WASHINGTON – They could have politely issued an invitation, but lawmakers investigating the Benghazi scandal, having lost all patience with what they see as stonewalling by the Obama administration, have subpoenaed Secretary of State John Kerry to testify before Congress, which will compel him to appear.
The subpoena requires Kerry to appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at a public hearing May 21.
In a blistering letter accompanying the subpoena, Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., wrote to Kerry that the State Department’s response to the congressional investigation of the Benghazi attack has shown “a disturbing disregard for the Department’s legal obligations to Congress.”
Issa pulled no punches, adding: “Compliance with a subpoena for documents is not a game. Because your Department is failing to meet its legal obligations, I am issuing a new subpoena to compel you to appear before the Committee.”
On April 17, the State Department informed the committee that it was finally producing previously unreleased emails that had been subpoenaed.
The emails showed that White House official Ben Rhodes coordinated talking points for then-Ambassador Susan Rice that encouraged her to emphasize on five Sunday talk shows that the attack which killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, was “rooted in an Internet video, and not a failure of policy.”
Issa wrote to Kerry that the fact that the documents were withheld from Congress for more than 19 months was “alarming.”
“The Department is not entitled to delay responsive materials because it is embarrassing or implicates the roles and actions of senior officials,” Issa said.
As WND reported Thursday, retired USAF Brig. Gen. Robert Lovell, who was in the operations control room in Germany on the night of the attack, testified before the oversight committee that the State Department never even asked military forces to try to save Americans in Benghazi.
It was announced Friday that the House will convene a select committee to investigate Benghazi and whether the White House tried to coverup blame for the scandal.
In calling for the committee, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, specifically cited his anger over the White House taking 19 months to produce the email from Rhodes to Rice.
After Boehner announced he intended to allow the formation of the select committee on Benghazi, Issa issued a statement.
“The Oversight Committee still expects Secretary Kerry to appear subject to subpoena on May 21,” Issa said. “He is still legally responsible for producing material responsive to the three document subpoenas issued by the Oversight Committee.”