CIA director clears Benghazi survivors to talk to lawmakers

House Oversight Committee member Rep. Chaffetz responds


New details about what happened the night of the Benghazi terror attack one year ago may finally be made public. 

CIA Director John Brennan now says his agency will make survivors of the Benghazi attack available to talk to lawmakers, in a possible breakthrough for members of Congress investigating the strike.

Brennan made his comments in a three-page response to a letter sent to him by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers.

The Sept. 3 letter comes as five separate House committees are investigating the attack and demanding why no one has been held responsible or brought to justice.

“You cannot have an attack on the mission, 12 months later identified a good number of the participants, and have absolutely no consequences for the taking of American lives,” Rogers said. 

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Brennan’s comments were in response to an Aug. 2 letter from Rogers who asked  the head of the CIA a series of question on Benghazi including whether survivors were told not to come forward and share their first-hand account of what happened that bloody night in Libya.

“To the best of my knowledge after inquiry, I am unaware of any such officer who has been threatened with reprisals,” Brennan wrote. “Information identifying those officers is classified. We will work with the Committee to provide the relevant information via classified channels.”

The leaders of an independent review board that investigated the Benghazi attack are scheduled to testify at a House hearing next week. 

Rep. Issa announced Wednesday that retired Adm. Mike Mullen and former Ambassador Thomas Pickering will appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Sept. 19.

The various investigations into the attacks have had virtually no input from those on the ground during the assault. 

The House Intelligence Committee has twice heard from an agency official who was present but none of the transcribed interviews conducted so far by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has done much of the investigating of the Benghazi attacks, were with on-the-ground survivors of the attack, the Weekly Standard reported.

Earlier this week, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., along with Frank Gaffney, Jr., president and CEO of the Center for Security Policy, pushed for the formation of a House select committee. Wolf said more than 172 lawmakers had signed on to his petition.

One day following the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, President Obama promised to track down those responsible and bring them to justice.

For Pat Smith, whose son Sean was one of the four Americans killed in the attack, trying to get answers from the government on what happened has been both frustrating and fruitless.

“I’m not important enough,” she told Fox News on Wednesday. “I have gotten no answers. Where are they? Where?”

During a 9/11 memorial ceremony  at the Pentagon, Obama mentioned the four Americans killed in the Benghazi attack.

“We pray for all those who have stepped forward in those years of war – diplomats who serve in dangerous posts, as we saw this day last year in Benghazi, intelligence professionals, often unseen and unheralded who protect us in every way – our men and women in uniform who defend this country that we love,” Obama said.

The White House also cited the Benghazi attack in a statement released Tuesday night about security preparations for 9/11.

"September 11th has been a day of remembrance for 12 years for Americans and others around the world. The events of last year, losing four brave Americans -- Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods -- brought home the reality of the challenges we face in the world,” the statement said. "We remain committed to bringing the perpetrators of the Benghazi attacks to justice and to ensuring the safety of our brave personnel serving overseas."

Smith wasn’t convinced.

“What do I think of it? I think it’s a bunch of bullfeathers,” she said on Fox News.

Meanwhile in Benghazi, a car bomb detonated Wednesday morning causing serious damage to Libya's Foreign Ministry building, as well as the building next door housing the Benghazi branch of the Libyan Central Bank.

"The car had a large amount of explosives and was placed just next to the building,'' Abdullah Zaidi, a local security official, told Reuters.

The officials told The Associated Press that several passers-by were slightly injured by the blast, which blew out windows in nearby buildings.