Rep. Westmoreland: No Democrat Members Attended Yesterday’s Witness Interviews

June 10, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. — Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03), a member of the Select Committee on Benghazi and Chairman of the Subcommittee of the NSA and Cybersecurity on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement after none of the five Benghazi Committee Democrats showed up for either of yesterday’s interviews with drone sensor operators from the time of the attacks, including “John from Iowa”:

“It’s a shame none of the Democrat members of the Benghazi Committee showed up to hear what these two service members had to say about their service to our country on the night of the Benghazi attacks.”

After the Select Committee on Benghazi subpoenaed Assistant Secretary of Defense Stephen Hedger to testify under oath next week, Communications Director Jamal Ware issued the following statement in response to Democrats’ mischaracterizations of the drone sensor operators’ testimonies:

“Democrats belie their own political motivation and lack of interest in conducting a serious investigation when they would rather accept briefings provided by the Pentagon than talk to the actual Air Force operators who were conducting missions over Benghazi that night. Since not a single Democrat member could be bothered to show up to hear what the sensor operators had to say, I find it surprising their spokesman is so willing to mischaracterize the witnesses’ testimony. In fact, the operators were able to tell the committee what they were directed to look for, what information they were focused on gathering, what information was relayed up the chain of command and what capabilities the drones possessed. Video footage the administration refuses to let the American people see and briefers instructed what to say cannot do that.

“Chairman Gowdy wants answers under oath and he wants them quickly—a subpoena accomplishes both. The Democrats and administration incessantly whine about the committee's length, so they shouldn’t be surprised when the committee cuts to the chase.”

The dishonest Democrats are falsely claiming the Benghazi Committee “waited … 659 days” to specifically request the Department of Defense (DOD) find “John from Iowa.” But the truth – as made clear by the timeline of events the committee released yesterday – is that DOD was unable to comply with the committee’s February 26 request for relevant drone personnel. So on March 24, the committee sent DOD a list of outstanding requests and noted an investigator trying to gather any publicly available information about relevant drone personnel came across a news report about “John from Iowa,” an individual who called into a talk radio show in May 2013 and claimed to be a drone sensor operator on the night of the attacks.

In other words, the committee requested “John from Iowa” as soon as it became aware of him.

The February 26 and March 24 dates are confirmed by an email from DOD staff to the committee acknowledging the timing of the committee’s requests.