Foreign Policy reports:
The State Department told reporters Friday afternoon that it won’t answer any more questions about the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans until the investigation into the incident is complete.
“I’m going to frustrate all of you, infinitely, by telling you that now that we have an open FBI investigation on the death of these four Americans, we are not going to be in a position to talk at all about what the U.S. government may or may not be learning about how any of this this happened — not who they were, not how it happened, not what happened to Ambassador Stevens, not any of it — until the Justice Department is ready to talk about the investigation that’s its got,” State Department spokeswoman Victorian Nuland told reporters late Friday afternoon.
“So I’m going to send to the FBI for those kinds of questions and they’re probably not going to talk to you about it,” she said.
All aspects of the attack, including what led up to it, its causes, the identity of the perpetrators, and the circumstances surrounding the death of Amb. Chris Stevens and the other three Americans, are off limits for reporters.
Are you surprised that the United States Department of State is closing ranks and refusing to account for its actions? Are you really?
Daily Caller, February 4, 2010:
Struck Down: Feds refuse to explain how agent injured Daily Caller writer
The State Department has refused to answer basic questions about an accident that took place in Washington on Wednesday night, in which a U.S. Diplomatic Security Service vehicle struck Daily Caller employee Sean Medlock as he was crossing the street.
An agent in the vehicle, Mike McGuinn, did not identify himself to Medlock at the scene, or apologize for running him down. Indeed, Washington, D.C., police drove to a local emergency room to serve Medlock with a jaywalking citation as he lay prostrate in a hospital bed, while a man who identified himself as “special agent” stood by watching and taking notes.
Reached on his cell phone the following day by the Daily Caller, McGuinn refused to answer questions about the incident.
“I’m a federal agent and I’m not allowed to talk to the media,” McGuinn said, citing “liability.” McGuinn initially declined even to reveal which agency he works for. “You can refer to the [DC] police department report,” he said before hanging up abruptly. (According the police department, no report will be publicly available for at least three days.)
According to Medlock, who writes under the name Jim Treacher, he was struck at about 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday, while crossing M Street in downtown Washington. Medlock says he was walking within the bounds of the crosswalk, toward a blinking white signal, when a government SUV suddenly turned left and plowed into him, knocking him to the ground.
Bystanders tended to Medlock, collected his crushed glasses and called an ambulance. McGuinn, meanwhile, called The Daily Caller’s offices from the scene to tell Medlock’s colleagues about the incident. But he did not identify himself to them or to Medlock.
Medlock was taken to Georgetown University Hospital with a broken left knee, lacerations and bruises. He will undergo surgery later this week.
At the hospital, DC police officer John Muniz arrived to issue Medlock a $20 jaywalking ticket. Medlock was lying sedated on a gurney, so Muniz delivered the ticket to a Daily Caller colleague, who was at the hospital with Medlock. He looked embarrassed as he did so. Behind him stood a man dressed in a dark suit who identified himself as a “special agent.” He said nothing but wrote in a notebook.
Curiously, the ticket says that Medlock was struck at an intersection four blocks from where the accident actually took place. And it claims that Medlock was walking diagonally across the intersection at the time. In one of his strikingly short conversations with the Daily Caller, agent Mike McGuinn acknowledged that Medlock was not jaywalking at all, but walking “outside the crosswalk when the incident occurred.”
The question is: Did the federal agent driving the SUV, faced with potential liabilities from the accident, encourage local police to issue some sort – any sort – of citation to Medlock, to establish his culpability?
If not, what exactly did happen? Calls to the State Department were met with evasion and indifference. Spokeswoman Grace Moe first asked a Daily Caller reporter where the publication’s offices were located before taking a message.
A second DSS spokeswoman, Sarah Rosetti, requested that questions be submitted in writing. When she responded in an e-mail, Rosetti claimed that “a jogger collided with one of the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service’s official vehicles” – as if Medlock, who does not jog, had somehow attacked the SUV.
“At all times, Diplomatic Security acted responsibly and appropriately and displayed due diligence in caring for the injured,” Rosetti continued.
Rosetti ignored a series of questions about whether McGuinn was on or off duty, who he might have been escorting or protecting, whether McGuinn identified himself to police at the scene of the accident, and whether McGuinn had anything to do with the jaywalking citation.
She said MPD had “conducted an investigation” of the incident and referred questions about the investigation to MPD.
MPD provided several answers about the level of detail they would be able to provide. MPD public affairs said a police report would not be available until early next week at the soonest. A Daily Caller reporter who visited the Second District station, where Officer Muniz posts, was told there will be no incident report at all filed for a traffic incident.
The Daily Caller will continue to press for answers. In the meantime here are the questions sent by The Daily Caller to the Diplomatic Security Services public affairs office, followed by the responses.
Was Mr. McGuinn protecting any member of the diplomatic corps when his SUV struck our Mr. Medlock? If so, who was he protecting? If he was not protecting or escorting anyone, was he on duty or off duty?
Was Mr. McGuinn driving a state department vehicle?
Did Mr. McGuinn at any time identify himself to Mr. Medlock or to Metropolitan Police? Did he accompany Mr. Medlock to the hospital?
Did Mr. McGuinn contact MPD to have them write Mr. Medlock a jaywalking ticket that was delivered to Mr. Medlock while he was in the hospital being treated for a broken knee (which will require surgery), lacerations and bruises? If so, do you consider that ethical or proper behavior?
Did a diplomatic security service special agent accompany the MPD officer into the hospital room while Mr. Medlock was being questioned, observe and take notes? Was that officer Mr. McGuinn?
Does Mr. McGuinn contend that Mr. Medlock was jaywalking?
Did Mr. McGuinn apologize to Mr. Medlock after the incident? Does the State Department plan on issuing an apology to Mr. Medlock?
Will any disciplinary action be taken against Mr. McGuinn? Is this the first time he has been involved in a vehicular accident?
At approximately 7:10 PM last night, a jogger collided with one of the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service’s official vehicles.
The jogger was transported by ambulance to Georgetown University Hospital.
Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) responded to the scene and conducted an investigation. Diplomatic Security has since learned that the jogger was cited for Jaywalking. For further details regarding the investigation, we would refer you to MPD.
At all times, Diplomatic Security acted responsibly and appropriately and displayed due diligence in caring for the injured.
In case you’re confused, those “answers” are complete and utter horsecrap.
Yes, that is where it stands to this day. Yes, my lawyers are still working on it. And no, I’m not okay.
You’re outraged by the State Department’s recalcitrance and lack of transparency? You can’t believe they’re getting away with this? Welcome to my world.
If it can happen to me, it can happen to you. And if it does, your own government might just lie about it and then stonewall you for… Oh, let’s see… Two years, seven months, eleven days, and eighteen hours. And counting.
And hell, I didn’t even work for them. God rest your soul, Christopher Stevens. You tried to make the world a better place, the people you trusted let you down, and now they care about nothing but saving their own asses. You deserved better.
We all do.
P.S. Chaos at the State Department? Well, how could that be.