Issa's spokesman, Frederick Hill, was responding to a report published by TPM on Sunday that revealed there was no official event marking the Benghazi attack anniversary on Wednesday at State Department headquarters in Washington, DC. When TPM asked State Department spokesman Alec Gerlach why the agency did not have a formal event, he pointed to congressional investigations that he described as having politicized the discussion surrounding the incident. Gerlach also specifically criticized the focus of the House Oversight Committee, which is chaired by Issa and has been aggressively investigating the Benghazi attack.
"We were focused on two things as the anniversary approached: honoring those we lost, and making sure we take steps to implement the ARB's recommendations to make our people safe so this doesn't happen again," said Gerlach. "We wish that the House Oversight Committee were focused on the same things."
Issa's spokesman on Monday described the State Department's statements as part of a pattern of "incredibly disappointing" conduct in the aftermath of the attack.
"The State Department's conduct following the Benghazi tragedy has been incredibly disappointing," Hill said in a statement to TPM. "First, the Department's political appointees politicized the attack by continually claiming that it was a protest in response to a YouTube video even though their own diplomats in Libya knew that wasn't true. The Department has broken promises to cooperate with Congress' fact based investigation and their attempt to blame others for their own decision not to honor victims is unfortunate."