News / USA

Kerry Subpoened to Testify on Benghazi Attacks

FILE - An exterior view shows the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, a day after it was attacked and set on fire September 11, 2012.
FILE - An exterior view shows the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, a day after it was attacked and set on fire September 11, 2012.
Cindy Saine
The Republican speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, says the chamber will vote to create a new select committee to investigate the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans.  The announcement Friday came just hours after a House committee investigating the attack issued a subpoena to Secretary of State John Kerry to testify.

The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Republican Darrell Issa, has held four hearings on the 2012 attack in Benghazi that left the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans dead.  At a hearing Thursday, Issa rejected calls from Democratic lawmakers to end the Benghazi investigations.  

"The American people, more than anyone else in this body, have the absolute right to know why four men are dead in an attack that could have been prevented," said Issa.

On Friday, Issa issued a subpoena for Secretary of State John Kerry to appear before the House Oversight Committee to answer questions at a public hearing May 21.  Issa says he wants Kerry to explain why the State Department initially withheld emails that show White House official Ben Rhodes coordinated talking points for then-Ambassador Susan Rice to emphasize that the events at the Benghazi consulate were rooted in an Internet video and not a broader failure of policy.  The attacks came weeks before the November 2012 presidential election, and some Republicans say the Obama administration obstructed the truth about the attacks to protect the president's image.

Speaking for the State Department, Marie Harf pointed out that Issa issued a subpoena before even inviting Secretary Kerry to testify.  Kerry is on a trip to Africa.

"It's highly unusual for a subpoena to be issued before there is even an official invitation for testimony. I think everyone can make their own judgments about that. I'm not sure the secretary is even aware of the request, again, given his travel," said Harf.

American University professor Stephen Vladeck says congressional panels do have a constitutional right to conduct oversight:

"You know, as a matter of law there is no question Congress has the power to subpoena cabinet officials like Secretary Kerry.  As a matter of policy I think one can wonder if this is going to the well once or 16 times too often," said Vladeck.

Republican Speaker Boehner also announced Friday that the House will vote on creating a special committee to probe the Benghazi attack.  Such select committees in the past have held major investigations like the Watergate break-ins and wire-tapping under President Richard Nixon.

Professor Vladeck said he does not believe the probe will yield any important new information.

"It certainly smacks of politics in a way that suggests that the real focus of the investigation is on attempts  to discredit former [Secretary of State] Clinton and her staff.  I think if there was a "smoking gun" that really highlighted gross misconduct and gross negligence on the part of the Obama administration, we would have seen it by now," he said.

Hillary Clinton was secretary of state at the time of the attacks, and is considered the likely Democratic frontrunner if she decides to run for president in 2016.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid