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White House releases additional documents related to Benghazi response

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President Barack Obama pauses during a joint news conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron in the East Room of the White House May 13, 2013 in Washington, DC. President Barack Obama pauses during a joint news conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron in the East Room of the White House May 13, 2013 in Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON (NBC) -

Under increasing scrutiny from congressional Republicans, the White House on Wednesday released copies of emails and other additional supporting documents related to its response to last fall's attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.

The White House released the materials in the wake of Republicans' clamor for more information about how the Obama administration crafted its explanation for the incident, which came at the height of last year's campaign season, and resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. 

A congressional hearing last week, where whistleblowers took issue with the administration's initial explanation that the attacks were the spontaneous outgrowth of an unrelated protest (and not a terrorist attack) gave rise to new demands for more information from the administration.

President Barack Obama has dismissed Republicans' interest in the administration's evolving explanation for the attack as a "sideshow," as recently as this Monday.

"The whole issue of talking points, frankly, throughout this process has been a sideshow," he said. "What we have been very clear about throughout was that immediately after this event happened, we were not clear who exactly had carried it out, how it had occurred, what the motivations were."

Underlying Republicans' interest in the Benghazi matter – at which they've kept now for six months – is a suspicion that the administration clouded the reality of the attack so as to not damage Obama's prospects for re-election.

"The president ran out the clock and he won the election," Sen. Lindsey Graham, S.C., a chief Republican critic of Obama's on Benghazi, said Tuesday on Fox News. "He was able to get Benghazi behind him in terms of electoral politics, but it won't go away."

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