37 GOP Senators Urge Reid to Name Select Benghazi Panel

Thursday, 15 May 2014 06:38 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Thirty-seven Senate Republicans on Thursday called on Majority Leader Harry Reid to appoint a select committee to investigate the 2012 Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans.

"Congressional oversight is crucial to understanding what happened before, during and after the attacks, so we can be sure we do everything in our power to prevent future attacks," said the letter, which was released by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

"The American people, and especially the families of the fallen, deserve to know more."

The request comes a week after GOP House Speaker John Boehner formed a select committee — chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina — to investigate the attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, including two former Navy SEALs.

The senators noted that a recent bipartisan review of the assaults by the Senate Intelligence Committee was "largely confined to jurisdictional boundaries" — and that a new select panel would bridge such gaps.

House Democrats have resisted the Boehner panel, saying that its members should come equally from both parties. Boehner has named seven Republicans to the panel.

In the Senate on Monday, Democrats rejected a request by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas to establish at House-Senate select committee on Benghazi.

For his part, Reid — a Nevada Democrat — has said that the 25,000 pages of documents turned over by the State Department were more than satisfactory. He also has said that he was comfortable with the reports that had been completed on the attacks, as well as an internal review by State that attributed the attacks to poor decision-making by lower-level workers, The Washington Times reports.

In the Graham letter, the senators also pointed to the email released last month that shows White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes instructed U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to blame the attacks on a spontaneous protest that resulted from anger at an anti-Muslim video on YouTube.

Rice is now President Barack Obama's national security adviser.

The document was obtained last month by Judicial Watch in a lawsuit filed last year against the State Department.

"The release of this document, almost 20 months after the attacks, illustrates why there is doubt in Congress that the administration has provided all relevant information to the oversight committees," the senators said.

Others killed in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2012, were information management officer Sean Smith, and former SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.

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