State Dept: Benghazi Whistleblowers "Lying" About Requesting Clearance To Testify

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QUESTION: Just a question on Benghazi. Since the Office of the Legal Advisor issued the letter with the roadmap for private counsel representing whistleblowers to seek security clearances, has anyone applied for the security clearances?

PATRICK VENTRELL, STATE DEPARTMENT ACTING SPOKESMAN: Yes. We’ve had an individual who’s been out there on TV making some unfounded and patently false accusations in previous days that she or her partner had contacted the State Department, which they hadn’t. This person suggested on TV that they had been processed for a clearance but – had not been processed for clearance, before she ever had even requested one. And so we repeatedly have this person saying that their – they had a whistleblower who’s been held back from telling their story, and we’re not aware of this individual or anyone who’s asking to tell their story. My understanding is that since these developments overnight, this person has been in contact with us and is now going through the procedures to get a security clearance. But this individual was on TV repeatedly saying that they were being held back from getting a security clearance before they’d even picked up the phone to call us.

QUESTION: Was that --

QUESTION: So have they started --

QUESTION: This person is a lawyer. This person is the lawyer.

MR. VENTRELL: This is Victoria Toensing.

QUESTION: Right. Okay.

MR. VENTRELL: Yeah.

QUESTION: And are you aware of any State Department employees who have contacted a legal advisor or anyone else saying that they would like to have a lawyer get cleared so that they could (inaudible)?

MR. VENTRELL: No, but we’re now aware of Ms. Toensing and --

QUESTION: Well, you were aware of that because she was on TV, right?

MR. VENTRELL: And now she’s been in touch with us directly to go about the normal procedure.

QUESTION: You’re saying that she wasn’t just – she was lying --

MR. VENTRELL: I’m saying she was making false statements that were unfounded that we were --

QUESTION: Making false statements is lying, isn’t it?

MR. VENTRELL: We think that --

QUESTION: Right?

MR. VENTRELL: False statements are lying, Matt. And so we had somebody who was on national television saying that we were blocking them from getting a security clearance, which was not true. (State Department Briefing, May 2, 2013)

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