WASHINGTON - The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued subpoenas on Tuesday for State Department documents related to the widely debunked talking points about the cause of the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, last year.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is pressing for material from 10 current and former department officials, including several who had worked for former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. He gave the department until June 7 to comply.
"The State Department has not lived up to the administration's broad and unambiguous promises of cooperation with Congress. Therefore, I am left with no alternative but to compel the State Department to produce relevant documents through a subpoena," Issa said in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry.
The intelligence community's talking points compiled for members of Congress suggested the Sept. 11 attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans stemmed from protests over an anti-Islamic video rather than an assault by extremists. Five days after the attack, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice relied on the talking points in a series of interviews on the Sunday talk shows.
Republicans have accused the Obama administration of trying to mislead the American people about an act of terrorism in the heat of the presidential campaign. The White House says Rice reflected the best information available while facts were still being gathered.
Rice described the attack as a "horrific incident where some mob was hijacked, ultimately, by a handful of extremists."
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the top Democrat on the committee, said House Republicans "appear to be obsessed with Hillary Clinton and are distracting Congress from conducting responsible oversight to protect our diplomatic personnel serving overseas."