A House oversight panel sent a second subpoena Thursday to Secretary of State John Kerry, asking him to testify before the committee later this month regarding the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said he is accommodating Kerry by asking him to testify on May 29. Kerry will be in Mexico on May 21, the date he was summoned to appear in a previous subpoena.
"As we have said, and we reiterate today, we will continue to work with the committee to resolve their request, but we have not made arrangements for a hearing date, and we hope to explore with them whether there are witnesses better suited to answer their questions and meet their needs for oversight," State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon.
Issa issued the original subpoena for Kerry to appear after the State Department refused to comply with three separate subpoenas for information about Benghazi.
The House recently voted to impanel a select committee to examine the Benghazi attack and the response from the United States.
Issa said he won’t change the date for Kerry again and expects him to show up.
"With this State Department's slippery tactics, it's no wonder our friends in the world are losing faith in us and our adversaries doubt our credibility,” Issa said in a statement. “The State Department had discussed May 29 as a possible alternative date and that's when Secretary Kerry will be obligated to appear. Further accommodation will not be possible. Absent an assertion of executive privilege, the State Department has a legal obligation to fully and completely comply."
The State Department had harsh words for Issa in return.
"This is now the second time in 14 days that the Secretary of State has been subpoenaed while traveling overseas representing the United States on urgent national security issues," Harf said. "This time the subpoena was accompanied by a headline-grabbing, highly political tweet attacking the integrity of the State Department itself. This is not the way legitimate and responsible oversight is conducted, and it’s a departure from the days when Rep. Issa himself once lamented that a Secretary of State should not be distracted from the work of national security to testify at the barrel of a subpoena."