President Obama's spokesman said that the administration would "perhaps" cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Benghazi terrorist attack, after suggesting that the probe does not represent "legitimate oversight" of the executive branch.

"We can and perhaps we will go over again and again what the assessment was by the CIA," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters while responding to questions about whether the administration would cooperate with the probe, which will be led by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.

Carney was pointedly noncommittal about cooperating with the investigation. "We have always cooperated with legitimate oversight," he said, which prompted a follow-up as to whether the Gowdy probe is legitimate. "It certainly casts doubt on the legitimacy of an effort that is so partisan in nature," he replied.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced earlier Monday that Gowdy would lead the investigation.

"Trey Gowdy is as dogged, focused and serious-minded as they come," Boehner said. "His background as a federal prosecutor and his zeal for the truth make him the ideal person to lead this panel. I know he shares my commitment to get to the bottom of this tragedy and will not tolerate any stonewalling from the Obama administration."

Carney dismissed the probe as a "highly partisan efforts to politicize" the attack, citing then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's statement criticizing Obama within hours of the attack.

Speaking of the presidential campaign: The day after the terrorist attack, Obama compared his campaign volunteers in Nevada to the four Americans who died in that assault.

“The sacrifices that our troops and our diplomats make are obviously very different from the challenges that we face here domestically but like them, you guys are Americans who sense that we can do better than we're doing," Obama told campaign volunteers in Las Vegas. "I'm just really proud of you.”