‘Despicable’: Park Service chief dragged before House panel, ripped over closures

Published October 16, 2013


Oct. 16, 2013: National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis waits to testify before a joint hearing in Washington.AP

The head of the National Park Service was pilloried at a tense House hearing Wednesday over the agency’s allegedly “arbitrary” decisions during the partial shutdown which Republicans charge were made to inflict maximum inconvenience on the public.

“The policies have been arbitrary, inconsistent, and ever-changing,” Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, said.

He alleged the National Park Service is trying to make the partial shutdown “as painful and as visible as possible.”

GOP lawmakers sharply questioned a string of recent NPS moves, as Director Jonathan Jarvis claimed his agency was trying to comply with the law and make do with limited resources. They questioned why the park service tried to shutter some private businesses on federal land, closed off open-air memorials in D.C. to most public viewing, and even blocked off parking lots.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said “punitive measures were taken at no savings to the American people.”

Reacting to a reported internal claim that the park service directed workers to make the cuts as difficult as possible, Issa said, if true, “it is indeed disgusting and despicable that the Park Service would do this.”

Jarvis later called that claim “hearsay.”

Jarvis was compelled with a subpoena to testify on Wednesday. He said he was willing to appear, but wanted to wait until his staff returned from furlough.

In a series of feisty exchanges, Jarvis defended his agency’s actions.



Kerry refusing to allow interviews of Benghazi Survivors

Sep. 10, 2013 5:27pm

TheBlaze’s Becket Adams contributed to this report

Secretary of State John Kerry has informed Congress he “will not honor the request to make Benghazi survivors available for questioning,” CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson reports.

Republicans in the House Oversight Committee reportedly plan to issue subpoenas if Kerry does not reverse his decision and provide congressional investigators access to Benghazi survivors.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Monday sent Kerry a formal letter demanding access to the survivors of the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

“I must receive confirmation that the [State] Department will makes these witnesses available to Committee investigators by September 24, 2013,” the letter reads.

“Otherwise, I will have no alternative but to consider the use of compulsory process,” the letter adds.

The congressman points out that this is not the first time that the Committee has demanded access to the Benghazi survivors. In fact, he notes, the State Department has dutifully ignored or denied earlier requests for access.

The State Department told the Committee on Aug. 23, 2013, that it was not “prepared to support the [Committee’s] request for transcribed interviews.”

This would appear odd, the letter notes, considering certain Benghazi survivors have been available for various media appearances.

A recent “Vanity Fair” article, for instance, described the night of the attack and included details that only “persons who survived the attack could possibly know.”

Additionally, Rep. Issa explains, Fox News reported in July that it had made contact with David Ubben, one of the survivors

You can read the full letter here:

Rep. Issa by Becket Adams