Sen. John Kerry has criticized Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Ca.) for releasing -- through his House Oversight Committee -- 166 pages of State Department papers containing the names of Libyans working with the United States.
Issa, whose 49th Congressional District covers Temecula, Lake Elsinore and Wildomar, was also blasted by the Obama Administration.
The materials refer to the September attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and four others.
"The wholesale release of State Department documents by the House Oversight Committee has exposed Libyan nationals working with the United States to possible danger," Kerry wrote.
"This is irresponsible and inexcusable, and perhaps worst of all it was entirely avoidable. It is profoundly against America's interests in a difficult region," he said.
Kerry went on to say that he is no stranger to working with sensitive investigations and what Issa did reflects a "moment of real incompetence and irresponsibility."
The senator said that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is conducting the investigation and has sent two letters requesting information.
"The House committee seems to (be) adopting a very different set of investigative techniques."
Kerry contends that Issa's move is a "political sideshow presumably driven by the calendar of Monday's upcoming presidential debate."
According to the Huffington Post, administration officials told Foreign Policy magazine that the leak, along with Issa's failure to redact the names of Libyan civilians and local leaders mentioned by name in cables sent back and forth, could have "unintended consequences."
"This does damage to the individuals because they are named, danger to security cooperation because these are militias and groups that we work with and that is now well known, and danger to the investigation, because these people could help us down the road," an administration official told the magazine.
In a letter to President Barack Obama, Issa and fellow congressman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), accused the administration of not being "straighforward" with its citizens.
He claims that the administration has been less than truthful when it says that the attack was a spontaneous response to a YouTube video.
However, according to ABCnews.go.com, the most recent intelligence indicates that the attack -- while not necessarily sparked by a politically charged video -- was more of "an opportunistic response to the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
"Right now, there isn’t any intelligence that the attackers pre-planned their assault days or weeks in advance,” a U.S. intelligence official told reporter Luis Martinez.
”The bulk of available information supports the early assessment that the attackers launched their assault opportunistically after they learned about the violence at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.”
Issa and Chaffetz also claim that the Obama Administration repeatedly refused to upgrade its security at the embassy in Libya.
According to Issa, the administration "systematically decreased existing security."
The letter is included in a PDF attached to this story.
Kerry's statement in its entirety is below:
Washington, DC – Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement in response to the release of documents, concerning the recent events in Libya, by the House Oversight Committee.
"The wholesale release of State Department documents by the House Oversight Committee has exposed Libyan nationals working with the United States to possible danger. This is irresponsible and inexcusable, and perhaps worst of all it was entirely avoidable. It is profoundly against America's interests in a difficult region.
Oversight and investigation is the job of Congress. I know how to run a real investigation. It's a responsibility I take personally as someone who spent years in the Senate leading difficult, sensitive, and comprehensive investigations on everything from BCCI and illegal money laundering to the fate of American soldiers missing in Vietnam. I don't say casually that this release of sensitive materials was a moment of real incompetence and irresponsibility.
The Foreign Relations Committee is committed to getting all the facts about what happened, and we’ve been in regular contact with the Administration to do so. The Committee has sent two letters asking questions, including one signed by all committee members, and we will have another committee briefing as soon as we reconvene. The House committee seems to adopting a very different set of investigative techniques. It's bad enough that it's becoming a political sideshow presumably driven by the calendar of Monday's upcoming presidential debate, but even worse is that in their rush to make news they've exposed Libyans who were working side by side with America."