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First on CNN: Pickering, Mullen challenge Issa to let them testify in public

national lead

May 16th, 2013
07:01 AM ET

First on CNN: Pickering, Mullen challenge Issa to let them testify in public

By CNN's Jake Tapper and Alison Harding

In a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa exclusively obtained by CNN, the co-chairmen behind an independent review of September's deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya, expressed irritation over the House Oversight Committee chairman's portrayal of their work and requested he call a public hearing at which they can testify.

"The public deserves to hear your questions and our answers," wrote former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, co-chairmen of the Accountability Review Board that was convened to investigate the September 11th attack.

READ THE LETTER HERE

Eight months after their report cited "systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies" at the State Department," Issa continues to be a leading critic of the accountability board, calling its review "a failure" and asking for further investigations into the Obama administration's response during the attack and its aftermath.

The dispute between Issa and the co-chairmen came to a head after neither Pickering nor Mullen attended a May 8 House Oversight Committee hearing on the attacks, sparking a heated back and forth about who was invited and when. The rhetoric intensified Sunday during a highly contentious joint appearance with Issa and Pickering on NBC's "Meet the Press" in which Issa maintained the two "refused to come before our committee." Pickering insisted that he was not invited despite expressing a willingness to testify.

FULL POST

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