House Republicans announced Friday they will form a special select committee to further investigate the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi attack that left an American ambassador and three others dead in 2012.
According to the announcement South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy is being considered to lead the committee.
“It’s clear that questions remain, and the administration still does not respect the authority of Congress to provide proper oversight,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a Friday statement.
“This dismissiveness and evasion requires us to elevate the investigation to a new level. I intend for this select committee to have robust authority, and I will expect it to work quickly to get answers for the American people and the families of the victims.”
The announcement of the committee follows a wave of fresh speculation sparked by a White House email to then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, which instructed her “to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure or policy” in her description of the attack to the public.
The instructions steered talking points delivered by Rice on a round of Sunday talk shows shortly after the attack, and are now widely regarded as an attempt to avoid bad press during a presidential election year. After the Rice’s remarks came under fire for shaping the incident to look more like a spontaneous protest rather than a planned assault, as military and intelligence agencies assessed, the White House continued to assert it placed no influence on Rice’s report.
Recent emails forcibly released through a Freedom of Information Act request prove that stance to be false, and Republicans on Capitol Hill are gathering in force to push for the strongest investigation into Benghazi yet.
“In light of these new developments, the House will vote to establish a new select committee to investigate the attack, provide the necessary accountability, and ensure justice is finally served,” Boehner said.
The announcement of the select committee came shortly after House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa said in a Friday statement he will subpoena Secretary of State John Kerry to testify on Benghazi and force the State Department to uncover or reveal any documents that have not yet been made public.
Boehner’s committee will be bipartisan, and must be approved on the floor of the House before being assembled.