy assistant secretary and the acting assistant secretary at the Bureau Near Eastern Affairs, respectively.

Issa has already deposed the two co-authors of last year’s Accountability Review Board (ARB) investigation into the attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. 

Boswell resigned from his position after the ARB faulted “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” in the two bureaus but remains with the department. 

The three others escaped reprimand, but Democratic lawmakers who attended the deposition of ARB co-author Thomas Pickering earlier this month told The Hill that Issa seemed particularly interested in why Dibble and Jones had escaped punishment while a subordinate without a direct role in overseeing Libya, former deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs Raymond Maxwell, was put on forced administrative leave.

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