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Dems open door to taking part in Benghazi probe

By Bradley Klapper and Donna Cassata

WASHINGTON (AP) - House Democrats opened the door Tuesday to participating in a special panel's investigation of the deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya, even if they see it as little more than an election-year ploy by Republicans to discredit the Obama administration and motivate GOP voters.

Laying out her party's conditions, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Republicans must conduct interviews and share information as part of their new inquest into the Obama administration's response to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic past that killed four Americans. She called for the same number of Democrats as Republicans on the panel, a demand the GOP majority immediately rejected.

"If this review is to be fair, it must be truly bipartisan," Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement. Later, she told reporters that rank-and-file Democrats are "suspicious of whatever the Republicans are trying to do."

With midterm elections looming closer, Republicans are sharpening their focus on the Benghazi attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. A vote to authorize the probe is expected this week. A senior GOP congressman has issued a subpoena to Secretary of State John Kerry to testify before a separate committee. And the subject could surface in multiple other congressional hearings this week.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, unveiled his plan Tuesday night and said it would entail no time constraint on the select panel, whose establishment is all but a formality in the GOP-controlled House.

Earlier, the congressman chosen by Boehner to head the investigation, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said Democrats wouldn't get the same number of seats - and votes - on the committee.

"Look, we're in the majority for a reason. We have more seats in the House," said Gowdy, a second-term congressman and a former prosecutor. He called Pelosi's comments a "good sign" that she is considering Democratic participation.

Republicans want a 7-5 ratio on the committee. A House vote on a resolution to establish the panel is expected on Thursday.

Twenty months since the attack, Republicans have made Benghazi a central plank of their strategy to win control of the Senate in November's elections. Democrats are in a bind. They don't want their presence to provide credibility to what they believe will be a partisan forum for attacks on the president and his top aides. But boycotting the committee would mean losing the ability to counter Republican claims.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Gowdy said his record in Congress shows he is fair and respectful of Democratic committee members. He said he frequently discusses witnesses before scheduling hearings and tries to "have a good working relationship with everyone." He said he was interested in the truth, not politics. "Facts really don't come with a color," he said. "They're not swing state facts."

Republicans say the White House, concerned primarily with protecting President Barack Obama in the final weeks of his re-election campaign, misled the nation by playing down intelligence suggesting Benghazi was a major, al-Qaida-linked terrorist attack. They accuse the administration of stonewalling congressional investigators ever since, pointing specifically to emails written by U.S. officials in the days after the attack but only released last week.

The administration denies any wrongdoing and says officials tried to provide the public with the best information available. Democrats accuse the Republicans of trying to generate a scandal to drum up political support ahead of the midterm elections, and to target former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the presumed front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.

Democrats controlling the Senate have shown no interest in launching a similar probe. And up to now, House Democrats have criticized the effort as partisan and unnecessary given several ongoing investigations in Congress, without clearly stating whether they'd participate in or boycott the select committee. White House spokesman Jay Carney has been similarly vague, saying Monday the administration cooperates with "legitimate" congressional oversight.

A select committee isn't bound by jurisdictional issues that can limit investigations by armed services, foreign relations, oversight or other standing committees.

Much of the Democratic concern over process reflects more than a year of tensions in the House Oversight Committee, which has taken the lead among all the congressional investigations into Benghazi.

Its chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and the State Department are engaged in an ongoing dispute over a subpoena he issued for Kerry to appear before the panel on May 21. A Kerry spokeswoman said Monday the secretary of state has a scheduled trip to Mexico that day and wouldn't appear before Issa's committee. Kerry said Tuesday he'd comply with his responsibilities and that his department has "absolutely nothing to hide."

Meanwhile, Judicial Watch, which last week released a batch of Benghazi-related emails obtained through a lawsuit, said Tuesday the Obama administration was withholding further correspondence pertaining to its early explanation of the attack as a demonstration hijacked by extremists. The administration later retracted that explanation. The watchdog group said the correspondence largely centered on how to respond to members of Congress seeking clarification.

Join the discussion

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rel2099 May 07 2014 at 9:51 AM

I'm sick to death listening to and reading all these hate-filled comments. He said/she said, white vs. black, Bush vs. Obama & Romney vs. Obama & Reid vs. McConnell & Boehner vs. Pelosi & Fox News vs. CNN/MSNBC . I'm tired of all the in-fighting, and the way all the politicians have become so polarized that they have successfully pitted Americans against Americans. It's a time to come together (isn't every time a time to come together...?) and get to the friggin' truth. However, as Jack Nicholson said, "You can't handle the truth" - and btw, what IS the truth about Benghazi? We have become so side-tracked, as the politicians wanted, to believe that the Congress is actually relevant any more - other than funding the government. Can't we all just get along, and try to forge the best government that's possible? I'm so sick and tired of all the crap.

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1 reply
jcbstz rel2099 May 07 2014 at 9:54 AM

Yes, I am as well sooooooooooo as soon as Obama speaks the truth, for once, America can get on with the every day business

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-H- May 07 2014 at 9:41 AM

I hope more than anything the Democrates give it their full attention and that the Republicans ask all the difficult questions. We deserve the answers to why these men died and why our own president went to bed and slept that night as well as where in the hell Hilary was and what words she spoke that night. I think we all know, but it needs to be acknowledged for this country to find peace and the parents to find answers.

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1 reply
Gerrie -H- May 07 2014 at 9:43 AM

are you talking about Iraq or Benghazi?

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danielisticall May 07 2014 at 9:41 AM


There were 13 embassies under siege on the same day worldwide not counting Benghazi.
There were 24 mass protests about that video that were staged throughout European the Middle East and Asia.
Hundreds of local security forces lost their lives protecting embassies in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, keeping Americans safe from the consequences of that video.
The ambassador to Egypt apologized and pleaded for calmness ahead of the riots and protests worldwide before what happened in Benghazi.
Protests had broken out throughout the day outside the compound over that video and the security wall was breeched as people came and went taking photo’s and video’s but none of that fits the narrative.
Marines were deployed before the mortar assaults and one marine received the Silver Star medal for his bravery during the assault but according to the narrative they were told to stand down.
The entire narrative was beaten up to give Mitt Romney a we

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1 reply
Wise-1 danielisticall May 07 2014 at 9:45 AM

For the msnbc nbc and cnn fool. Time for you to wake up and smell the roses. OR the stink given off by Obama.

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nasatristate May 07 2014 at 9:39 AM

You libs are really weird! This was a cover up to get Obama re-elected! Google Watergate/Nixon, perhaps that will give some insight into Obama's future!

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2 replies
danielisticall nasatristate May 07 2014 at 9:43 AM


Barack Obama,,Joe Biden,,, 65,899,660 popular vote 51.% electorial votes,,332
Mitt Romney,,,,Paul Ryan,,,, 60,932,152 popular vote 47.2% electorial votes,,,206
you lost and you lost badly Romney,, no amount of gifts can buy that kind of support”


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5 replies
Carl nasatristate May 07 2014 at 9:52 AM

No! It's much ado aboutr nothing for the republican's to gain political clout. Just look at the timing in of itself. Then we have this Mr. Gowdy stating that the republicans hold the house for a reason? Ever hear of gerymandering? The man's either stupid or arrogant. Then you have his statement that he's fair? He just proved himself disconnected from the truth and arrogant. But your going to miss all that aren't you?

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acmeme May 07 2014 at 9:37 AM

All of Hitlers men alaways backed him up!!!

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danielisticall May 07 2014 at 9:37 AM


Benghazi Attack: U.S. Special Forces Team Stopped From Going To Libya, Former Diplomat Gregory Hicks Claims
Meanwhile, a second team was preparing to leave on a Libyan C-130 cargo plane from Tripoli to Benghazi when Hicks said he learned from the Libyan prime minister that Stevens was dead. The Libyan military agreed to transport additional personnel as reinforcements to Benghazi on its cargo plane, but Hicks complained the special forces were told not to make the trip.
Gregory Hicks, a former diplomat in Tripoli at the time of the attack, told a House panel that the unit was told to stand down.
Dempsey said that was not the case.
"They weren't told to stand down. A `stand down' means don't do anything," he said. "They were told that the mission they were asked to perform was not in Benghazi, but was at Tripoli airport."

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1 reply
JRivers danielisticall May 07 2014 at 9:44 AM

And you think that exhonerates the Obama administration? Your story supports the need for further investigation.

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1 reply
rmg21943 JRivers May 07 2014 at 9:56 AM

The fact there was no STAND DOWN order and no cover-up exonerates the
Obama administration. Every committee has stated that! Republican and Democrat!
And the IRB!

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twalsh4440 May 07 2014 at 9:36 AM


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boyle1034 May 07 2014 at 9:35 AM

If the feminist movement wants a poster child as to why woman are incapable of
commanding sincere respect for high level involvement in serious human endeavor one Nancy Pelosi in the Triple Crown Winner.

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1 reply
sargeantsamson boyle1034 May 07 2014 at 9:56 AM

That's a tough one! That old lying hag Hillary is giving her a good run for the money!!!!

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jandjhoye May 07 2014 at 9:35 AM


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1 reply
Mark jandjhoye May 07 2014 at 9:37 AM

who is barry?

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nflamingo May 07 2014 at 9:34 AM

The American people know there is more to what happened and it was handled....now to get the TRUTH (good luck with that), since we have been lied too for so very long. I for one am tired of lies and promises by this administration.

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