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House GOP: Obama withholding Benghazi email is ‘criminal’

(The Washington Times) -- House Republicans accused the Obama administration Thursday of “perhaps criminal” behavior for having withheld for months key email that sheds light on how the administration framed its post-Benghazi talking points, potentially violating a congressional subpoena.

House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said Secretary of State John F. Kerry will have to come before Congress to explain why his department refused to release the email until forced to do so by a judge.

Meanwhile, a retired Air Force brigadier general who was in the U.S. Africa Command’s headquarters the night of the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic post in Benghazi testified that he and others quickly realized the assault was spawned by terrorists. The general said it was either negligence or willful ignorance that led the White House, amid a re-election campaign, to say the violence was ignited by anger over a video.

Several high-profile Republican senators said the revelations, combined with questions still unanswered, should spur Congress to create an independent investigative committee to get the answers.

“If the White House won’t explain it, Secretary Kerry should come to the Capitol to explain why he defied an official congressional subpoena. And the White House needs to understand that this investigation will not end until the entire truth is revealed and justice and accountability are served,” Mr. Boehner said.

Judicial Watch, a public interest law firm, obtained the email under an open-records request enforced by a court order. The email shows a top White House national security official shaping how U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice should talk about the attack on a round of Sunday political talk shows. The email said blame should be placed on an Internet video.

The White House dismissed the rekindled questions.

“This is a conspiracy theory in search of a conspiracy,” press secretary Jay Carney said.

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