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Rep. Gowdy named to lead Benghazi select committee

South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor known for his aggressive style of questioning at congressional hearings, has been tapped to lead a select committee tasked with investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks. 

House Speaker John Boehner made the announcement Monday afternoon. 

"With four of our countrymen killed at the hands of terrorists, the American people want answers, accountability, and justice," he said. "Trey Gowdy is as dogged, focused, and serious-minded as they come." 

Boehner said Gowdy's courtroom background makes him the "ideal person" to lead the newly announced investigation. 

Gowdy said in a statement he was "honored" to serve as chairman. "While people are free to draw different conclusions from the facts, there should be no debate over whether the American public is entitled to have all of the facts," he said.

Gowdy's name had been high on the short list ever since the speaker announced Friday he would call a House vote on forming a select committee. Boehner had long resisted calls for such a probe, but reversed course after newly released emails raised questions about the White House role in shaping the administration's public narrative after the attack. 

Other names mentioned for the job by Capitol Hill insiders had included Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas; Rep. Mike Turner R-Ohio; Rep. John Mica R-Fla.; Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.; and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.

But Gowdy seemed to attract the most attention. Gowdy is a second-term lawmaker, a former district attorney and federal prosecutor, and a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The Gowdy selection was read by some as a blow to House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and his probe into the 2012 attacks, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans including Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. In fact, some sources on Capitol Hill argue that one of the reasons a select committee has been commissioned is to specifically sideline Issa. Issa's staff and the staff of the House Armed Services Committee got into a public dispute last week about the credibility of a Benghazi witness at an oversight committee hearing. 

Issa, though, praised the selection on Monday, saying Boehner "could not have chosen a Member more committed to getting the full truth about the before, during, and after of the Benghazi terrorist attacks than Congressman Trey Gowdy." 

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney disputed the need for another investigation, saying Monday that Congress is "not short" on these kinds of probes. 

"You know at some point you just have to assume Republicans will continue this because it feeds a political objective of some sort," he said of Benghazi allegations. 

There appears to have been no direct contact between the Speaker's Office and the Minority Leader's Office about the creation of the committee despite Friday's announcement of its pending inception.

House leadership sources also aren't sure when they'll release text of the actual resolution creating the select committee. Such language in the resolution would explain the scope and parameters of the probe, the select committee's jurisdiction and its cost.

The office of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. indicated that a vote on a measure to prepare for the Benghazi committee could come as early as this week.

Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

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