Republicans are once again launching a multi-pronged attack on the Obama administration’s handling of the 2012 attack that killed two diplomats and two other employees at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
On Friday, Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner announced his intention to form a select committee to investigate the handling of the attack. Simultaneously, the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Committee said it had issued a subpoena for Secretary of State John Kerry to testify at a May 21 public hearing on the Benghazi incident.
The subpoena comes as Republicans try to hammer the administration over newly revealed emails that President Obama’s critics say show the administration was more concerned with its image than releasing the full truth about the attack.
“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,” Boehner said in a news release. “In light of these new developments, the House will vote to establish a new select committee to investigate the attack, provide the necessary accountability and ensure justice is finally served.”
Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Ohio, said the panel wanted Kerry to answer questions about the State Department's response to the congressional investigation of the Benghazi attack.
Issa said the State Department has not fully complied with previous subpoenas for documents related to the attack.
The Benghazi attack has become a political issue not only for Obama, but for Hillary Clinton. She was the Secretary of State at the time of the attack, and is widely expected to be a presidential candidate in 2016.
Many Republicans say Clinton and Obama did not do enough to protect diplomats and consulate employees from an attack by more than 150 armed Libyans in 2012. They also say the Obama administration attempted to cover up their failure by delaying the release of emails, and by blaming a YouTube video critical of Islam for the attack, instead of investigating the intelligence failures that could have led to the event.
The new emails, which were released as part of a public records request by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch on Tuesday, add fodder to Republicans’ argument that the Obama administration was concerned with the public’s perception of the attack. The emails contain communications between Obama’s media staff and other administration officials in which they discuss how to frame the attack.
Al Jazeera and wire services