Rep. Darrell Issa slapped the State Department with a subpoena on Tuesday, demanding Secretary of State John Kerry to release more documents related to the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya, last year.
The California Republican who chairs the House Committee on Government Oversight said the State Department had “ignored or otherwise failed” to provide the documents requested for further investigation.
The ongoing, Republican-led investigation has continued to question the Obama administration’s handling of Sept. 11 terrorist attack last year that left four Americans dead—including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. Lawmakers have focused their attention on how the administration shaped the talking points that U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice delivered five days after the attack, in what some Republicans have characterized as a massive “cover up” to pin the attacks on a protest rather than as a premeditated terrorist act.
“The State Department has not lived up to the administration’s broad and unambiguous promises of cooperation with Congress,” Issa wrote in a letter to Kerry. “Therefore, I am left with no alternative but to compel the State Department to produce relevant documents through a subpoena.”
The subpoena encompasses “all documents and communications referring or relating to the Benghazi talking points” between a number of current and former State Department personnel. Dissatisfied with the State Department’s previous request for documents in early January, Issa now gives Kerry a June 7 deadline to provide the materials.
Issa has long wielded his position not simply as an oversight board, but as a judge the president’s administration. One month before he was confirmed to head the committee on oversight, Issa pledged to expand his role beyond his predecessors to “measure failures” beyond policy.
Earlier this month, White House released email communications to the public showing how the administration drafted the Benghazi talking points. President Obama has called Issa’s efforts to investigate the attack a “sideshow” and a “political circus,” saying Congress had been provided with the information they needed.
“The emails that you allude to were provided by us to congressional committees,” Obama said earlier this month. “They reviewed them several months ago, concluded that in fact there was nothing afoul in terms of the process that we had used. And suddenly, three days ago, this gets spun up as if there’s something new to the story. There’s no ‘there’ there.”