House Speaker John A. Boehner on Thursday called on President Obama to release a cache of emails that Republicans say clearly prove senior White House and State Department officials sought to mislead the American public about the Benghazi terrorist attack during last year’s election campaign.
Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, told reporters on Capitol Hill that the administration now has a chance to clear up some of the lingering questions about when it learned that the attack was indeed “conducted by Islamic terrorists.”
At issue is the extent to which electoral politics may have motivated White House officials to strip any mention of al Qaeda or terrorism from unclassified “talking points” about who the administration thought was behind the Sept. 11 attack.
The talking points were given to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan E. Rice, who appeared on several Sunday talk shows Sept. 16 — five days after the Benghazi attack. Mrs. Rice characterized the incident as a spontaneous assault that had grown out of a protest against a U.S.-made video denigrating Islam.
Although the talking points have been discussed extensively over the past eight months, one exchange during a dramatic hearing Wednesday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee appears to have triggered a new wave of interest.