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

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.