Attorney Victoria Toensing, who represents one of the State Department employees with information on the Benghazi terrorist attack, said the Obama administration is “stonewalling” the investigation Wednesday on “America Live.”
After reports the State Department had, after repeated requests, finally issued instructions on how lawyers representing Benghazi whistleblowers could attain permission to handle classified information, Toensing said this administration was used to not responding to Congressional inquiries.
“I think it surprised them all of a sudden pressure is being put on,” Toensing said. “How you can believe that a letter written April 16 by Darrell Issa requesting this process, and then again another letter to the Secretary April 26, nobody responded until today? This simple letter that came out today could have been written April 17. Why did they do that? Because they always have been able to get by with it. That’s why.”
From April 16 to April 26, Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) of the House Oversight Committee sent four letters to the State Department, CIA and Department of Defense requesting information for lawyers representing Benghazi witnesses.
Pressure for answers rose when reports surfaced Monday that Benghazi witnesses had been threatened by unnamed Obama administration officials, and Obama was asked about the reports himself at a Tuesday press conference.
Toensing said Tuesday the administration was engaging in “subtle intimidation” of witnesses who could divulge sensitive information to Congress, insinuating threats to job security.
““They’re not telling them they’re going to put them through the guillotine tomorrow,” Toensing told the Washington Free Beacon. “It’s subtle intimidation … People understand that if they talk, they’re going to lose a job or not get the next promotion, or if they’ve been there long enough they should retire.”
President Obama claimed Tuesday to have no knowledge of reports of witnesses being blocked but pledged a full inquiry into the matter. This denial drew skepticism from media commentators, given the extensive coverage by Fox News the night before his press conference and the fact that the network’s own Ed Henry, president of the White House Correspondents Association, was given the first question.