White House to give senators Benghazi documents
Washington • The White House has agreed to give the Senate Intelligence Committee documents related to the attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, a congressional aide said Friday.
Republicans had demanded the documents as a condition of voting on the nomination of John Brennan to be CIA director.
The documents include emails between top national security officials showing the debate within the administration over how to describe the attack and other documents the committee had been asking for, the aide said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
The White House has said it has already turned over more than 10,000 pages of Benghazi-related documents, along with witness interviews, staff briefings and hours of testimony.
Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council, said the administration was talking with members of Congress about their requests regarding both the Benghazi attacks and the use of drone strikes, but he declined to say whether those requests had been granted.
"That being said, the confirmation process should be about the nominees and their ability to do the jobs they're nominated for," Vietor said.
The attack on the Benghazi compound last Sept. 11 killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. The Obama administration sent conflicting signals about whether the assault was a terrorist attack or an incident touched off by protests over an anti-Muslim video.
Republicans accused the administration of an election-year cover-up of an act of terrorism and repeatedly pressed for more information about the attack. An independent review that faulted the State Department and led to four employees being relieved of their duties failed to placate GOP lawmakers. They demanded testimony from former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who spent more than five hours before two congressional panels, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey about the military's response to the attack.
Republicans also pressed the administration for emails, communiques and videos, and threatened to hold up the nominations of members of President Barack Obama's second-term national security team, including the choice of Chuck Hagel for the Pentagon and Brennan for CIA director.