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Boehner to appoint select Benghazi committee

WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Speaker John Boehner on Friday declared he would schedule a vote to create a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attack, escalating a political battle that has raged since the final days of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.

Boehner said U.S. officials misled the American people after the Sept. 11, 2012, assault on the U.S. diplomatic post in Libya that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. He said emails released this week showed the White House has withheld documents from congressional investigators and asked, "What else about Benghazi is the Obama administration still hiding from the American people?"

"Americans learned this week that the Obama administration is so intent on obstructing the truth about Benghazi that it is even willing to defy subpoenas issued by the standing committees of the people's House," Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement. "These revelations compel the House to take every possible action to ensure the American people have the truth about the terrorist attack on our consulate that killed four of our countrymen."

Republicans have accused the Obama administration of seeking to deceive the public about the true circumstances of the attack during the final months of the 2012 presidential campaign - charges which the president and other U.S. officials reject.

For Boehner, appointing a select committee raises the profile of one of the Republicans' main points of attack against Obama ahead of November's midterm congressional elections, and on former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton ahead of what may be another presidential campaign in 2016. It could also unify the Republican approach, which showed fissures Thursday as two powerful GOP committee chairmen sparred over whether the military was prevented from responding to the attack.

Republicans have pointed a finger at one passage in particular among the 40 or so emails obtained by the watchdog group Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act request. Three days after the attack, Ben Rhodes, then the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications at the White House, stressed the goal of underscoring "that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader policy failure."

The email is dated Sept. 14, the Friday before then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on the Sunday news programs and explained the Benghazi attack as a protest over a YouTube video that mocked the Islamic prophet Mohammed that was hijacked by extremists. Administration officials later changed their description of the attack and said references to a protest were inaccurate.

White House press secretary Jay Carney responded this week by saying the message was explicitly not about Benghazi but about the overall situation across the Arab world, where American embassies and consulates in several countries faced angry and sometimes violent demonstrations. U.S. officials insisted they've complied with subpoena requests.

Separately, the Republican chairman of the House oversight committee, one of several that have investigated Benghazi, said Friday he would subpoena Secretary of State John Kerry to testify about the administration's response to the attack.

Rep. Darrell Issa said he wanted Kerry to appear before the panel May 21 to explain why the latest emails were omitted from previous administration submissions to Congress.

Issa has been the GOP's most prominent investigator of the Benghazi attack. But his star witness at a hearing Thursday came under sharp criticism from a fellow California Republican, Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, who heads the House Armed Services Committee.

Retired Brig. Gen. Robert Lovell told Issa's panel that U.S. forces "should have tried" to get to the Benghazi outpost in time to help save Stevens and the other Americans. Lovell blamed the State Department for not making stronger requests for action.

McKeon responded by saying Lovell didn't serve in a capacity that gave him reliable insight into the available options commanders had during the attack, and repeated his own committee's conclusions that the State Department didn't delay a decision to deploy military resources and that the military couldn't have made a difference.

Boehner said the latest documents to be released showed "greater White House involvement in misleading the American people" and amounted to a "flagrant violation of trust."

He praised the House investigations up to now but said lingering questions and the administration's lack of respect for congressional oversight required an escalation of the level of investigation.

A separate investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee found the U.S. had insufficient security at the Benghazi post and spread the blame among the State Department, the military and U.S. intelligence for missing what now seem like obvious warning signs. It also faulted Stevens for not ensuring enough protection.

A senior Republican aide said Boehner was considering Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., to chair the select committee. The aide wasn't authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity. It's unclear when Boehner will schedule the vote.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
Kim May 02 2014 at 1:28 PM

Hang Barack and Hilary both! Too bad they can't be beaten half to death for what they both did!

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1 reply
elaine.benjamin Kim May 02 2014 at 6:07 PM

Add george bush to that list after you count how many parents lost their children in the Iraq war. And we are still looking for weapons of mass destruction. Oh I forgot. Hillary and Obama did this. You just prove how we will pick out what suits us. You are not looking for the truth. Just full of hate.

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fboylebrkr May 02 2014 at 1:35 PM

Obama and Hillary will continue to Play Rope -a- Dope--as their most successful act to dodge the facts..Nixon got impeached for less.

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2 replies
don_johnson15 fboylebrkr May 02 2014 at 1:52 PM

Nixon was a better president then Obama ever will be and he still has about 1000 days left in office.

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jwb110 fboylebrkr May 02 2014 at 7:24 PM

Forty Three members of the Nixon administration and re-election team were convicted of felonies. Nixon participated. That's why he was forced from office. As for Benghazi, no crimes have even been alleged.

P.S. Nixon actually did not get impeached.

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bertnernie229 May 02 2014 at 1:38 PM

It's about time. The American people deserve the truth. Maybe now we can get to the bottom of this cover up and deal with those who lied to America.

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1 reply
elaine.benjamin bertnernie229 May 02 2014 at 6:08 PM

You cant handle the truth. There are no weapons of mass destruction. Thats the truth

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1 reply
bellingersfamily elaine.benjamin May 02 2014 at 6:31 PM

Shut up you DEM mouth Elaine, crawl out of Hillary's butt and smell some truth

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md2thestrs May 02 2014 at 1:43 PM

Thank God. Its about time somebody did this. Good for Lindsay Graham

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2 replies
stevenjonessales md2thestrs May 02 2014 at 2:04 PM

What? Is he going to blow the boner?

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1 reply
almeters stevenjonessales May 02 2014 at 2:25 PM

are you a homophobic or do you always comment from below your navel?

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imthewoodguy md2thestrs May 02 2014 at 6:27 PM

Oh puuullleeeezzzeeee !!!! Londsay Graham is another scared Republican whose skirt has been blown up by the Democratic breeze much to reveal something other than what he claims to be. Worse yet.......McCain keeps looking !

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cagney 0224 May 02 2014 at 1:46 PM

I hope it is Congressman Gowdy. He won't allow any side stepping the issues. And he will be relentless when he knows someone is lying. Did you see him go after Lois Lerner? By the way. I loved the putdown directed at bullit head cummings yesterday at the oversight committee by Issa.

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1 reply
almeters cagney 0224 May 02 2014 at 2:22 PM

lol...Mr. Cummings..you do know...did you see his face?? Priceless!

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SANDYCDT May 02 2014 at 1:48 PM

Of course Boehner will continue to stir that pot, as there is no other way to get the American public's attention, so they don't question the fact that he is doing NOTHING else!!! The Bush administration missed countless messages that warned about the 911 attacks...but does he go after those people...well heck no...it's his party that screwed up.

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1 reply
stevenjonessales SANDYCDT May 02 2014 at 2:03 PM

I agree with you, but the 9/11 attacks were a result of 70+ years of US foreign policy in the middle east.

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Stan May 02 2014 at 1:49 PM

Who cares, this is not an issue. Just something for the GOP to keep drumming up. What the hell do you expect when an American goes to the middle east; you're going to get killed.

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2 replies
almeters Stan May 02 2014 at 2:20 PM

but it only took an inept administration to say....hey your on your own.

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lcooper3688 Stan May 03 2014 at 1:01 AM

Americans can't get it in their heads to keep their Eyes and hands off those beautiful Women, over there in the Middile East. Its a good thing that We can't go back into IRAN, Now thats really some Beautiful Women!!! You would get killed for sure!!!

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mjmcke May 02 2014 at 1:50 PM

When will Speaker Boehner and the Negative Old Party (NOP) do something positive for this country? IMHO, they are the most backward looking group in the history of our government.

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1 reply
stevenjonessales mjmcke May 02 2014 at 2:02 PM

I agree. All they can do is attack. They never have good ideas.

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davandsher May 02 2014 at 1:51 PM

Øbama and Hillary are now trying to blame Susan Rice for the cover up. Susan Rice only said what she was told to say.

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1 reply
stevenjonessales davandsher May 02 2014 at 2:00 PM

Making stuff up, ehhh?

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don_johnson15 May 02 2014 at 1:51 PM

Less talk, MORE ACTION. It is time to impeach the scum in the White House. Then try him for treason and then hang him,

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2 replies
stevenjonessales don_johnson15 May 02 2014 at 2:01 PM

Right after W for murdering a few thousand of our soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens. Then next in line should be Dick-less Cheney for outing a spy.

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imthewoodguy don_johnson15 May 02 2014 at 6:31 PM

You must be The Base Boehners cat drags in at night to play with.

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