Former Ambassador Thomas Pickering, a veteran diplomat from the Reagan and Bush administrations, co-authored the independent report on the Benghazi attack, and is eager to provide additional information to lawmakers investigating September’s deadly violence. It’s proving to be more difficult than it should be.
Over the weekend, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Pickering “refused to come before our committee,” but Issa was lying. Pickering actually asked to appear before the panel, but Republican committee members, including Issa, chose not to extend an invitation.
Issa ultimately said he’d consider Pickering’s testimony, but only if the public isn’t permitted to hear the former ambassador has to say. Pickering said today he’ll be happy to testify, but not in secret.
Thomas R. Pickering, chairman of the State Department review board that examined the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, said Thursday he is willing to testify in an open hearing but will not submit to the closed-door interview requested by House oversight committee’s chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)
In a letter to Issa, Pickering and the co-chairman of the Accountability Review Board, former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mike Mullen, wrote that Issa had “taken liberal license to call into question the Board’s work” and made charges that deserve to be answered in a public hearing.
If there’s a logical explanation for Issa’s position, it’s a well-kept secret. The far-right California Republican loves Benghazi hearings, and invited as many reporters and cameras as the physical space will allow, but when it comes to one of the two people who oversaw an independent investigation of the incident, Issa all of a sudden wants to close the doors and keep the sunshine out.
It’s almost as if Issa knows Pickering’s facts will interfere with his partisan crusade and prefers some kind of … cover-up.