By Teresa Welsh |
Yesterday's hearing on the terrorist attack in Bengahzi was a positive – and overdue – step. However, eight months after the attack, we should be much further along in this investigation.
A major challenge preventing us from learning the truth and helping whistleblowers come forward is the siloed nature of the investigations conducted by the five committees. It is clear that getting the truth about the response to the Benghazi attack will require a bipartisan investigation that has full access to witnesses and documents across the government, including the Departments of Defense, State, the intelligence community and the White House. A select committee would be just that.
In the eight months since the attacks, 139 of my colleagues in the House – nearly two-thirds of the majority party – have signed on to my legislation to create a select committee to investigate the attack and the Obama administration's subsequent cover-up, including, importantly, a majority of the members who serve on four of the committees of jurisdiction. Further, I have received support from the heartbroken family members of the victims, hundreds of former special operators with knowledge of the attack and grassroots groups, all of whom believe the Benghazi attack and cover up merits a select committee investigation.
Notably, more than 20 members of Congress have joined my bill since the release of the progress report two weeks ago, and another 10 have joined since the announcement of yesterday's hearing. This is a clear signal that the vast majority of the House wants to get to the bottom of this and they want a single, comprehensive investigation before the issue is pushed to the side to make way for upcoming issues such as guns, the crisis in Syria and immigration reform. A bipartisan select committee would also allow both parties to submit reports on their findings, thereby removing the notion that this is a political "witch hunt." If Democrats are serious about investigating Benghazi in a bipartisan manner, they should support this select committee in an effort to close the book on Benghazi once and for all.
The revelations from yesterday's hearing make clear that further investigation is necessary. If history is any guide, a select committee is the most appropriate way forward, just as it was duering Watergate and the Iran-Contra affair. To let this pass without a select committee is to compromise our national security and display total failure as a Congress.
About Frank Wolf Republican Representative from Virginia
Scott Lilly Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress
Thomas Joscelyn Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Al Cardenas Chairman of the American Conservative Union
Zachary Pleat Senior Researcher at Media Matters