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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Issa subpoenas more Benghazi documents

Rep. Darrell Issa issued a subpoena on Tuesday demanding more documents from the State Department for records related to the controversial talking points used in the days after the attack on the Benghazi consulate.

Issa, the chairman of the House oversight committee, wants State to turn over documents from 10 current and former employees not included in the last batch of emails from the department that the Republican claims could provide more details into how and why the talking points were changed.

“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 wrote in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry.

Republicans have charged that the White House stripped the talking points — which U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice used in appearance on Sunday shows the weekend after the attacks — of all references to “terrorism” in order to achieve a political goal.

The White House turned over 100 pages emails earlier this month and argued those emails show it was CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell — not State spokeswoman Victoria Nuland — who first suggested removing terrorism references from the talking points.
Issa said those emails were insufficient.

”The State Department’s response failed to acknowledge that we requested all communications related to talking points, to or from nine State Department officials,” Issa wrote. “Despite the fact that you assigned your chief of staff, David Wade, to be responsible for managing the response to the congressional investigation, the Department has given no indication that it intends to produce these documents voluntarily.”

Among the 10 employees whose correspondences are being sought are Nuland, Cheryl Mills, a top Clinton aide who Republicans have accused of being the force behind the efforts to mount a political cover up in the aftermath of the attacks. The requests also asks for the records of William Burns, the deputy secretary of State, and Beth Jones, the acting assistant secretary for Near East Affairs, who has also been the subject of criticism by Republicans.  (Continues at POLITICO)

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