State Dept: John Kerry isn't best person to testify about Benghazi

Secretary of State John Kerry testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing concerning the 2015 international affairs budget on Capitol Hill April 8, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer, Getty Images

The State Department on Tuesday suggested that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee may want to try finding a better person than Secretary of State John Kerry to testify about the White House's response to the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya.

"Given the pressing foreign affairs issues that the Secretary is actively engaged on and the Committee's focus on document production issues, we would like to explore whether there are better means of addressing the Committee's interests, including through a more appropriate witness," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement.

Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., subpoenaed Kerry to testify before the committee, but Kerry has plans to be in Mexico on the day of the hearing. The State Department said earlier this month that Kerry could possibly appear before the committee at some other point, and Kerry himself said, "I look forward to complying with whatever responsibilities we have."

Still, Psaki said Tuesday, "We and the Committee have been in touch to determine how to resolve their subpoena, but we have not yet made arrangements for a hearing date."

Issa said in a statement that he was subpoenaing Kerry because the State Department had failed to produce all the documents related to the Benghazi attack and the State Department's response to it. Kerry, however, was not secretary of state at the time of the attack - Hillary Clinton was. Kerry was serving in the Senate as the administration responded to what happened in Benghazi.

At a press conference last week with European Union High Representative Lady Catherine Ashton, Kerry responded to the critique: "We have had more than 50 briefings, there have been in the double digits of hearings, and we've released 25,000 documents," he said.

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