White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that the State Department’s special accountability review board — charged with investigating the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya — was led by an “unimpeachable” team.
Carney was attempting to deflect concerns about the administration’s integrity following reports Monday that American special forces were told to stand down in their attempts to move from Tripoli to Benghazi during the attack.
One of the top American diplomats in Libya during the attack, Gregory Hicks, reportedly told congressional investigators last month that a special forces team was told they lacked the authority to go in, despite their proximity to the nearly 7-hour-long fight.
“He’s challenging the credibility of the White House. You don’t care about what he’s saying? Do you think he’s lying?” Fox News’ Ed Henry challenged Carney during Monday’s White House press conference.
“Again Ed, you’re citing an interview that I don’t have,” Carney responded.
“I’m saying that there was an accountability review board led by two men of unimpeachable expertise and credibility,” Carney said, referring to Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering and Admiral Michael Mullen, “who oversaw a process that was rigorous and unsparing, that was highly critical in some areas and that produced a series of recommendations that have all been acted on by the State Department, as the president insisted be the case.”
Fox News reported last Thursday that the State Department’s Office of Inspector General is now investigating that review board.
“The IG’s office is said by well-placed sources to be seeking to determine whether the Accountability Review Board, or ARB — led by former U.N. Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen — failed to interview key witnesses who had asked to provide their accounts of the Benghazi attacks to the panel,” Fox News reported.