House plans special committee to probe Benghazi

WASHINGTON Fri May 2, 2014 3:56pm EDT

1 of 2. A protester reacts as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during a protest by an armed group said to have been protesting a film being produced in the United States September 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Esam Al-Fetori

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Speaker of the House of Representatives said on Friday the House will vote to create a special committee - the same type of panel that investigated the Watergate scandal - to probe the deadly September 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya.

Ohio Republican John Boehner made his announcement days after a conservative watchdog group released previously undisclosed emails that it said showed the White House was concerned primarily with protecting President Barack Obama's image in the wake of the attack that killed four Americans.

"The administration's withholding of documents - emails showing greater White House involvement in misleading the American people - is a flagrant violation of trust and undermines the basic principle of oversight upon which our system of government is built," Boehner said in a statement.

Also on Friday, the House Oversight Committee said it issued a subpoena for Secretary of State John Kerry to testify at a May 21 public hearing about the attack.

Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, a California Republican, said the panel wanted Kerry to answer questions about the State Department's response to the congressional investigation of the Benghazi attack.

Kerry did not become Secretary of State until 2013, but Issa said the State Department had shown "a disturbing disregard" for its obligations to Congress.

State spokeswoman Marie Harf said the department was surprised by the subpoena and found it unusual that it was issued before an official invitation to Kerry, who is due to be in Mexico on May 21.

"We have our suspicions that this is just another attempt to use this politically," she said at a news briefing.


Benghazi has become a favored political issue for Republicans, who say Obama's administration did too little to help during the attack and then misled the public to protect Obama's image as he ran for re-election in November 2012.

It also is a way to attack Hillary Clinton, a likely 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, who enjoyed high approval ratings as secretary of state during Obama's first term.

Chris Arterton, a professor of political management at George Washington University, said Benghazi would come up if Clinton runs but voters were more likely to focus on the economy than an attack that took place four years earlier.

"We're a long way up from a very deep and troubling deficit, and if that continues... that will be much more important than something like Benghazi," he said, explaining that an improving economy would benefit Clinton, or any 2016 candidate from the party controlling the White House.

The U.S. unemployment report released earlier on Friday showed that employers hired workers in April at the fastest clip in more than two years.

Select committees include members of both parties and are appointed to perform a specific function or investigate a certain event. In the past, they were created to investigate the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

A senior House leadership aide said one of the members being considered to chair the new panel is South Carolina Representative Trey Gowdy.

(Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton and Thomas Ferraro, editing by Bill Trott, G Crosse and David Gregorio)

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Comments (84)
User21 wrote:
…as my fellow democrats and republican friends will agree, the Benghazi cover-up will manifest itself into the same chain of events as Nixon’s removal…

…in 6 months time I see a likely chance that Biden will be our acting President…

…lots of feet shuffling away from the w house…

…one thing all American’s will not accept are lies, and more lies, especially when Americans died…

May 02, 2014 12:13pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
BeBopman wrote:
User21 sez “…one thing all American’s will not accept are lies, and more lies, especially when Americans died…”

Then why did they re-elect Bush? … Republicans are lying more than the White House where Benghazi is concerned and doing nothing to help the economy while they focus on trying to damage the prez rather than focus on trying to help the American people.

May 02, 2014 12:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AlkalineState wrote:
Americans killed in Benghazi for nothing: 4.

Americans killed in Iraq for nothing: 4,218.

And we need special hearings for all eternity…. on Benghazi. These conservatives are out to lunch. No one takes them seriously any more.

May 02, 2014 12:36pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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