US lawmaker subpoenas State Dept emails on Benghazi

US lawmaker subpoenas State Dept emails on Benghazi

The head of a congressional oversight panel demanded Tuesday that Secretary of State John Kerry hand over communications detailing the Obama administration’s handling of last year’s deadly attack on the US mission in Libya.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s powerful chairman Darrell Issa issued subpoenas for key documents, emails and other materials related to Benghazi “talking points.”

The subpoena gives Kerry until June 7 to provide all communications relating to the Benghazi “talking points,” which Republicans charge were altered to play down the idea that the attack was an organized operation by terrorists, between him and 10 current and former State Department officials.

They include Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy, and Cheryl Mills, chief of staff to then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

The White House had come under intense pressure to release comprehensive data detailing the US response in the frantic and confusing days after the attack last September 11 that killed ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

The administration released what it described as a 25,000-page collection of documents, and several congressional hearings have addressed the Benghazi attack.

The White House then released an additional 100 pages of emails two weeks ago in a bid to defuse Republican claims of a cover-up over the attack.

Initially it publicly blamed the attack on a spontaneous protest rather than on organized extremists in Libya, who it later emerged were involved.