Politico: WH Forced Boehner's Hand in Creating Benghazi Panel

Image: Politico: WH Forced Boehner's Hand in Creating Benghazi Panel

Wednesday, 07 May 2014 09:38 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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House Speaker John Boehner was forced to empanel a special select committee to investigate the Benghazi attacks when he realized that the White House was engaged in a potential cover-up, Politico reported.

Considering that multiple congressional committees had been examining the terror attacks, the veteran Ohio congressman had for months rejected appeals from conservatives within his party to create a special committee.

But Boehner had an abrupt change of mind when Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group, unearthed a string of documents and emails relating to Benghazi through the Freedom of Information Act that these committees had been unable to obtain despite issuing subpoenas for them, Politico reported.

Urgent: Do You Think There is a Cover-up on Benghazi? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

The speaker felt that he then had no other option than to act quickly and decisively by instituting a special panel, which the GOP hopes will find out what really happened in Benghazi and the immediate aftermath when Democrats faced criticism over the attacks.

"In Boehner’s mind, one of two things was happening:  the Obama administration was giving House Republicans short shrift, or House committees were unable to get the full documents," wrote Politico’s Jake Sherman and Lauren French. "Either explanation was unacceptable."

Boehner has tapped South Carolina GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy, a seasoned prosecutor, to probe the chaotic series of events surrounding the night of Sept. 11, 2012, when militants linked to al-Qaida attacked the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya, killing Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Republican Illinois Rep. Peter Roskam, the party’s chief deputy whip, said, "I think the select committee — there is a sadness to it in a way. By that I mean, the speaker was reluctant to do this. It’s not something he was celebrating or anxious to do, even with earlier calls for it.

"But when the White House is releasing information in discovery in lawsuits that they are not releasing to Congress, that is a very serious breakdown that has to be dealt with. The speaker had a choice."

The select committee will attempt to unravel the mystery surrounding the timeline of what then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama knew about the terror attacks while they were happening and when they knew it.

The panel will also be charged with investigating the reasons behind the lack of security at the mission and whether the White House deliberately attempted to downplay the attack just weeks before the presidential election.

The GOP is hoping the committee will finally get to the bottom of allegations that National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who was then the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, misled the public by stating on talk shows right after the attacks that they were the result of a spontaneous uprising over an anti-Islamic video.

The House will vote Thursday on a resolution to create the committee, which will have seven Republicans and five Democrats. But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California is fiercely opposed to it, saying that the panel should be evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, Politico noted.

"The goal here will be to select serious, sober-minded members who will make this about finding answers to some troubling questions and will not make this a partisan shouting match," one congressional aide insisted to Politico. "We’re not going to convene a kangaroo court."

Urgent: Do You Think There is a Cover-up on Benghazi? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

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