WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior House Democrat called on House Speaker John Boehner Thursday to retract a report blaming former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for security deficiencies at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya before last September’s deadly attack.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said in a letter to Boehner that the report, written by the Republican chairmen of five committees, misrepresents an important document and suggests that Clinton lied to Congress. In addition to pulling the report, Cummings said, Boehner also should apologize to Clinton on behalf of the report’s authors.
Boehner’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The GOP report, released Tuesday, said an April 19, 2012, cable bearing Clinton’s signature acknowledged a request from then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz for more security at the mission in Benghazi, yet allowed further reductions. The cable contradicted Clinton’s testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in January that requests for more security at the mission in Benghazi, Libya, didn’t reach her desk, the report said.
But Cummings said his staff reviewed the cable, and it does not bear Clinton’s signature. The cable includes only her typed name at the bottom of the page next to the word “signature,” just as thousands of other cables sent each year from the State Department do.
“Although a telephone call could have clarified this issue in a matter of moments, you chose not to check with the department before making these highly inflammatory and erroneous accusations in a public forum,” Cummings told Boehner. “The allegations in your staff report are false, extremely irresponsible, and lack even a rudimentary understanding of how State Department cables are processed.”
The terrorist attack last September killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
Cummings is the senior Democrat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The committee’s chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is one of the report’s authors.