Boehner to create select committee on Benghazi, GOP Sens call for joint panel
May 2nd, 2014
03:45 PM ET
7 years ago

Boehner to create select committee on Benghazi, GOP Sens call for joint panel

Washington (CNN) - House Speaker John Boehner said Friday that he will form a select committee to investigate the deadly terror attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi in 2012.

The move comes after previously unreleased documents, including an email from a White House national security aide, added to questions about what the Obama administration knew about the armed assault and how it responded in the days after.

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Until now, Boehner resisted calls from House Republicans to establish such a committee, repeatedly pointing to the four House panels already investigating the matter that has become a political flashpoint in the conduct of foreign policy.

But a senior GOP leadership aide said the new email from Ben Rhodes, a document previously not disclosed to Congress that listed talking points on the attack for an administration official, "were the straw that broke the camel's back."

Republicans contend the email, written days after the attack and two months before the 2012 presidential election, proves White House manipulation of the messaging for political purposes, and a cover-up of the fact that Benghazi was, indeed, a terror attack.

"The administration's withholding of documents – emails showing greater White House involvement in misleading the American people – is a flagrant violation of trust and undermines the basic principles of oversight upon which our system of government is built," Boehner said in a statement announcing the new panel.

Separately, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa on Friday said he had subpoenaed Secretary of State John Kerry to testify about the development later this month.

Boehner said the select committee would “elevate the investigation to a new level.”

Obama administration officials initially said the attacks stemmed from protests generated by an anti-Muslim film, but evidence emerged that al Qaeda-affiliated terror groups were also involved in the assault.

Rhodes’ email indicates that the goal of the administration's talking points for U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice was to "underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy."

The email surfaced after Judicial Watch, an outside conservative group, received a response this week to its Freedom of Information Act request for Benghazi materials.

Senior House GOP aides told CNN that the select committee would be led by South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy, a former prosecutor and member of the Oversight Committee.

But details on how it would work, the kind of investigative powers it would have, and who else would serve on it were being worked out, according to several Republican aides.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the Oversight panel, said that committee has already taken the lead on the investigation.

“There is no authority you can give a select committee that Chairman Issa doesn't already have, including the ability to issue unilateral subpoenas to compel any witness or any document,” he said.

Virginia Republican Rep. Frank Wolf introduced a bill to form a select committee three months after the attacks that 190 House GOP members have co-sponsored. Boehner said the House would vote on a measure to create the panel but the timing of the vote is unclear.

The leadership aide, who declined to be identified in order to speak freely about internal talks, explained that "while the existing investigatory committees in the House have full subpoena power, the administration has now demonstrated it is willing to flagrantly defy such subpoena requests, compelling the House to consider taking the strongest actions possible in an effort to ensure Americans have the truth about what happened."

House Democrats contend the continued GOP focus on Benghazi is a motivated by politics.

They said the Rhodes email contains the same type of message that was included in documents already released showing how the administration was interpreting its intelligence on the attacks.

Asked about the new documents on Thursday, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters, "I haven't seen that but what I will say is diversion, subterfuge. Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi – why aren't' we talking about something else?"

Pelosi's spokesman said she has not been contacted by Boehner or anyone else in Republican leadership about the move to form a select committee.

In the Senate, Republicans who have been outspoken on Benghazi called for a joint committee.

“We call on Majority Leader Harry Reid to take similar action and to work with Speaker Boehner to make the select committee a joint effort between the House and Senate. We owe it to the families that lost their loved ones in the Benghazi attack to finally get to the truth,” Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and John McCain of Arizona said in a statement.

Reid was dismissive. “While Republicans try to gin up yet another political food fight, Senate Democrats will remain focused on fostering economic growth for all hard-working Americans,” he said.

CNN’s Ted Barrett contributed to this report.

Filed under: Congress • John Boehner • Libya
soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. Robert

    Did they find a way to resurrect a dead horse?
    Unless there is a horse messiah? This is boring,old news.
    No one cares.

    May 2, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. gopdumpsterfire

    Guess Boehner wants to get the heat off for saying the truth about his own caucus. There are plenty of other better scandals to go after Obama for like why virtually nobody from Wall St has went to jail.

    May 2, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. TBell

    I just don't understand!

    May 2, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  4. otlset

    Four Americans needlessly died - then Obama and Hillary came out and LIED! They LIED for political expedience (Obama lied to get re-elected!) and no one seems to care - after all, at this point WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE, eh Obamadroids?!!

    Obama and Hillary have blood on their hands.

    May 2, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  5. John

    The ignorance on this board is beyond anything I've ever seen before. Clearly all you other posters have not a shred of a clue. Please go educate yourselves on this matter before you open your mouths and spew more ignorance. The lies and cover up related to the Benghazi incident makes Watergate look like a walk in the park. Maybe if you took the time to actually research everything that occurred and what we've been fed from the anointed one's administration you would see the real kind of "leader" we have.

    May 2, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. kiki

    The Republicans are bereft of any ideas to actually move this country forward and instead focus all of their energy on grudges against Obama. It is pathetic.

    May 2, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  7. MaryM

    Jesus H Christ. What the hell is wrong with these republicans? Is this all they can do is waste the Taxpayers money?
    What have the republicans done for America in the last 6 years?
    This is the only thing republicans can do. They have Nothing to offer Americans and have done Nothing for Americans in the last 6 years . And that will come out in the upcoming elections!!

    May 2, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |

    @Tampa Your remarks are very narrow . You know attacks are down due the Bush aggressive anti terror policies and all the time the dems were crying stop the war on terror . Now we got that Benghazi . After all the lessons learned Dems have no leadership at nothing but to destroy america on EVERY level .

    May 2, 2014 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |

    these neocon fascist must first start a investigation into 911 without obstruction from the vice president who profited from war and then repeal citizens united and give democracy back to the people , and then investigate the wrong doings under bush that caused untold death and destruction based on LIES ! then the need to make law on term limits , then find the trillions wasted in the pentagon (missing) , then they need to take a good hard look at themselves and then apologize to America's people and then the world , for the criminal acts/attacks that have developed under the gop , !

    May 2, 2014 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. bryan

    "Obama administration officials initially said the attacks stemmed from protests generated by an anti-Muslim film, but evidence emerged that al Qaeda-affiliated terror groups were also involved in the assault. "

    There was NO protest in Benghazi

    what kind of twisted (Cee U Next Tuesday) tells the families of the dead that they will make sure a filmmaker is locked up when they KNEW FROM THE SECOND IT HAPPENED there was no demonstration and NO VIDEO involved?

    May 2, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  11. Koold

    About time. Obama and his crew can come up with more creative lies for all their fans out there that voted this idiot in office. Long live King Obama. Chief Liar of the world. Putin runs in fear of you. What a dolt and yes I am bigoted could ya tell.

    May 2, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. You are welcom3

    It is about time. Just cause the outcOme may not favor demo does not mean people should not ask for the truth. If it was a rep. They would be like feeding sharks. fair is fair digg for the truth if it doesn't come out there anything was wrong So be it.

    May 2, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. bryan

    "LA LA LA" if I say nothing happened and the press lets me get away with it then nothing happened. " LA LA LA "

    May 2, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  14. WhatABunchOfSissies

    Crooks investigating Crooks.
    Stay tuned

    May 2, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  15. NameJim

    Its about time...any fool can see what happened and the Dems and media are in denial who refuse to see it. The fact that they keep selling that a video was to blame, on 9/11 of all days, insults my intelligence. I just wish this would get more coverage elsewhere so I don't have to hold my nose and watch Fox to find out what is going on.

    May 2, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. notogop

    Let me see, the House Reps. have repealled Obamacare 47 times and now they want to waste more time chasing a long dead issue, rather than doing something comstructive for the country. Even with their stall tactics, the unemployment rate continues to fall. Think how well the country might be doing if these clowns would do something constructive rather that obstructive. It's a shame. I hope they will pay a very high price come election day.

    May 2, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. smith

    @Tampa Tim-The difference is Bush didn`t blame the events under his watch on a youtube video that made a protest spin out of control. Why didn`t they say they are not sure what happend at this point in time? Why not just say we will release a statement when we have the facts? The dems did this to themselves and now they are stuck.

    May 2, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  18. CatDaddyKSC

    The slanderous smearing of Trey Gowdy starts in 3...2....1.... Good luck with that guys. He's honest and has an excellent legal mind. Even my liberal friends here in SC admire his character.

    May 2, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  19. Silence DoGood

    @Tampa Tim
    If I was a worthless drunk in charge of the House of Representatives, I would demand that Issa spend millions for no reason, other than to embarrass Hillary for republican wrong doing by not funding our embassies. No republican outrage for 9-11-2001, 15 embassy attacks under Bush with 50 Americans killed, unnecessary republican wars with 4500 Americans killed, makes this republican hypocrisy the biggest witch hunt since Salem.
    When you put it THAT way, you know like what is actually happening, it is nothing more than the loony right wagging the tail of wasting my tax dollars.

    But we are going ahead with it, we need to subpoena the GOPers who voted to reduce embassy security over and over. Surely they are part of a secret conspiracy too. I mean there is no evidence so it MUST be out there.

    May 2, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  20. robert

    Let the impeachment begin

    May 2, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  21. Brian

    This is crazy. I thoght this was resolved.

    May 2, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. betterdays

    " Qaeda-affiliated terror groups were also involved in the assault?" So CNN still thinks it's just a coincidence that al Qaeda picked that night to attack, while others were (conveniently) violently protesting a YouTube video almost no one had ever viewed? Incredible.

    May 2, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. srcactus

    Get it all out in the open. We are learning, although partisans have different view, that there has been false information used for political purposes. This administration has been so impeccably honest, I don't know what else to say.

    Harry Reid is digging his own political grave if the 2014 elections polls are correct.

    May 2, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. Vijay

    The reason why they are doing is to energize their base to vote in 2014. They know GOP is in rock bottom and they have no chance to win 2014.
    Man.... Obama need to start putting the white th ugs (W and Cheney) to the prison for their war crimes. This lesson is badly needed.

    May 2, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. patNY

    Well, I suppose the Dems should be kicking themselves in the butts for not trying to impeach and indict Bush and his entire Administration for all of their lies and crimes when the Dems took over Congress in the last couple of years of Bush's last term. It seems this is all Republicans do when they control part or all of congress when a Dem is in the WH.

    May 2, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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