Speaking today to reporters at the White House, President Obama denied knowing anything about Benghazi survivor claims that their testimony and efforts to become whistleblowers have been blocked.
"I'm not familiar with this notion that anybody has been blocked from testifying," Obama said in response to a question from FoxNews' Ed Henry. "I'm not familiar with it."
President Obama said he would "find out" what was going on and that of course he is dedicated to making sure U.S. embassies around the world are secure and safe for diplomats.
Fox News reporter James Rosen revealed yesterday that Benghazi whistleblowers have been threatened by the Obama administration according to their attorneys.
At least four career officials at the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency have retained lawyers or are in the process of doing so, as they prepare to provide sensitive information about the Benghazi attacks to Congress, Fox News has learned.
Victoria Toensing, a former Justice Department official and Republican counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, is now representing one of the State Department employees. She told Fox News her client and some of the others, who consider themselves whistle-blowers, have been threatened by unnamed Obama administration officials.
“I'm not talking generally, I'm talking specifically about Benghazi – that people have been threatened,” Toensing said in an interview Monday. “And not just the State Department. People have been threatened at the CIA.”
“It's frightening, and they're doing some very despicable threats to people,” she said. “Not ‘we're going to kill you,’ or not ‘we're going to prosecute you tomorrow,’ but they're taking career people and making them well aware that their careers will be over [if they cooperate with congressional investigators].”
Whistleblower retaliation is status quo for the Obama administration. This is the same thing that happened in the Fast and Furious scandal. Careers of whistleblowers were ruined and their lives were deliberately negatively changed.
Back in October, Kerry Picket wrote about the Obama administration's use of the Espionage Act to silence whistleblowers, which they would justify in the Benghazi case due to national security being at the center of the controversy.
In light of Americans who are demanding answers from the Obama administration on why four Americans were denied help for military assistance when the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi was under attack, there is little chance that any whistle-blower with first hand information will step forward as long as President Barack Obama is still in office.
Republicans are demanding the administration turnover material, including video, that explain what happened in Benghazi, but the President is more likely to cite executive privilege and use the hammer of his Justice Department to keep anybody who knows anything quiet.
Bloomberg News reported on October 17 that Attorney General Eric Holder “prosecuted more government officials for alleged leaks under the World War I-era Espionage Act than all his predecessors combined, including law-and-order Republicans John Mitchell, Edwin Meese and John Ashcroft.”
The Espionage Act, bans unlawful disclosure of national security information to individuals not authorized to get it. The act was signed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1917 and has been used to prosecute double agents like Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen.
But of course, the administration is only interested in punishing whistleblowers exposing corruption and lies.
However, when leaks to the press benefit the administration, prosecutions from the Justice Department are absent. For example, AG Holder was not prosecuting anyone over who leaked information about the killing of Oasma bin Laden. The Justice Department has yet to charge anyone over leaking information regarding the U.S. involvement in cyberattacks on Iran as well as an al Qaida plan to blow up a U.S. bound airplane. In fact, the Justice Department ended up appointing one of two attorneys to the cyberattacks investigation who was an Obama donor.
As a reminder, retaliation against whistleblowers is illegal and against the Whistleblower Protection Act which was reinforced last year.