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GOP Claims Benghazi Probe Not Aimed At Hillary Clinton

Danny Lee |
May 12, 2013 | 10:58 a.m. PDT

Executive Producer


Critics are questioning former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's leadership during the administration's response to last year's Benghazi attack. (pennstatenews/Creative Commons)
Critics are questioning former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's leadership during the administration's response to last year's Benghazi attack. (pennstatenews/Creative Commons)
A top Republican critic denied charges on Sunday that GOP efforts to investigate last year’s Benghazi attack are designed to inflict political harm to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

During an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa reiterated that, “Hillary Clinton’s not a target. President Obama is not a target.” Issa is leading a panel probing the assault on the diplomatic outpost that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Issa, a California Republican, is seeking testimonies from Benghazi review board heads Ambassador Thomas Pickering and retired Adm. Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Pickering, who led an independent review on behalf of the State Department, refused to testify at last week’s hearing.

SEE ALSO: GOP Pushes Benghazi Investigation Forward

"I said the day before the hearings I was willing to appear, to come from the very hearings [Issa] excluded me from," Pickering told NBC. "We were told the majority said I was not welcome at that hearing; I could come at some other time."

Pickering’s report, released late last year, found “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” at the State Department leading up to the Benghazi attack, CNN reported. One State Department official resigned, while three others were placed on administrative leave and relieved of their duties immediately after the report’s release.

SEE ALSO: Benghazi Review Causes State Department Resignations

But some Republican critics said the report did not include accounts from witnesses who were on the ground as the attack happened, claiming that it was too easy on Clinton. Pickering said Clinton had no say in the security decisions that were made.

“She has already made clear the buck stopped with her,” Pickering told CNN. “But we were interested in where the decisions were made. And she did not make the security decisions.” 

Clinton is widely considered the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, should she decide to run. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) suggested on CBS News’s “Face the Nation” that Republicans are aiming to link Clinton’s name with Benghazi to derail her 2016 White House hopes.

“The reason she wasn’t interviewed was she didn’t have any direct-line responsibility for the decisions that were made, but they want to bring her in because they think it’s a good political show, and I think that’s unfortunate,” Durbin said. 


Read more Neon Tommy stories on Benghazi here.

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