House Speaker John Boehner announced Monday a vote on a select committee that would investigate the Obama administration’s reaction to the 2012 Benghazi, Libya, attacks that killed four Americans in light of new emails that critics say prove an Obama administration cover-up.
Select committees are reserved for only the worst controversies, so Boehner’s announcement brought applause and criticism, depending on who was asked.
With Republicans in control of the House, the committee likely will be given the go-ahead.
“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,” Boehner 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.”
Boehner was referencing new emails released by the White House last week that show White House advisor Ben Rhodes contacted officials to come up with “goals” for then-U.N. ambassador Susan Rice’s appearance on Sunday talk shows. At the time, Rice said the attack on the consulate was due to Muslim protests over an Internet video. The White House previously had said Rice received her intelligence from the CIA. The question is whether the attack was due to American foreign policy and even whether the State Department had advance warning.
The new emails were released under a Freedom of Information request from the group Judicial Watch. Some Republicans say the White House had been covering up the emails because of their content.
“The administration’s withholding of documents – emails showing greater White House involvement in misleading the American people – is a flagrant violation of trust and undermines the basic principles of oversight upon which our system of government is built,” Boehner said. “And it forces us to ask the question, what else about Benghazi is the Obama administration still hiding from the American people?
“The House committees that have been investigating this attack have done extraordinary work, using their subpoena power, holding dozens of hearings, and conducting hundreds of interviews. Without this work we would not know much that we do today. But it’s clear that questions remain, and the administration still does not respect the authority of Congress to provide proper oversight. This dismissiveness and evasion requires us to elevate the investigation to a new level.”
Republicans will choose their members of the committee and Democrats their members – that is, if Democrats choose even to participate.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D.-California, said he believe Democrats should boycott it.
“The Republican conference is so fractured, there’s only two things they agree on, they don’t like Obamacare and so, we’ve had 50 votes on that and they do like talking about Benghazi. So, we’ve had four investigations on that,” he said on FoxNews. “But I don’t think it makes sense really for Democrats to participate. I think it’s just a tremendous red herring and a waste of taxpayer resources.”