Republican members of the House Oversight Committee are criticizing members of a panel looking into last year’s attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi for their cozy relationship with the State Department.
Admiral Michael Mullen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who served as vice chair of the Benghazi Accountability Review Board, told the oversight committee on Thursday that he had advised an aide to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about a witness who was set to testify to Congress about the attack. Mullins also said he had briefed Clinton on the review board’s report, which provided recommendations for internal reforms to the State Department, before it was released.
“Here is what I’m wondering. My guess is a lot of people are wondering. If this is so independent, why are you giving the State Department a heads up about a witness coming in front of this committee?” asked Republican Rep. Jim Jordan.
Mullen said that, as someone who had run multiple organizations, he was notifying Clinton aide Cheryl Mills that he did not believe that Charlene Lamb, who was set to testify before the committee, was an appropriate witness for the State Department to send before the committee.
“I was concerned about her level of experience, and I expressed that to Ms. Mills, and that was it,” Mullen explained.
Under questioning from Jordan, Mullen also noted that “we had a draft report when it was wrapped up. We briefed the Secretary of State.”
In spite of Jordan’s assertions to the contrary, Mullen contended he is “very comfortable” that the review board and its report are “independent.”