House Oversight Commoittee chairman Darrell E. Issa has issued a new subpoena compelling Secretary of State John F. Kerry to appear at a hearing on Benghazi later this month.
Mr. Issa had previously subpoenaed Mr. Kerry to testify on the Department’s failure to comply with subpoenas for documents related to the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, but lifted it once the State Department said they were seeking an alternative date.
“But soon after I lifted the subpoena, the State Department back tracked – stating publicly that we should accept ‘a more appropriate witness’ and refusing to commit to making Secretary Kerry available,” Mr. Issa, California Republican, said in a statement.
The news comes as the House moves forward with a select committee on the attack in Benghazi, to be chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Republican.
“With this State Department’s slippery tactics, it’s no wonder our friends in the world are losing faith in us and our adversaries doubt our credibility,” Mr. Issa said. “The State Department had discussed May 29 as a possible alternative date and that’s when Secretary Kerry will be obligated to appear – further accommodation will not be possible. Absent an assertion of executive privilege, the State Department has a legal obligation to fully and completely comply.”
The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said the news calls into question Republicans’ stated purpose of the select committee and signifies a mutual lack of confidence between the committee and Mr. Issa.