Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday that he would comply with a subpoena from House Republicans to give testimony on the 2012 Benghazi attacks and answer questions to a select committee appointed by Speaker John Boehner.
"I've guaranteed that we'd cooperate every single way — and we have," Kerry said at a news conference at the State Department with European Union High Representative Lady Catherine Ashton. The pair met on a wide range of global issues. "I will and the department will. That's our obligation.
"We'll respond because we have absolutely nothing to hide whatsoever," Kerry said Tuesday. "I look forward to complying with whatever responsibilities we have."
Kerry was subpoenaed last week by Rep. Darrell Issa, the California Republican who heads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, to testify about why the State Department has only recently provided certain documents on the attacks on Sept. 11, 2012, which killed four Americans.
One critical document is a 2012 email released last week by Judicial Watch
showing Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes counseling former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to link the Benghazi attacks to an anti-Muslim video.
That email was not among the documents the oversight panel received in response to its subpoena last year. The committee received the email last week.
Judicial Watch sued the State Department for documents relating to Benghazi last year.
The Issa subpoena sets a May 21 testimony date. The State Department has said Kerry is expected to be on a trip that already had been planned to Mexico.
When asked again whether he would be testifying before the panel, Kerry said, "I'll comply with whatever responsibilities we have."
Boehner announced that the House would vote this week to create a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attacks — and on Monday he named South Carolina GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy
to head the panel.
Gowdy, a former prosecutor, told Greta Van Susteren
on Fox News Channel on Monday that he would pursue every document and every witness who can provide some insight on the attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, information management officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
At the news conference, Kerry attacked the developments as a "partisan" effort, saying the State Department has cooperated fully with various congressional investigations.
"I think this sort of speaks for itself, frankly," Kerry said. "We have had more than 50 briefings, there have been in the double digits of hearings, and we've delivered over 25,000 documents.
"I think everybody needs to take a hard look and measure what's already been put out there versus where this effort is going — and you see a very partisan response on the Hill with respect to it," he said.
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