By Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Just because the election is over, that does not mean that U.S. President Barack Obama is going to get an easy ride over his administration's handling of the September 11 attacks on U.S. missions in Benghazi, Libya.
While Republican attacks on Obama over the handling of the assault, which killed four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, became a major part of the campaign in recent weeks, an investigator said on Wednesday the inquiry was never related to the election.
With majority control of the House of Representatives, Obama's Republican critics will continue to wield broad investigative powers, including the ability to subpoena evidence and testimony from administration officials.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which held a contentious hearing in early October on the Benghazi attacks, will continue its investigation, a spokesman for the committee said.
The Republican vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss, said his panel would proceed with its review of the Benghazi attacks.
Investigators seek to understand "how terrorists were able to successfully breach our diplomatic facilities, why the administration obscured the role of al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists in its presentations to the American people, and why there appears to be a lack of urgency in finding and holding accountable those responsible for the deaths of four Americans," Chambliss wrote in an email to Reuters. He also said the investigation was never related to the campaign.
The office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who chairs the committee, could not be immediately reached for comment. Last month, Feinstein announced that the panel would hold a closed oversight hearing about Benghazi on November 15, with additional hearings to follow.
A spokesman for the White House had no comment on the Congressional inquiries and the State Department did not respond to an email requesting comment.
One step Capitol Hill investigators might take is to conduct on-site visits to Libya to pursue their inquiries, said a Republican Congressional aide. Continued...