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House votes to start new Benghazi investigation

By Bradley Klapper and Donna Cassata

WASHINGTON (AP) - House Republicans on Thursday rammed through a measure opening a new investigation of the deadly assault in Benghazi, Libya, vowing to dig deeper in a search for truth. Democrats declared it merely a political ploy to raise campaign cash and motivate voters.

A bitterly divided House voted 232-186 to establish the panel that Speaker John Boehner insisted would answer questions that linger almost 20 months after the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission. Seven Democrats, many facing tough re-election campaigns, broke ranks and joined Republicans in supporting the probe.

The panel's investigation will be the eighth on Benghazi and will examine the entirety of the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Independent, bipartisan and GOP-led probes have faulted the State Department for inadequate security at the outpost, leading to four demotions. No attacker has yet been brought to justice.

Republicans say they're unsatisfied with explanations so far, and they have leveled a range of accusations against President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other senior administration officials. Chief among them: that the administration misled the American people about the nature of the attack during a presidential election campaign and stonewalled congressional investigators.

"We will not take any shortcuts to the truth, accountability or justice," Boehner said during House debate.

Democrats remain divided over whether to boycott the select committee. They are concerned that their participation would grant legitimacy to what they believe will be a partisan forum. But they also worry that if they avoid it they won't have the chance to counter GOP claims and defend potential witnesses - including Clinton, a possible 2016 presidential candidate.

Party leaders will meet with their rank and file Friday morning to decide on the next step.

Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida criticized the "song and dance" she said came from Clinton when House members wanted to question her about Benghazi a few months after the attack. Clinton's testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee was delayed when she missed a month of work toward the end of her tenure after suffering a virus, then a fall and a concussion, and then brief hospitalization for a blood clot near her brain.

Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., said no evidence uncovered in any of the investigations thus far suggests wrongdoing by the administration. Republican claims have descended into "the crass and unbelievable," she said.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said the questions "have been asked and answered time and time and time again," and he added: "Let's end the political circus."

Benghazi has produced 13 public hearings, the release of 25,000 pages of documents and 50 separate briefings. The select committee won't be the only inquiry, as other GOP-led congressional panels continue their probes, including a House Oversight investigation which just last week took the extraordinary step of subpoenaing a Cabinet member. Secretary of State John Kerry hasn't said when he might testify.

Democrats deride the effort as a conservative campaign designed to energize Republican voters in typically low-turnout midterm elections.

Boehner's legislation creates a select House committee through the end of the year. It will have to be reapproved when a new Congress begins in January or go out of existence. The select committee has no explicit financial constraints.

Earlier this week, the National Republican Congressional Committee sent an email vowing that "no one will get away" from the committee's investigation and asking people for donations.

Rep. Steve Israel of New York, the Democratic campaign committee chairman, called fundraising off Benghazi "despicable and insulting." Boehner on Thursday refused to criticize the fundraising drive.

In an opinion piece Thursday in USA Today, the congressman whom Boehner has chosen to head the probe signaled he'd re-examine the entirety of the Benghazi attack, including questions Democrats and some senior Republicans consider settled.

David Brock Urges CBS News To Reopen '60 Minutes' Benghazi Investigation

The GOP-led House Armed Services Committee concluded months ago the U.S. military couldn't have responded in time to save Stevens and the others. Still, Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina asked: "Was our military response during the pendency of the siege sufficient?"

The Obama administration says officials tried to provide the public with the best information available after the attack at a time when U.S. embassies, consulates and other facilities were facing angry demonstrations across the Muslim world over a YouTube video mocking Islam's Prophet Muhammad. The administration originally attributed Benghazi to a similar protest that extremists hijacked, but retracted that account amid severe criticism.

House Democrats have issued several demands if they are to participate in the select committee. Boehner already has rejected their call for equal representation on the panel, deciding instead to fill it with seven Republicans and five Democrats. The Democrats also seek guarantees they'll have equal access to documents, say on subpoenas and right to question witnesses. Negotiations continue.

Join the discussion

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mily469 May 09 2014 at 9:38 AM

time for an Iraq investigation. we have not had even one.

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Wendy Ann May 09 2014 at 9:29 AM

WHY would we not be concerned????? Our "precious" first lady is petitioning with a sad face, the release of foreign girls. Yes it's a tragedy, but we're sending troops to a foreign country to save them????? What about our Americans that relied on us to "save" them!!!!!
"It doesn't matter anymore" we were told......God help America!!

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2 replies
naojf22936 Wendy Ann May 09 2014 at 9:49 AM

America help.....America. We've got problems, too. Never mind what the First Lady is doing....take care of your own business.

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robert Wendy Ann May 09 2014 at 9:51 AM

Are you talking about the thousand of Americans that died right here in our country under the last Republican administration? Gee, why didn't our fearless leaders save them back then? What about all those attacks under the Reagan administration? Surely Jesus Christ Reagan prevented those deaths, right? Did it matter back then? Or does it only matter when something MUCH SMALLER happens when we have a Democratic President?

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kgc073 May 09 2014 at 9:28 AM

The Dems came up with the phoney video story in order to win elections and now the GOP is doing the same thing. What a disgrace this story is. I really feel sorry for the love ones of the four people who were murdered.

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1 reply
robert kgc073 May 09 2014 at 9:52 AM

You really are oblivious about the whole video causing protests and riots, aren't you? Yes, they did happen all over the middle east. But, alas, you are not concerned with facts, only gotcha misinformation.

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James M. Adams May 09 2014 at 9:27 AM

Are the Syrians still turning in their weapons to John Kerry? Ha ha. Just kidding.

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1 reply
stuart100s James M. Adams May 09 2014 at 9:33 AM

The Ukrainians turned their weapons in to Obama when he was a senator. He promised to protect them.

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1 reply
robert stuart100s May 09 2014 at 9:53 AM

Wow... I didn't realize one Senator had that much power. And all this time I thought the buck stopped at the President's desk. Thanks for that Tea Party education. LOL

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seabasskj May 09 2014 at 9:27 AM

We don't know all the facts about Benghazi, but we do know that the White House has misled the public about it. At 10:00pm of the night of the attack, Obama spoke with Hillary Clinton. But the White House sent the Senate a letter stating that the president made no phone calls that night after having a phone call earlier with Benjamin Netanyahu. Unfortunately, Jay Carney made a statement during a press briefing that contradicted that letter, and then the White House had to admit that phone call. Just a half hour after that phone call, Hillary issued a press statement through the Dept, of State in which she said that the attackers were justifying their behavior due to the video. That was the first time anyone had blamed the video for the attack. But it would be used as the excuse for many days later. Did she discuss with Obama what that statement was going to say? Why did the White House keep the Susan Rice talking points email hidden until forced to give it up?

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1 reply
robert seabasskj May 09 2014 at 9:55 AM

Are you stupid or do you think we are to believe your crap? Keep investigating. Keep raising money off the deaths of these four Americans. Karma will come back.

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1 reply
seabasskj robert May 09 2014 at 10:00 AM

OK Einstein, tell us all exactly which fact that I have stated is wrong? Come on, we're waiting. If you don't respond, we will know who is stupid.

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wstarhopper May 09 2014 at 9:27 AM

This investigation NEEDS to happen and it needs to happen now ! The Democrats answers of What difference does it make now needs to be shoved into their faces. The indiffreance that Hilary showed when she gave that answer shows what kind of a president she will make! the kind that only cares about herself. She will throw anyone else under the bus.

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1 reply
Steve wstarhopper May 09 2014 at 9:33 AM

I am guessing that you don't even care about the 2,993 who died on our soil as a result of NO leadership under your W hero.

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1 reply
stuart100s Steve May 09 2014 at 9:37 AM

Are those the people that Clinton allowed to die due to his lack of courage when Chad offered OBL on a silver platter?

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sachfoxo May 09 2014 at 9:26 AM

I would have come home after a country was overthrown. you can't blame Obama or Clinton ! Just use your brain . Aren't you tired of paying Tax's to the federal government when Speaker John Boehner shut's the GOVERNMENT DOWN and they are still getting paid . Look at who they pick to run for President , Romney and Lying Ryan , McCain and Sarah Palin. Romney has his money hidden all outside the United states ! I say they Pay the 35% Tax on all their hidden money . I am not Backing Obama who will go down in History as the Worst President we ever had I am saying the Whole USA is tiered of the same rhetoric of not getting along . Speaker John Boehner as Shut down our government several times and is full of it !

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3 replies
texastotenmom May 09 2014 at 9:25 AM


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2 replies
thomashollman19 texastotenmom May 09 2014 at 9:33 AM

----------VOTE THE LYING BASTARDS OUT--------------------------------------------------

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Steve texastotenmom May 09 2014 at 9:34 AM

I cannot hear people who are screaming! Ouch!!!

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drepke May 09 2014 at 9:25 AM

I guess those here calling for investigations into the Iraq war forgot that all but a handful of Demcrats in the House and Senate voted for it. It was based on over 20 years of Saddam's use of WMD which have been documented by the UN as 25,000 killed in WMD attacks by Saddam's regieme. The UN also had 17 resolutions against Saddam's possesion of WMDs. Every Western intelligence service stated he had them and used them. The National Ground Intelligence Center wrote an open letter to Congress in 2006 asking what they wanted them to do with the more than 550 WMD warheads they had in storage that had been found in Iraq. The big LIE wasn't Saddam didn't have them the big LIE was the Democrats and media decided in 2004 for to use this issue as a political tool to regain the Congress and Whitehouse. That was revealed in a memo from Jay Rockfeller of WV that was found in his wastepaper basket. We have thousands of warheads of WMD in Iraq the media just chooses to ignore it, like they do many p

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gdyas May 09 2014 at 9:24 AM

What is wrong with telling the American People the truth, whether it be Conservative, or Liberal, made the hearings be broadcast for all to see, and anyone caught lying is sent to jail, the American People deserve to know the whole Truth. The President said his administration would be transparent, but to this point it has been far from that. If there is no wrong-doing, then why are they trying to stonewall. It makes me sick to think of how far down our Country has fallen, we use to be looked up too, and now we are made fun of. It is time for the politicians to be held accountable, and this means both sides of the aisle, stop being Democrate, and Republican, but start being Americans.

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