Boehner’s hand forced on Benghazi
By Julian Pecquet – 04/17/13 05:00 AM ET
Speaker John Boehner is trying to head off a GOP rebellion over his handling of the investigation into last year’s fatal attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, by releasing an interim report of evidence by his panel chairmen.
Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told lawmakers Tuesday that the heads of the Oversight, Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, Intelligence and Judiciary committees will issue a joint report next week, The Hill has learned.
A growing number of lawmakers – 101 so far – have signed on to a resolution from Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) demanding that the House create a 19-member select committee to look into the attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on Sept. 11, 2012.
“Members really do feel like they need an update,” said Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). “All of this is how do you take a terrible tragedy and prevent it from happening again.”
Boehner and the panel leaders, none of whom have joined Wolf’s resolution, say a select committee would be expensive and time-consuming to create. Wolf is not on any of the committees of jurisdiction.
“At this point, I think that the standing committees of the House, whether they be the Oversight Committee or the Intelligence Committee, are working diligently on these issues,” Boehner said last year after Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) endorsed the idea in the Senate.
But the idea is gaining traction among the Republican grass roots: Members of conservative groups such as Revive America have been flooding lawmakers’ phone lines.
The mother of slain State Department employee Sean Smith and 700 special operations veterans endorsed Wolf’s proposal two weeks ago. On Wednesday, Wolf is scheduled to hold a press conference with the father of former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, a CIA contractor killed in the attack.
“I don’t think very much has been done,” Wolf said Tuesday. “We need to form a select committee, and Congress has failed them.”