WASHINGTON - The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued subpoenas Tuesday for State Department documents related to the widely debunked talking points about the cause of the deadly attack last year on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
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.
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.
In response to the subpoenas, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said the department remained committed to working with Congress, would assess the latest request, and would decide its next steps.
He strongly suggested that Congress and the media move on, focusing instead on security at diplomatic posts worldwide.
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. This investigation has been politicized from the beginning as House Republicans accuse first and then scramble to find evidence to back up their unsubstantiated claims."
Earlier this month, the White House released 100 pages of e-mails and other documents about the talking points.
Issa said the e-mails and documents failed to answer the question of who else at the department other than former State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland had concerns about the early versions of the talking points.