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Will Congressional Committees Pull Together for One Benghazi Probe?

Resolution author Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) talks to PJM: "If we've had a Select Committee on the House Beauty Shop, we can certainly have one on Benghazi."

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

May 3, 2013 - 6:23 pm

Next week’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing to expose new witness testimony on the Benghazi attack should add fuel to the long-simmering quest to appoint a special congressional committee for an all-encompassing probe.

Security hawks have been calling for a select committee since last fall. “I would suggest that we have a joint select committee of House and Senate members and we do this together, not have three different committees going off in three different directions, so we can get to the bottom of it like we did in Watergate and Iran Contra,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in November. “I think that would be smart for the Congress to combine resources.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) introduced a resolution in November to establish a select committee to “make a thorough and complete investigation” of the Sept. 11 assault on the U.S. consulate that left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) introduced a House resolution in early December to establish a select committee. It attracted 34 co-sponsors and never made it out of the Rules Committee.

When Wolf reintroduced his measure with the dawn of the 113th Congress in January, as many as 135 — at his last count — Republican lawmakers piled on board as co-sponsors. Fifteen signed on after last week’s release of the House’s interim progress report on Benghazi. No Democrats have joined the resolution.

“I think if you had a select committee it would be bipartisan,” Wolf told PJM on Thursday. “I don’t think it has to be a political partisan thing. Treat Democrats fairly; let them call witnesses they want to call.”

“Eventually someone will break and come forward,” he added.

The select committee would consist of 19 members: the chairmen and ranking members of the Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, Intelligence, and Judiciary committees; five members appointed by the Speaker of the House; and two members appointed by the Speaker after consultation with the minority leader. Leadership will pick a chairman and ranking member for the select committee.

The committee would have 90 days to compile a report on any intelligence known to the U.S. relating to the attack, any requests for additional security or actions taken by federal agencies to improve security at the consulate before the attack, a definitive timeline of the attack, how the relevant agencies and the executive branch responded to the attack and whether appropriate congressional notifications were made, any improper conduct by officials relating to the attack, and recommendations on what steps Congress and the president should take to prevent future attacks.

To highlight the ridiculousness of Congress not appointing a select committee to dig into the attack on the American diplomatic facility, Wolf points out that in 1976 there was the Select Committee on the House Beauty Shop, which issued an 8-page report. Congress has also called select committees to regulate parking on the Hill and to study global warming and voting irregularities.

“This is not a new, bold, creative idea that’s never been thought about,” Wolf said.

The Virginia Republican is convinced that “if you bring the right people in, ask the right questions, you will get to the truth.”

“I think a committee will coalesce around the truth,” he said, adding “iron sharpens iron.”

Wolf said he’s reserving judgment on the administration’s culpability on Benghazi until it can be probed by a select committee, but finds plenty of fault with recent assertions such as Jay Carney’s dismissal of Benghazi as happening a long time ago — “I don’t think the families feel that way,” Wolf said — and President Obama’s continued insistence that al-Qaeda has been crushed.

“I don’t think anybody really believes it, that they got al-Qaeda,” he said. “It’s just mutated, it’s growing, it’s spreading — and while bin Laden is dead you can’t say al-Qaeda is dead, and I don’t think they really believe it.”

The congressman sees it as a fault that the White House is treating Benghazi “like a law enforcement issue” while it sent a drone after Anwar al-Awlaki.

“This puts the FBI in a difficult opposition — they’ve been a little frustrated, I think,” Wolf said, noting how they’ve been stymied trying to interview suspects in North Africa.

But this allowed the administration to put FBI officials at briefings who couldn’t answer the questions being posed by lawmakers, Wolf noted. “It was almost a way of avoiding the issues,” he said.

Benghazi outcry faded after the presidential election and Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) hearing will undoubtedly be packed with cameras to hear the State Department whistleblowers spill on the attack. “Ultimately, it’ll either go away and we’ll never find out or it’ll be a big story and public and the whole country will know,” Wolf said.

Today, after reports that al-Qaeda operatives from Yemen were sent to Benghazi to participate in the attack, the congressman said the news, which makes clear it was not a spontaneous attack, only solidifies the need for a select committee.

“The fact that this significant development is just now being reported – nearly 8 months after the attack – demonstrates the critical information still emerging about the attack, which took four lives and injured untold others,” Wolf said. “This is why a select committee is needed now more than ever to combine the five separate investigations into a single, comprehensive and exhaustive investigation.”

“If we’ve had a Select Committee on the House Beauty Shop, we can certainly have one on Benghazi,” Wolf told PJM.

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
"as many as 135 — at his last count — Republican lawmakers piled on board as co-sponsors. Fifteen signed on after last week’s release of the House’s interim progress report on Benghazi. No Democrats have joined the resolution."

And, there you have the nub of it.

The party that boos God...most certainly would put Party Security ahead of national security.

Nor is The Party going to participate in investigating itself. It's propaganda arm has already buried and story...and they are sneering in the face of Republicans. "It's so long ago...it really doesn't matter now...does it...comrades?"
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Wolf said he’s reserving judgment on the administration’s culpability on Benghazi until it can be probed by a select committee"

in a related news development, we must reserve judgment on whether 2 plus 2 = 4 until it can be probed by a select committee.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (15)
All Comments   (15)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
"The Virginia Republican is convinced that 'if you bring the right people in, ask the right questions, you will get to the truth.'

The congressman's faith in his peers is touching.

I have watched both Democratic and Republican members of congress (use of lower-case is deliberate) participate in investigations of misconduct by presidents from both parties, beginning with Nixon. Without a single exception, when a Republican was accused, Republicans would let the testimony and investigation proceed, however reluctantly.

However, when a Democrat was accused, Dems on whatever committee appeared to do everything possible to waste time, obstruct, misdirect and otherwise prevent the committee from finding the accused guilty. I see no reason to expect a different outcome from the Benghazi hearings.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Democrats are too close to grabbing absolute power for at least a generation. They and their media servants will do all they can to suppress any threat against that goal.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
>>Will Congressional Committees Pull Together for One Benghazi Probe?<<

What? Agree to cut down on individual Congress Critter's time to preen before the microphones and cameras for the good of the nation? LOL What Congress, exactly, are you talking about? Not the one we have in DC surely.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
After reading part of Obama's "La Raza" written speech in Mexico and there being NO mention of Fast and Furious; I'm convinced that Obama is gonna make a run for 2016. Obama won't mention F&F for the same reason he allows the stonewalling of terrorist investigation; Benghazi and a host of other
criminal activities by his administration; because he simply wants a squaky clean record, with NO association whatsoever with any illegalities, especially before 2014 when he hopes to destroy the Republican majority, thereby paving a free-for-all clear run to the year 2016 where he can't pretty much do what he wants. From Biden to every MSM outlet and every radical leaning individual or group; the memo is to disassociate Obama from everything illegal, criminal and suspect for which he can be held resonsible and accountable. From Syrian chemical weapons to the Boston Bombers - the narrative is "protect Obama" at all costs.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Is it my imagination or all of these people unserious? I was wrong, these are not a bunch of malevolent children, but I don’t have a worse malediction.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner (AKA Peaceful Won) wanted the narrative for his reelection to be how he vanquished al Qaeda. Our peace loving prez has been busy 'droning' al Qaeda ass wherever and whenever he can. When violent forces that apparently were al Qaeda attacked our 'mission' in Benghazi it simply did not fit the narrative of 'Peaceful Won' and his (at that time) somewhat flagging campaign that al Qaeda was vanquished. It was a more convenient narrative for 'Peaceful Won' that those perps were a nebulous group of enraged islamists - enraged over an obscure utube video. The campaigns actions are nothing more than shameful propagandizing. But there are more interesting questions to be answered - like who cut the orders that the on-going attack not be countered by our forces - forces that were close enough to make a difference.

Questions like why would an ex Special Forces member paint a target with a laser if there were no assets nearby? Rule #1 when painting a target - don't paint it if you have nothing available to take out the target. You risk exposing your position needlessly.

Questions like just what the hell were State and CIA personnel in that rat-hole for anyway?

Questions like who denied Stevens the additional security he so vociferously requested?

I'm convinced that few in DC want these questions and more to be answered. Certainly none of the democrats - and few in the republican ranks other than the likes of McCain and his pal Lindsy Graham - who I'm sure would love to 'take it' to Obama.

Don't look for much to come out of these hearings.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
"as many as 135 — at his last count — Republican lawmakers piled on board as co-sponsors. Fifteen signed on after last week’s release of the House’s interim progress report on Benghazi. No Democrats have joined the resolution."

And, there you have the nub of it.

The party that boos God...most certainly would put Party Security ahead of national security.

Nor is The Party going to participate in investigating itself. It's propaganda arm has already buried and story...and they are sneering in the face of Republicans. "It's so long ago...it really doesn't matter now...does it...comrades?"
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's hard to be decisive when you are hiding under the bed sucking your thumb and hoping against hope that nobody demands that you take action!
That "thing" that lives in the White House is a complete failure as a human being (much less as the commander in chief). How it must hurt the true warriors in the military to have to take orders from it!
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
But this grim fairy, this misfit, this sophist, this torturer of truth, this extinguisher of logic and light, this bat-eared smiling Frankenstein's monster, this murderer of language, himself pieced together by uneven narratives, this rough android of murky nationalities, and sealed records, and fake identities, and awful friends, this human chimera -- has nothing sympathetic, noble, or heroic about him. We don't even know his real name.

He's made wholly and only of flaws and faults and twisted mentality and profound spiritual illness which can never, ever be fixed. He is a universe of illness and hate which no light penetrates; he is a nightmare skein of flaws. And to whichever one of them is destined begin his unraveling and undoing, I say: let it outrun him, let it overtake him, let it crush him.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Wolf said he’s reserving judgment on the administration’s culpability on Benghazi until it can be probed by a select committee"

in a related news development, we must reserve judgment on whether 2 plus 2 = 4 until it can be probed by a select committee.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The congressman sees it as a fault that the White House is treating Benghazi “like a law enforcement issue” while it sent a drone after Anwar al-Awlaki."

No, they are treating it like their Watergate.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
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