Darrell Issa, the powerful chairman of the House Oversight Committee, really needs to go. He has used his position for one partisan witch hunt after another and now, in his zeal to damage the Obama administration over the Benghazi attacks, has released documents revealing the identity of Libyans working with the U.S. government and exposed them to reprisals.
Issa posted 166 pages of sensitive but unclassified State Department communications related to Libya on the committee’s website afternoon as part of his effort to investigate security failures and expose contradictions in the administration’s statements regarding the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi that resulted in the death of Amb. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
“The American people deserve nothing less than a full explanation from this administration about these events, including why the repeated warnings about a worsening security situation appear to have been ignored by this administration. Americans also deserve a complete explanation about your administration’s decision to accelerate a normalized presence in Libya at what now appears to be at the cost of endangering American lives,” Issa and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) wrote today in a letter to President Barack Obama.
But Issa didn’t bother to redact the names of Libyan civilians and local leaders mentioned in the cables, and just as with the WikiLeaks dump of State Department cables last year, the administration says that Issa has done damage to U.S. efforts to work with those Libyans and exposed them to physical danger from the very groups that had an interest in attacking the U.S. consulate.
There certainly needs to be a real investigation into what happened at Benghazi, one that looks both at possible intelligence failures and at why there wasn’t more security at a location that was clearly under a significant risk of attack. But it must be done responsibly, not in a slipshod manner designed only for political advantage in the middle of a campaign.