Wolf Statement On Vote To Create Select Committee On Benghazi
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), author of H. Res. 36 to create a House Select Committee on Benghazi, today released the following statement regarding Speaker Boehner’s announcement that the House would vote next week to create a Select Committee to investigate the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans:
“I applaud the Speaker for taking this critical step toward ensuring that the families of the victims – and the American people – will finally learn the truth about what happened in Benghazi that night, as well as in the days and weeks that followed.
“A Select Committee will ensure that this investigation moves forward unhindered by jurisdictional barriers and allows for additional interviews with key administration witnesses, including White House staff, present and former, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, former CIA Director David Petraeus and Attorney General Eric Holder, and their senior staff who were present the night of the attack and involved in the response in the days after.
“It will be important for a Select Committee to hold public hearings with witnesses to determine just what the Unites States was doing in Benghazi, what happened that night, both in Libya and in Washington, and determine who bears responsibility for misleading the American people in the aftermath. There should be no time limit on Members’ questions with witnesses so they can explore all necessary issues.
“It also will be important for a Select Committee to have subpoena authority, especially in light of the documents released this week by the government watchdog group Judicial Watch that made abundantly clear that we cannot trust the Obama Administration to be forthcoming.
“In addition, a Select Committee must be comprised of Members and staff with expertise in these types of investigations, including seasoned lawyers and investigators.
“I believe the apparent cover-up of what happened in Benghazi is ultimately about an abuse of power by the White House. We need to know whether the administration used the intelligence community and law enforcement as cover for political purposes in the weeks leading up to President Obama’s reelection.
“When legitimate questions arise about abuse of power, the Congress has an obligation to do everything possible to learn the truth and there is a long precedent for using Select Committees for this purpose.
“There is nothing worse than a corrupt government. Having worked in the Nixon Administration, I was disgusted by the abuses of power at the White House and in agencies like the FBI and Justice Department that were exposed by The Washington Post and led to the creation of a Select Committee on Watergate. In the case of Benghazi, much credit goes to FOX News’ Catherine Herridge and Bret Baier for their tenacious commitment to this story and investigation.
“As I said in a letter to the Speaker on Wednesday, although we cannot control how this administration pursues, or fails to pursue, those terrorists responsible for the deaths of four Americans, we can ensure that the American people learn the truth about what happened and which officials should be held accountable. Today’s action will make sure the House does everything possible to ensure this happens.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank all the people and groups who have worked tirelessly – and relentlessly – to push for a Select Committee. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed nor have they been unappreciated. They helped make the difference. I also want to thank my Legislative Director, Tom Culligan, who has been the lead staffer in my office on this issue, and the rest of my staff who has worked behind the scenes, including my Chief of Staff, Dan Scandling.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Wolf, in November 2012, first called on the Speaker to create a House Select Committee and introduced legislation in December 2012. His bill, H. Res. 36, which was reintroduced at the start of the 113th Congress, has more than 185 cosponsors and is endorsed by The American Legion, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, respected national security leaders, such as former Attorney General Mukasey, as well as some of the family members of the Benghazi victims.