Will Be Majority On House Benghazi Panel
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[May 07, 2014]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The majority
of seats on a new committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks will
be held by Republicans, a congressional aide said on Tuesday, despite
Democrats' insistence that the panel must be evenly divided in order to
conduct a nonpartisan investigation.
A senior House of Representatives leadership aide told Reuters
that the new House Select Committee will include seven Republicans
and five Democrats.
Democrats had called for an evenly divided panel. But Republicans
control a majority - 233 - of the 435 seats in the House, and thus
would typically have more members on a House panel.
Republicans have led the charge to investigate the administration's
handling of the assaults on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi,
Libya, which killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans on
September 11, 2012.
Eight different congressional committees have investigated the
incident, holding more than a dozen hearings and 50 briefings, and
examining 25,000 pages of documents.
The intensity of the probe has prompted Democrats to accuse the
Republicans of political motivations, with an eye toward tarnishing
President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of
state when the attacks took place and is seen as a likely 2016
Democratic presidential candidate.
Republicans counter that the administration deliberately misled the
American public about the nature of the attack as Obama ran for
reelection in November 2012.
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The release last week of an email by a top Obama foreign policy aide
that seemed to suggest a White House effort to protect the president
breathed new life into the controversy.
On Friday the House Oversight Committee announced it would issue a
rare subpoena to a cabinet member, current Secretary of State John
Kerry, to testify on Benghazi. House Speaker John Boehner announced
he would seek a vote on forming the select committee.
The Republican-controlled House is expected to easily approve the
committee when it comes up for a vote this week.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Prudence Crowther)
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