House Republicans on Thursday called on the Obama administration to release a new batch of emails that they believe will shed more light on how the White House and the State Department responded in the days after the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya.
Speaker John Boehner, in a written statement, made the request, saying, “The truth shouldn’t be hidden from the American people behind a White House firewall.”
His move was the first of many expected by Republicans in the coming days and weeks to try to force the White House to divulge more documents and allow additional witnesses to testify. Republican-led investigations into the siege on Benghazi — which cost four Americans, including U.S. ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, their lives — have been growing in intensity and scope.
Boehner’s statement came a day after House Republicans held a politically and emotionally charged hearing in which three U.S. officials testified that the military and the State Department could have done more to prevent the attacks and that they had bungled the response.
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The Obama administration has accused congressional Republicans of using their investigative powers to mount a political witch hunt that is designed to embarrass President Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former secretary of state and a leading contender for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, should she decide to run.
Republicans have tried to link Obama and Clinton to what they say was an effort to conceal the involvement of terrorists in the attacks. White House officials have said that they based their initial response to the attacks — which they said were spurred by an anti-Islamic video — on the intelligence they had at the time.
Boehner said Thursday at a briefing for reporters that there was still much to uncover about what the administration knew about the intelligence at the time. He vowed to give his committee chairmen who are leading five separate investigations into Benghazi the leeway to issue subpoenas as they see fit.