Boehner Taps Rep. Gowdy to Head Benghazi Panel

Image: Boehner Taps Rep. Gowdy to Head Benghazi Panel

Monday, 05 May 2014 05:10 PM

By Newsmax Wires

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The White House is already suggesting that it might not cooperate with a Congressional investigation into the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya The Hill reports.

House Speaker John Boehner announced that South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy would be heading a special committee to investigate the Sept 11, 2012 attack that left four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, dead.

Press secretary Jay Carney said today that the probe would be a “highly partisan effort to politicize” what happened at Benghazi.

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

"If you look at even what some Republicans have said, it certainly casts doubt on the legitimacy of an effort that is so partisan in nature," The Hill reports.

"I don't think there are many people, including some Republicans… who believe that this is necessary after seven congressional committees and multiple investigations."

According to The Hill, Carney would not directly respond to questions about whether the White House would cooperate, adding that the "facts of yesterday" are the facts of today.

Meanwhile, Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer said he will also encourage other Democrats to follow that lead.

"We will urge members to vote no on it," Hoyer said today. "But, again, we haven't seen the language, we don't know what kind of committee they're talking about."

The Washington Post reports the Democrats could boycott the effort, with Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff suggesting over the weekend the option is on the table because it would be a “colossal waste of time” that has no “credibility."

Boehner last week announced he was forming the committee amid charges by Republicans that the administration has been obstructing the truth about the Benghazi attack.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa said the State Department withheld White House e-mails related to the attacks that he demanded both in writing and by subpoena. Issa has issued a subpoena to Secretary of State John Kerry to testify on the administration’s response to congressional investigations.

“Four Americans died at the hands of terrorists nearly 20 months ago, and we are still missing answers, accountability, and justice,” Boehner said in a statement last week.

Gowdy, who defeated a Republican incumbent Bob Inglis in a primary and then went on win his House seat in 2010, has impressed Republican leaders with his aggressive questioning of administration officials.

Gowdy said Friday that he has evidence of a "systematic, intentional" effort by the Obama administration to withhold documents from Congress about the 2012 Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans.

"I have evidence that, not only are they hiding it, there's an intent to hide it," the South Carolina Republican told "On the Record With Greta Van Susteren" on Fox News. "I can't disclose that evidence yet, but I have evidence that there was a systematic, intentional decision to withhold certain documents from Congress — and we're just sick of it."

The e-mails, released last week in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit from the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, call into question what the administration knew about the attack and how talking points to use in media interviews about the U.S. response to the attacks were conceived. 

Boehner, as recently as earlier this month, had resisted appointing a special committee. He told Fox News on April 8 that such a panel might be needed at some time but “at this point, it’s not.”

The e-mails changed that thinking, according to multiple aides who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. Boehner was furious that the e-mails were withheld, the aides said, and is irritated by what he considers evasion and obstruction by the White House.

Democrats in Congress dismissed the Benghazi focus as a witch hunt aimed at galvanizing the Republican base and a distraction from issues such as income inequality and immigration.

Hillary Clinton was U.S. secretary of state at the time of the attacks. Democrats have accused Republicans of using the Benghazi investigations partly to focus criticism on Clinton, a possible presidential candidate in 2016.

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

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