62% of House GOP Now Co-Sponsoring Bill for Special Committee on Benghazi

Terence P. Jeffrey | May 9, 2013 | 3:52pm EDT
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President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(CNSNews.com) - Sixty-two percent of the Republican members of the House of Representatives--143 of 231--are now co-sponsoring a bill that would authorize a special committee to investigate the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

The only thing standing between this super-majority of House Republicans and the special investigative committee they seek is House Speaker John Boehner, who controls the legislation the Republican majority brings to the floor for a vote.

"In the last few days the public has learned stunning new revelations about the Benghazi terrorist attack and the Obama Administration’s troubling response in the hours and days that followed," Rep. Frank Wolf (R.-Va.), the principal sponsor the legislation, said today in a letter to Boehner. "Much of this new information has come as brave whistleblowers have sought to right the record and, in doing so, may have jeopardized their careers.  Increasingly it is becoming clear that we have only scratched the tip of the iceberg."

While applauding the hearing that House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.) held yesterday, Wolf argued that that hearing actually demonstrated the need for the special investigative committee that a super-majority of Boehner's Republican colleagues now seek.

"Chairman Issa’s hearing yesterday was a positive step forward in the effort to investigate the administration for its apparent cover up of key information about the nature of the attack and its response," Wolf told Boehner.  "I appreciate your leadership and that of the committees to advance the investigation to this point.

"However, the hearing also made clear that a thorough inquiry will require witnesses from across government--including the Defense Department, State Department, Intelligence Community, Justice Department and even the White House," said Wolf. "Only a Select Committee would be able to bring the cross-jurisdictional expertise and subpoena authority to compel answers from these agencies."

During yesterday's hearing in the Oversight committee, Chairman Issa revealed that retired Amb. Thomas Pickering and retired Admiral Mike Mullen, who chaired the State Department Accountability Review Board that conducted the administration's internal investigation of the Benghazi attack, refused to testify before the House committee--or even talk to committee staff on an informal basis.

Issa also revealed that the State Department is stonewalling the committee's requests to interview current and former department officials.

"On April 29th this committee asked the State Department to make nine current and former officials with relevant information available for this hearing or a separate transcribed interview," said Issa. "The State Department did not even respond."

Meanwhile, the Oversight hearing revealed that the ARB had ommitted significant facts from its report, while Greg Hicks, the second in command at the U.S. Embassy in Libya at the time of the Benghazi terrorist attack, testified that he had been demoted by the department to a Washington desk job after he internally raised the question of why Amb. Susan Rice had falsely claimed on multiple national television programs that the attack had started as a protest against a YouTube video.

Hicks had taken the last cell phone call that Amb. Crhis Stevens had placed from Benghazi, in which the ambassador said: "Greg, we are under attack." Hicks had then reported to Washington that there was an attack on the Benghazi compound--not a protest.

The State Department ARB report also failed to reveal that Amb. Stevens was visiting the poorly secured Benghazi mission on the eleventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in part because Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wanted to convert the facility into a permanent State Department post and department officials wanted her to be able to announce that fact when she went on an anticipated trip to Libya in December 2012--just before her planned retirement as secretary.

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