US House creates Benghazi probe committee
May 10, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to create a select committee to investigate the attacks in Benghazi, Libya that left the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans dead.
The vote, mostly along party lines, rewards an 18-month mission by Republican lawmakers to fully probe the Obama administration's response to the Sept. 11, 2012 assault on the U.S. mission.
Republicans say the White House, at the height of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, misled the American people on the nature of the attack and the U.S. response.
The move all but ensures months of heated hearings, subpoenas and bitter partisan squabbling ahead of November's mid-term congressional elections.
The chamber voted 232-186 for establishing the committee, with seven Democrats joining Republicans in favor.
The panel will be chaired by Congressman Trey Gowdy, a second-term Tea Party Republican and former prosecutor from South Carolina.
"This doesn't need to be, shouldn't be and will not be a partisan process," insisted House Speaker John Boehner, who called for creating the panel after months of "stonewalling" by the White House.
"We will not take any shortcuts to the truth, accountability or justice."
Democrats have vigorously argued that the panel — which Boehner has signaled will be dominated by Republicans — was unnecessary, given that some eight investigations on Benghazi have already taken place.
"Republicans' unending eagerness to exploit these deaths is disrespectful to their families and unworthy of the American people," House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.