Updated at 2:20 p.m.
House Speaker John Boehner announced the creation of a new congressional committee Friday tasked with investigating the 2012 attack that killed four Americans in Libya, intensifying focus again on an issue that Republicans have tried to use as political fodder for a year-and-a-half.
The House Select Committee on Benghazi will, Boehner said in a statement, “investigate the attack, provide the necessary accountability, and ensure justice is finally served.”
A House GOP leadership aide said that Rep. Trey Gowdy (R—SC) is being considered for the chairmanship for the new committee, but no decision has yet been made.
The announcement comes after the release Tuesday of a White House email to then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, in which the an Obama Administration national security official advises Rice to say in an upcoming media appearance the attack was sparked by an online video “and not a broader failure of policy.” Boehner called Thursday for Secretary of Sate John Kerry to testify in Congress about why that email was not released earlier in congressional investigations.
The attack at the consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, killed four Americans, including including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Republicans have long accused the Administration of intentionally covering up the circumstances of the attack to protect President Barack Obama politically in the heart of his reelection campaign. But no explicit evidence of a cover up has emerged and the issue has generally failed to gain political traction beyond conservative activists.
Also on Friday, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) announced a subpoena demanding Kerry testify before his committee on May 21.
“Compliance with a subpoena for documents is not a game,” Issa wrote in a letter to Kerry. “Because your Department is failing to meet its legal obligations, I am issuing a new subpoena to compel you to appear before the Committee to answer questions about your agency’s response to the congressional investigation of the Benghazi attack.”
With reporting by Alex Rogers.