The U.S. State Department on Friday notified the members of the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee that Secretary of State -- and former Massachusetts Democrat U.S. Senator -- John Kerry will testify sometime during the month of June regarding what he knows about the Benghazi massacre at the hands of terrorists on Sept. 11, 2012.
A State Department spokesperson claims Kerry's appearance before Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and other committee members would free Kerry from having to testify before the new congressional select committee headed by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.. The select committee was established to thoroughly investigate the terrorist attack that left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.
"We have been clear that we're willing to work with the committee despite the fact that the Benghazi oversight has been consolidated under the select committee," Marie Harf told reporters at a State Department briefing. "We believe the secretary's appearance before [the oversight committee] will eliminate any need for the secretary to appear a second time before the select committee."
A spokesman for Rep. Gowdy said his committee would "talk to all material witnesses as many times as necessary to discover all relevant facts and answer all relevant questions in a manner consistent with fair practice and respectful of the witnesses' other responsibilities."
The oversight committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), subpoenaed Kerry twice, seeking his appearance before the committee first May 21 and then May 29. Harf said that he could not appear those days because he had previously planned diplomatic travel. The letter sent to Issa today suggested that Kerry testify on June 12 or 20. Issa agreed to the June 12 date.
Harf said that the State Department believed "there are more appropriate witnesses" to discuss the incident. Kerry was a member of the Senate at the time of the attack, which occurred during Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary.
"One can only hope that Kerry is more honest and forthcoming during his testimony before Issa and his panel than he was 43-years-ago when he testified -- many claim lied -- before a Senate hearing on the Vietnam War," said former U.S. Marine and New York police official Wayne Lewis.
Lewis said Kerry's testimony was based on hearsay and not first hand knowledge, which is evident in the video of his testifying:
"They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.
"We call this investigation the Winter Soldier Investigation. The term 'Winter Soldier' is a play on words of Thomas Paine in 1776 when he spoke of the Sunshine Patriot and summertime soldiers who deserted at Valley Forge because the going was rough.
"We who have come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now. We could come back to this country; we could be quiet; we could hold our silence; we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel because of what threatens this country, the fact that the crimes threaten it, not reds, and not redcoats but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out."