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Boehner to appoint select Benghazi committee

May. 2, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
A burnt house and a car are seen inside the U.S. Embassy compound on September 12, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya following an overnight attack on the building. The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed in the attack. (AFP via Getty Images)
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House Speaker John Boehner said Friday that the House will vote to create a new select committee to investigate the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans.

Such select committees have been held in the past for major investigations such as Watergate.

"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," he said.

"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."

A senior Republican aide told the Associated Press that Boehner may choose Republican congressman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina to chair the select committee.

The move comes hours after a House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Consulate issued a subpoena to Secretary of State John Kerry to explain why his State Department withheld the contents of emails that may have shown a White House hand in shaping a false narrative about the attack.

The new emails "appears to offer conclusive evidence that your agency attempted to illegally withhold subpoenaed material," which is illegal and "may constitute a criminal offense," according the subpoena letter to Kerry from Rep. Darrel Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

The previously unreleased emails were given to the committee April 17, only after a federal court order in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by conservative watchdog Judicial Watch.

The emails showed Ben Rhodes, then-strategic communications adviser at the White House, "attempted to orchestrate a campaign to 'reinforce' President Obama and to portray the Benghazi consulate terrorist attack as being 'rooted in an internet video, and not a failure of policy,'" Issa wrote, citing the Rhodes' email and the Judicial Watch press release.

Committee member Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., said Issa's subpoena was "not a responsible approach to congressional oversight," calling it an "unnecessary conflict for the sake of publicity" and "shockingly disrespectful" to Kerry.

Issa's subpoena comes a day after House Speaker John Boehner said Kerry should explain why the documents were not sent to Congress under its original Benghazi subpoena order.

U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died in the terror attack that happened seven weeks before the 2012 U.S. presidential election.

Contributing: Susan David in Washington

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