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Cummings to Issa: Make Good on Promise— Let American Public Hear from Ambassador Pickering

Jun 6, 2013
Press Release
Washington, DCToday, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa requesting that he honor his commitment to hold a public hearing with Ambassador Thomas Pickering and other members of the Accountability Review Board (ARB) within the next two weeks now that Pickering has complied with Issa’s subpoena and answered questions at a closed-door deposition.  Ambassador Pickering and Admiral Mike Mullen, who led the ARB review of security in Benghazi, have sent two letters requesting the opportunity to testify before the Committee at a public hearing and to answer questions directly from Members of Congress.  Cummings also reiterated a previous request that the Committee hold hearings with top military and intelligence officials to better understand how the U.S. government coordinated its security efforts in Libya and whether lessons can be learned to improve the security of all U.S. officials serving overseas.
 
Below is the full letter:
 
June 6, 2013
 
The Honorable Darrell E. Issa
Chairman
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C.  20515
 
Dear Mr. Chairman:
 
Following yesterday’s deposition of Ambassador Thomas Pickering, I urge you once again to hold a public hearing with Ambassador Pickering and other members of the Accountability Review Board (ARB).  Members of our Committee and the American public deserve to hear directly from these officials, who can describe not only their review of security in Benghazi, but the importance of implementing their recommendations in order to save lives in the future.
 
During our conversation several weeks ago, you stated that you would hold a public hearing with Ambassador Pickering and other ARB members within two weeks of this deposition.  Now that the deposition has occurred, I request that you schedule the hearing for the week of June 17 or June 24.  In addition, I officially confirm, pursuant to Committee Rule 15, that I have no objection to the public release of the transcript of Ambassador Pickering’s deposition, and I request that you release it as soon as possible.
 
As I explained in my letter on May 13, 2013, it is essential that the public hear directly from the ARB members about their findings and recommendations, and that the Committee give them the opportunity to respond at a public hearing to the serious charges you and others have leveled against them, including charges that they engaged in a whitewash to protect former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and to deny accountability at the State Department.
 
I also reiterate the request I made in my May 13, 2013, letter to hold additional hearings with top military and intelligence officials in order to give them an opportunity to address publicly the serious charges that you and other Committee Members have lodged against them, including:  withholding critical military assistance that could have saved American lives in Benghazi; intentionally misleading the American people about the attack; and engaging in a cover-up to conceal their wrongdoing.  Hearing from these officials would assist Committee Members in understanding how the U.S. government coordinated its security efforts in Libya and whether lessons can be learned to improve the security of all U.S. officials serving overseas.
 
            Thank you for your consideration of this request.
 
                                                            Sincerely,
 
 
                                                            Elijah E. Cummings
                                                            Ranking Member
113th Congress