Skip to comments.Questions Raised About Independence of Benghazi Review Ahead of Clinton Hearing
Posted on 10/23/2015 9:14:07 AM PDT by WhiskeyX
As Hillary Clinton prepares to testify before the House Benghazi on Thursday, newly released testimony from a senior Clinton aide reveals efforts to influence the conclusions an independent board that earlier investigated the State Departments handling of the 2012 attack.
The Benghazi Accountability Review Board was formed after the assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. It issued a report in December 2012 questioning the leadership at the State Department but ultimately faulted just four mid-level employees.
(Excerpt) Read more at freebeacon.com ...
Did Hillary hand-pick the members of the ARB?
“Did Hillary hand-pick the members of the ARB?”
The former Clinton aide also appeared to corroborate a statement from Admiral Michael Mullen, the vice chairman of the Benghazi Accountability Review Board, who said he tipped Mills off about a potentially problematic witness....Although she said she didnt remember the content of the conversation, she said she was sure that if thats his memory that he would be accurately reflecting what he recalls.
19 Sep 2013
Adm. Mullen Admits Special Ops Told to ‘Hold in Place’ During Benghazi
Thursday, while denying that a stand-down order was given to Special Forces members ready to help Americans who were under siege at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last September, one of the heads of the Benghazi Accountability Review Board (ARB) admitted that a hold in place order was in fact given.
Testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Admiral Mike Mullen said that the direction given to Special Operations Command Africa commander Lt. Col Gibson was to hold in place on the night of the attacks.
Gibson is the boss of Gregory Hicks, the former deputy chief of mission in Libya who had testified that a stand down order was given to Special Forces who wanted to help Americans who were under assault in Libya.
Mullen also said that U.S. aircraft were not at the ready while the attack was ongoing. He claimed there was a physics problem in addition to a time and distance problem that prevented the United States from providing immediate air cover.
House GOP Grills Pickering, Mullen on Benghazi and Whitewash Govt Investigation
Sep. 19, 2013 5:30pm
Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., called the report by Pickering and Mullen a whitewash and asked why Clinton and Tom Donilon, then Obamas national security adviser, werent interviewed. Pickering said they werent involved in Benghazi security decisions.
If the secretary wasnt involved, I must be on another planet, Mica answered.
Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina later asked Mullen if he interviewed President Barack Obama.
Benghazi investigators gave Hillary Clinton heads-up on findings
By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times - Thursday, September 19, 2013
The leaders of the State Departments Benghazi probe defended their inquiry into the 2012 attack, but they acknowledged to Congress on Thursday that their mission was limited in scope and faced questions over why they gave Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton an advance look at their findings.
Retired Adm. Mike Mullen, vice chairman of the accountability review board, also acknowledged that he had warned Mrs. Clintons chief of staff not to send a particular official to Congress because he thought she would be a weak witness who might have hurt the State Departments stance.
If this is so independent, why are you giving the State Department a heads-up about a witness coming in front of this committee? said Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican. He said the warning came just days after Adm. Mullen had been appointed to the review board.
Also Thursday, Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican and chairman of the oversight committee, said he has signed subpoenas to demand testimony from two witnesses who he said talked to the review board but whom the State Department has refused to allow to talk to Congress.
The State Department has not made those people available, has played hide-and-go-seek and is now hiding behind a thinly veiled statement that there is a criminal investigation, Mr. Issa said.
Questions about the ARBs review and independence have been raised since it was revealed that it chose not to record or transcribe interviews, and that it decided not to interview key figures, including then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Conflict of interest concerns were raised when ARB co-chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, who was placed by Clinton, admitted that he tipped off Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills about someone he viewed as a weak witness for the State Department who had been called to testify before Congress.
Clintons Accountability Review Board Was Hardly Independent
Hillary Clinton - October 22, 2015
ARB Co-Chair Admiral Mike Mullen Acknowledged That Clinton Appointed Four Out Of The Five Members Of The Accountability Review Board (ARB). REP. JOHN MICA (R-MI): You didnt interview the Secretary of State. She appointed four out of the five members, is that correct, of the Board? ADMIRAL MIKE MULLEN. She did. (Admiral Mike Mullen, Committee On Oversight And Government Reform, U.S. House Of Representatives, Testimony, 9/19/13)
Clinton Counsel Beth Jones Acknowledged Close, Professional Relationships With An ARB Co-Chair And Its Executive Director. Also, the committee identified several conflicts of interest between the ARB and the people it was investigating. Jones admitted to the committee that she had close personal and professional relationships with both Pickering and the executive director of the ARB staff, Uzra Zeya. (Josh Rogin, Congress: Hillarys Benghazi Investigation Let Top Officials Escape Blame, The Daily Beast, 9/15/13)
The ARB Gave A Top Clinton Aide A Heads-Up Of Embarrassing Testimony About The State Department
The ARB Notified A Top Clinton Aide Of The Embarrassing Testimony About The State Department. REP. JORDAN: All right. In that same interview with committee staff, you were asked, did you update the State Department in the course of the ARB? You replied, quote, Shortly after we interviewed Ms. Lamb, Charlene Lamb, I initiated a call to Ms. Mills to give her a heads up because at this point, Ms. Lamb was on the list to come over here to testify. Now, is the over here to testify — is that in reference to when Ms. Lamb testified in front of this committee? MULLEN: In October. JORDAN: In October? MULLEN: Yes, sir. (House Committee On Oversight And Government Reform, Reviews Of The Benghazi Attack And Unanswered Questions, 9/19/13)
The ARB Gave Clinton And Her Top Aide A Copy Of ARB Report Before It Was Made Public. REP. JIM JORDAN: Did Cheryl Mills — two last questions, if I could, Mr. Chairman. Did Cheryl Mills get to see this report before it went public? MIKE MULLEN: We had a draft report when it was wrapped up. We specifically briefed the secretary of State... JORDAN: Also... MULLEN: ... for a couple of hours, and Ms. Mills was in the room. JORDAN: So, both Cheryl Mills and Hillary Clinton got to see this report before it went public? MULLEN: It was submit — we were — the report was... JORDAN: Let me ask you the last one. MULLEN: The report was submitted to her. The secretary of State made a decision... JORDAN: So, before December 18th... MULLEN: ... to release it. JORDAN: ... they both got to see it? (Committee On Oversight And Government Reform, U.S. House Of Representatives, Hearing, 9/19/13)
During her testimony, Mills also denied claims by former State Department staffer Ray Maxwell that Clinton aides were part of an operation to ‘separate’ damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks, according to his interview with the conservative Daily Signal website, and that Mills ran into him at a weekend session of the operation and questioned his presence. I never had an encounter with Ray Maxwell around Benghazi, she said.
Mills also spoke about Admiral Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs who served as vice chairman of the ARB. He at one point called Mills to tell her that one witness scheduled to go before a congressional investigation would not reflect well on the Department, according to questions. Mills said she didn’t remember the call but had no reason to believe that Mullen was wrong and believed his reservations might have had to do with the witness’s ability to give accurate or clear testimony. While she denied that she or Clinton tried to influence its conclusions, Mills acknowledged that she read a draft of the ARB report before publication and suggested edits. I certainly made recommendations for places where I thought there were inaccuracies or misstatements, she testified.
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