Thomas Pickering, co-chairman of the State Department's Accountability Review Board (ARB) on the Benghazi attacks, said there's no need for a House select committee to reexamine the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. House Republicans recently convened the committee to investigate the already thoroughly investigated attacks, a move the right-wing media has championed for months.
When asked on Bloomberg's Political Capital if there's a case for reinvestigating the 2012 attacks, Pickering replied: “If there is, Al, I haven't seen it yet. And I've been very alert to this.” He added: “I'm in a search for is there 'there,' there, Al, and I haven't seen any 'there,' there.”
Pickering also dismissed the importance of the recently released 2012 memo authored by Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, which the media and Republicans have seized on as purportedly containing new Benghazi revelations. Asked if the memo would have affected the ARB's report, Pickering replied, “probably not ... our report speaks very well for itself and it runs to all of those domains that connect with security and terrorism.”
Pickering is a career ambassador who served under Republican and Democratic presidents and as co-chair of the State Department's Accountability Review Board with retired Admiral Mike Mullen. The ARB issued an independent report about the attacks in December of 2012. While right-wing media have questioned the report's independence, a State Department Inspector General review concluded that the “Accountability Review Board process operates as intended -- independently and without bias.”
Watch video of Pickering's remarks below:
AL HUNT (HOST): Is there a case for reopening that investigation as the House special panel plans to do?
PICKERING: If there is, Al, I haven't seen it yet. And I've been very alert to this. Obviously when I took the job I knew that this was going to be an issue that had great political overtones, and we can phrase it that way. And I tried to watch it very carefully. I think, one of the things I did when I took the job was that I tried to read every press report I could find to make sure that we did our job as well as we could. I think we did our job as well as we could. But I'd be the last person in the world to tell you we did everything perfectly.
HUNT: You haven't seen any reason to reopen it?
PICKERING: So I'm in a search for is there “there,” there, Al, and I haven't seen any “there,” there.