Republicans name seven to U.S. House panel on Benghazi attacks

WASHINGTON Fri May 9, 2014 5:46pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican-run U.S. House of Representatives named seven lawmakers to a special committee on Friday to investigate the 2012 Benghazi attacks, but Democrats called the panel a stunt and were undecided on whether they would participate.

Democrats say several committees have already investigated the Benghazi attacks exhaustively, without proving Republican allegations that the administration did too little to repulse the attacks and then tried to protect President Barack Obama from the political fallout.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters that there was a range of opinions among Democrats as to whether they should join the committee with full or partial participation - or boycott it.

House Speaker John Boehner announced the appointment of the seven Republicans in a statement.

"I have confidence that they will lead a serious, fact-based inquiry," Boehner said, a day after the House voted 232-186 to establish a 12-member panel on the attacks in the Libyan city in which U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

The committee will be chaired by South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy, a former prosecutor and outspoken critic of the Obama administration's handling of the attacks. The others named were Susan Brooks of Indiana, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Mike Pompeo of Kansas, Martha Roby of Alabama, Peter Roskam of Illinois and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia. Five places are available for Democrats.

Pelosi called the panel "a political stunt" to make the attacks an issue in congressional elections this November.

"Their focus on the Affordable Care Act has run its course," Pelosi told reporters, speaking of Republican criticism of Obama's healthcare law. "Now they have to talk about something else."

Pelosi and Democratic whip Steny Hoyer sent Boehner a letter this week outlining proposals they said would help ensure the committee's fairness, such as bipartisan agreement on subpoenas and protocols governing the questioning of witnesses and release of documents.

Pelosi's office said on Friday that she had received a memorandum from Boehner's office in reply. But the committee rules suggested in the memo were "fundamentally unfair," Pelosi wrote back to Boehner, and asked for a meeting to discuss it.

The proposed rules would not prevent the "unacceptable and repeated abuses committed by Chairman (Darrell) Issa," the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, one of the panels that has already been investigating the Benghazi events, Pelosi wrote to Boehner.

The memo from Boehner's office suggested that Gowdy would be able to issue subpoenas unilaterally and exclude Democratic staff from witness interviews if he thought consulting with the Democrats was not "practicable," a Democratic aide said.

Republicans said Boehner's and Pelosi's staffs were still in discussions, but it would not stop the panel starting work. "We're happy to meet, and we hope they appoint members, but we're not going to allow this to hold up the committee from getting started," Boehner spokesman Kevin Smith said.

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Grant McCool)

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Comments (36)
alwaysskeptic wrote:
Republicans are great at beating dead horses. What a waste of time.

May 09, 2014 7:42am EDT  --  Report as abuse
tatman wrote:
“Have you no shame?” although the tea party republicans have no shame in their complete and utter lack of leadership, progress, and work on behalf of the tens of millions of americans out of work or without adequate healthcare, the majority of americans DO hold our heads bowed in shame at what the GOP has done to our great nation.

benghazi, benghazi, benghazi. a broken record and witch hunt designed with only one thing in mid: destroy the reputation of hillary clinton. meanwhile, the infrastructure of america crumbles, and our government has become a laughing stock in the eyes of the rest of the world.

the republicans have done more to harm america in the last 14 years than any terrorist has done in our nation’s history. since obama has taken office (elected TWICE by the people), the tea party republicans have treated the executive office with such a level of contempt, hatred and disrespect not seen toward any president in history. in their futile attempt to tear down our nation in retribution, and a calculated act of treason to destroy a nation in order to turn public sentiment against our leader, they have exposed the dark underbelly of racial hatred that has simmered within the white male demographic since the civil rights era.

i am ashamed. i am ashamed of each and every tea party republican member of the House and Senate, for undermining our economic health, and doing everything they can to destroy our president and our nation for political gain.

May 09, 2014 8:27am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Randy549 wrote:
There’s some good news in this — seven Democrats still had enough integrity to want to find out the truth.

May 09, 2014 9:05am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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