Lawyer up, Issa warns CIA staff.....
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is pushing ahead with his investigation of last year’s fatal attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, by preparing federal agencies to allow employees to lawyer up.
In separate letters to the legal offices of the CIA, State Department and Defense Department, Issa said some witnesses on the issue might need lawyers, if their agencies decide to retaliate against them for their testimony.
“During the course of the investigation, numerous individuals have approached the committee with information related to the attack,” wrote Issa in the letters, which were obtained by The Hill.
He asked agencies to provide details on how to grant outside attorneys the security clearances necessary for them to adequately represent employees discussing classified matters with congressional investigators.
“Some witnesses may be required to retain personal counsel to represent them before the committee and in the event the agency subsequently retaliates against them for cooperating with the committee’s investigation,” he said.
“Additional witnesses may be compelled by subpoena to give testimony to the committee and can be reasonably expected to retain personal counsel at that time.”
The letters are the latest sign that Issa is ramping up his investigation of the Benghazi attack and potential security and managerial failures that led up to it. He initially launched the probe last year, about a month after the attack.
Issa also warned the agencies against taking negative action toward any employees that help his panel with its investigation.
“[I]t is important that the agency makes clear to its employees that they are free to furnish information to Congress in accordance with their statutory rights,” wrote Issa.
“Additionally, retaliation against a witness who communicates with the committee can be considered obstruction of a congressional investigation and is punishable by fine and imprisonment.”
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Myself, I would say Issa is going to put to rest all of those claims about how Managerial Failures lead up to a Big Fat Nothing.