WASHINGTON (AP) — The GOP-led House voted Tuesday to extend a special committee's investigation into the deadly 2012 attacks on an American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including a U.S. ambassador.
The move to reauthorize the politically charged panel was included in a rules package for the new Congress that passed 234 to 172, mostly along party lines.
Five Democrats on the select committee lamented the reauthorization, which set no limit on the committee's budget or time frame, which means it could last well into the presidential election year. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a possible Democratic presidential candidate, could be called to testify about the attack, which occurred while she was secretary of state.
A report by the House Intelligence Committee found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack. Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the panel determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.
"After eight months and more than a million taxpayer dollars spent, it remains unclear what new questions the select committee seeks to answer," the Democrats said in a statement. "Since our members were denied the ability to meaningfully debate or amend the resolution, we now look to the committee to quickly adopt rules that ensure that our Democratic members are able to participate fully in the investigation."
The five Democrats are Reps. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, Adam Smith of Washington, Adam Schiff of California, Linda Sanchez of California and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois.
The special Benghazi panel is reviewing efforts to secure U.S. diplomatic facilities and personnel as it continues investigating the September 2012 attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, foreign service officer Sean Smith, and two CIA contractors, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty. A Libyan extremist, Ahmed Abu Khatalla, is facing trial on murder charges after he was captured in Libya and taken to the U.S.