Obama Administration Claims About Outing of Libyans in Contact with U.S. are False

Published: Oct 21, 2012

Libyan rights activist Obama administration says was first associated with U.S. by Oversight Committee had actually been brought to U.S. by State Department and was featured and named on website

WASHINGTON – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa issued the following statement in response to false Obama Administration claims that an Oversight Committee release of unclassified documents showing serious diplomatic security failures in Benghazi represented the first public association of the woman with the U.S.:

“The Libyan rights activist who was highlighted by the Obama administration in news accounts as having not been ‘publicly associated with the U.S.’ until the Oversight Committee released documents had actually been brought to the U.S. in December 2011 by the State Department and her trip is highlighted on the Internet. President Obama should be ashamed of yet another example where his administration has been caught trying to mislead the American people about what happened in Libya.”

“Obama Administration officials and their surrogates are clearly reeling from revelations about how the situation in Benghazi was mishandled and are falsely politicizing the issue in a last ditch effort to save President Obama’s reelection effort.  To see such prominent officials as Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Carl Levin, Rahm Emanuel, and Obama Senior Advisor David Axelrod paraded out over to weekend to make false charges about the Oversight Committee putting Libyans in danger only shows their desperation to hide the truth. As the Committee had previously indicated, the State Department has had these documents for two weeks but never contacted the committee about making specific redactions. The Libyans noted in these documents worked in positions where their interactions with westerners would not be surprising.”

According to an Obama Administration official quoted in Foreign Policy (the first outlet to report):

One of the cables released by Issa names a woman human rights activist who was leading a campaign against violence and was detained in Benghazi. She expressed fear for her safety to U.S. officials and criticized the Libyan government. “This woman is trying to raise an anti-violence campaign on her own and came to the United States for help. She isn’t publicly associated with the U.S. in any other way but she’s now named in this cable. It’s a danger to her life,” the administration official said.

This example of this rights’ activist was also highlighted by the Administration in news accounts written by the Associated Press, Reuters, and Politico.

In Reality:

This rights activist was hosted by the State Department for the International Visitor Program of the World Affairs Council in Seattle, Washington, in December 2011.

In a video, posted on the Internet, she criticizes the transitional government noting that women were, “marginalized in the transitional government.”  Her badge reading, U.S. Department of State, is clearly visible in the video.

Added Chairman Issa:

“I applaud the bravery of this activist and other Libyans who are willing to speak publicly and work in positions that puts them in regular contact with diplomatic officials.  They deserve better than to have the Obama administration parade them out as part of their election campaign strategy to distract Americans from legitimate questions about the handling of security and the response to a terrorist attack.”

Related Documents

Name Document
Background: Information on Rights Activist Hosted by US State Department in Seattle, Washington in December 2011 Document
VIDEO: Rights Activist Wearing US State Department Badge Document