H.Res. 567, Providing for the Establishment of the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi

H.Res. 567

Providing for the Establishment of the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi

Committee
Rules

Date
May 8, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Emily Leviner

Floor Situation

On Thursday, May 8, 2014, the House will begin consideration of H.Res. 567, Providing for the Establishment of the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi, under a rule.  H.Res. 567 was introduced on May 6, 2014 by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) and was referred to the House Rules Committee.

Bill Summary

H.Res. 567 establishes a Select Committee (“committee”) on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi.  It directs the Speaker to appoint twelve members to the committee after consulting with the House Minority Leader regarding five of them.  One member appointed by the Speaker will Chair the committee and will have subpoena and deposition authority.

The resolution directs the committee to conduct a full investigation focusing on nine areas,[1] and issue a final report to Congress.  The committee is also authorized to issue interim reports as needed.  All reports issued by the committee may contain a classified annex.  H.Res. 567 authorizes the committee to study sources and methods used by the CIA, the Director of National Intelligence, and the National Intelligence Program in relation to the investigation.

H.Res. 567 sets out the application of House rules on committee procedure to the committee.  It does not prohibit the committee from adopting additional rules as necessary.  Committees with records relating to the investigation must transfer them to the committee within 14 days of the resolution’s enactment.  With regard to staffing, the resolution directs the committee to utilize current House staff to the greatest extent possible, and authorizes the committee to detail existing House staff.  The committee is also authorized to employ other staff as necessary.  The resolution authorizes funding for the committee.

The resolution provides that the committee will terminate thirty days after it files its final report.

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[1] The scope of the investigation will include: 1) all policies, decisions, and activities that contributed to the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, as well as those that affected the ability of the U.S. to prepare for the attacks; 2) all policies, decisions, and activities to respond to and repel the attacks; 3) internal and public executive branch communications about the attacks; 4) accountability for policies and decisions related to the security of facilities in Benghazi and the response to the attacks, including individuals responsible for the policies and decisions; 5) efforts by the executive branch to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of the attacks; 6) efforts by the executive branch to comply with congressional inquiries into the attacks; 7) recommendations for improving executive branch cooperation and compliance with congressional oversight and investigations; 8) lessons learned from the attacks and efforts by the executive branch to protect U.S. facilities and personnel abroad; 9) any other relevant issues.

Background

“On September 11, 2012, armed militias with ties to terrorist organizations attacked U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, killing four U.S. personnel,” including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.[1]  For more than a year, five House committees—Armed Services; Foreign Affairs; Judiciary; Oversight and Government Reform; and Intelligence—have conducted extensive investigations into the events that led up to the attack and the Administration’s response following the attack.  “[T]he Committees have interviewed dozens of officials and individuals with first-hand knowledge of the events, met with members of the military and diplomatic corps overseas, and reviewed tens of thousands of classified and unclassified documents, cables, emails, and reports.”[2]  An interim progress report prepared by the committees made several key findings: 1) repeated requests for additional security by our Embassy in Libya were denied in Washington and instead, our security assets were actually reduced prior to the attacks; and 2) following the attacks, the Administration altered accurate talking points prepared by the Intelligence Community to protect the State Department.[3]

Despite extensive efforts by House committees, the Administration has refused to cooperate with the investigation of the Benghazi attack and the way in which the American people were misled following the attack.  Just last week, a government “watchdog” organization released White House emails on the Benghazi attack that the organization had obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  The White House had concealed these documents from Congress, defying a House subpoena for all emails relating to the Administration’s misleading talking points.

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[1] Interim Progress Report for the Members of the House Republican Conference on the Events Surrounding the September 11, 2012 Terrorist Attacks in Benghazi, Libya (Apr. 23, 2013) at Introduction.
[2] Id.
[3] Id. at Executive Summary.

Cost

A CBO estimate is unavailable at this time.

Additional Information

A section-by-section analysis of the resolution is available here.

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.