Rep. Elijah Cummings is pushing back on a new report released Monday by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa about last year's Benghazi attack. The report criticizes the review board that looked into the attack that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, and called it a flawed investigation.
"This Republican report is not an official Committee report, but rather a completely partisan staff report that the Chairman apparently didn't want Committee Members to see before he leaked it to the press," Cummings, the ranking member of the Oversight Committee, said in a statement Monday night.
He added that Issa and House Republicans are only focusing on politicizing the investigation "in an effort to launch unsubstantiated accusations against the Pentagon, the State Department, the President, and now the ARB [Accountability Review Board] itself."
Issa's report accused the State Department of creating "the public appearance of accountability" by reinstating the four employees relieved of their duties by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In response, Cummings released a previously undisclosed letter the State Department had sent to Issa last month that argued that the four employees were stripped of duties involving worldwide security, and that the Department is "permanently relieving them of the positions and duties that gave rise to the ARB's findings."
Cummings also released a report entitled "Fact v. Fiction: Top Ten Unfounded Allegations About the Attacks in Benghazi" to counter Issa's accusations.
The House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing Thursday as part of its ongoing investigation into the Benghazi attack, where ARB Chairman Amb. Thomas Pickering and Vice Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen are expected to testify.
"Ambassador Pickering and Admiral Mullen are respected public servants who dedicated their lives to this country, and accusations that they engaged in a 'cover-up' at Secretary Clinton's bidding are completely unfounded," Cummings said.