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Washington Week: More US Government Probes Expected

  • Michael Bowman

Scrutiny of the Obama administration could reach a fever-pitch this week. New questions have arisen concerning last year’s deadly attack at U.S. outposts in Benghazi, Libya, and America’s tax-collecting agency has admitted to wrongdoing.

Just when it seemed investigations of the Benghazi attack had run their course, ABC News said it obtained emails showing State Department editing of administration talking points to downplay terrorist involvement in the incident, in which four Americans were killed.

The revelation breathes new life into congressional probes, particularly in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Congressman Darrell Issa said, “Our goal in this investigation is to get answers.”

The White House has long denied intentionally misleading the American people about the September attack, which came at the height of President Barack Obama's re-election effort. Spokesman Jay Carney said, “This [controversy] would be more significant if we did not acknowledge from the beginning that extremists were likely involved. This is an effort to accuse the administration of hiding something that we did not hide.”

Lovers of Washington intrigue got a double-dose of titillating news Friday. The federal tax-collecting agency, the IRS, admitted to subjecting Republican-affiliated Tea Party groups to heightened scrutiny last year.

The Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell, accused the IRS of “thuggish” tactics. Democratic Senator Carl Levin has promised an investigation. White House Spokesman Carney described IRS actions as “inappropriate”, but noted the IRS is a politically-independent agency.

Meanwhile, the ongoing crisis in Syria is expected to be a focus of discussions when President Obama meets this week with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.