CBS's Sharyl Attkisson Kept Off the Air For 4 Months on Benghazi

September 16, 2013 - 1:09 PM
CBS's Sharyl Attkisson Kept Off the Air For 4 Months on Benghazi

From the 16 September 2013 edition of CBS This Morning:

SHARYL ATTKISSON (voice-over): Last May, the head of the Accountability Review Board, Thomas Pickering, told Bob Schieffer that investigators didn't need to interview Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or her top deputies. That decision to skip in-depth interviews with key officials is cited as evidence of a potential conflict of interest in today's Republican House Oversight Committee report.

The report says State Department Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy supervised selection of the A.R.B. staff, even as his own role was part of the investigation. Several State Department officials told congressional investigators that Kennedy authorized the Benghazi compound to operate as a temporary facility exempted from regular security guidelines, which posed security challenges; and sent home the specialized military security team that Ambassador Christopher Stevens and his staff had asked to keep in Libya.

The A.R.B. blamed four of Kennedy's subordinates for security lapses. But State Department witnesses testified those employees sometimes had little to no responsibility for the poor decisions.

ATTKISSON (on-camera): Congressional Democrats and the State Department defend the A.R.B. as one of the most comprehensive reviews in history. The lead Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, Elijah Cummings, said – quote, 'Republicans have politicized the investigation, in a systemic effort to launch unsubstantiated allegations.' The fight will continue later this week, when Pickering is set to testify before the House Oversight Committee.