Published March 06, 2013
Six months after the Sept. 11 terror attack in Benghazi, Republican lawmakers are fuming that they haven’t been granted access to the survivors – several of whom, Fox News has learned, are still recovering at Walter Reed military hospital.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told Fox News on Wednesday that he spoke to a “handful of people” when he visited Libya shortly after the attack but has struggled to gain access to the survivors ever since.
“We want talk to the survivors -- they won’t do that. And then the president has the gall to go on television and say ‘oh, we’re providing all the access’? Baloney. Bull-crap. That is not happening.”
Estimates of how many Americans were injured in the Libya assault vary.
Reps. Frank Wolf, R-Va., and Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., claim sources have told them up to 30 were injured, and up to seven may still be at Walter Reed. “Several may have required amputations,” they wrote in a letter to colleagues last week.
A source close to the survivors, though, told Fox News that seven were injured – not 30 – and that at least three are still at Walter Reed. Another may be recovering in California. The source said one of the injured underwent a partial leg amputation. Another is suffering from smoke inhalation and possible brain injury.
Fox News has been told that some of the survivors work in clandestine services and do not want their names made public, though they do wonder why nobody from key committees has called them in for closed hearings to testify on what transpired that night.
Chaffetz claimed Wednesday that the administration “will not give us the names.”
He said one person who went to the hospital even had their “name changed” on hospital records so as not to be identified.
The State Department has declined to say how many survivors were injured or hospitalized.
Secretary of State John Kerry, in an interview with Fox News, revealed Tuesday that he has visited one of the survivors in Bethesda, Md. – the location of the Walter Reed military hospital.
Kerry described the survivor as “remarkably courageous” and doing “very, very well.” He also said he also talked to the unnamed survivor’s wife.
Asked when the public might hear from the survivors, Kerry said “I can’t tell you – I don’t know what the circumstances are of any requests to talk to them or not.”
Wolf and Gerlach wrote a letter to Kerry March 1 formally requesting access to the survivors and asking for details about their condition.
They claim those injured may be a combination of State Department employees, CIA officials and security contractors.
“Having served in Benghazi, the perspective of these individuals would provide valuable insight to a dark day in American history – a day which is still shrouded in much mystery,” they wrote.
Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin, James Rosen and Catherine Herridge contributed to this report.