Senator John McCain, Arizona Republican, along with Senator Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, and Senator Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Republican, called for creating a Watergate-style panel to investigate the Benghazi attack that took the lives of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.
“I have always said that the buck stops with the President of the United States, particularly for his contradictory statements in the Rose Garden, on ‘60 Minutes’ and in later venues alleging that the obvious terrorist attack in Benghazi was triggered by a spontaneous demonstration and a hateful video, or that we didn’t know the cause,” said Senator McCain in a written statement on Wednesday following President Barack Obama’s remarks.
“Those statements clearly did not comport with the facts on the ground. We owe the American people and the families of the murdered Americans a full and complete explanation, which for two months the President has failed to deliver. Given all these facts, a Select Committee must be appointed in order to obtain a full and complete accounting which would be credible with the American people.”
Senator Graham, a fellow senior member on the Senate Armed Services Committee with Senator McCain joined the Arizona Republican in stating that he would oppose the nomination of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as Secretary of State.
“I don’t trust her,” Graham said.
“I think she was a political choice, telling a political narrative, and either she didn’t know the truth about Benghazi—so she shouldn’t have been on T.V.—or she was spinning it,” he added.
On the House side, Congressman Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican, is calling for a special prosecutor to investigate the Benghazi attack. According to a press release from Rep. Gohmert’s office, Mr. Gohmert will join other members of Congress, Brigadier General Joseph S. Stringham, US Army (Ret.), Captain Larry Bailey, (SEAL), USN (Ret.), and Colonel Dick Brauer, USAF (Ret.) on Thursday to make this announcement.
A special operations group will also deliver a petition to Mr. Gohmert signed by more than 100,000 Americans “demanding that a special prosecutor be appointed to fully investigate the events in Washington and abroad surrounding the murder of the US ambassador to Libya, the ambassador’s aide, and the two Navy Seals attempting to defend US property in Libya.”
House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, was reluctant to get on board and support his colleagues’ calls for a Select Committee or a special prosecutor that would investigate the Benghazi attack.
“At this point I think the standing committees of the House, whether they be the Oversight Committee or the Intelligence Committee— are working diligently on these issues and at this point, I think that’s appropriate,” Speaker Boehner told me at a press conference on Wednesday.
Senator Graham later appeared on Fox News Channel’s Hannity, and told host Sean Hannity, “General Petraeus supposedly told members of the House Intelligence Committee and Senate Intelligence Committee a couple of days after the attack that he thought it was the result of the video. He needs to testify. Secretary Clinton needs to testify,” he said.
Senator Graham explained, “On August 15 Ambassador Stevens sent a cable from Libya to the State Department to Secretary Clinton saying, ‘We’ve identified ten militia groups associated with Al Qaeda in Benghazi. They’re all over the place and if there’s a coordinated attack, we can’t defend the consulate.’ So she needs to account for why she did not grant the security request.”
He added, “We need to hear from all these people but the way the Congress is doing it, they’re going to fall through the crack.”
Former CIA Director Petraeus will face the House and Senate Intelligence committees and testify about what he knows on the Benghazi attack, despite resigning from his position as chief of the spy agency over an extra-marital affair.
According to The Hill, “Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that Petraeus would voluntarily come before the panel in a closed-door session.” Petraeus will testify before the Senate Committee on Thursday or Friday, while the House Intelligence Committee announced that he would testify on Friday morning before their committee.
Senator Feinstein rejected the idea of a Select Committee and told reporters on Wednesday, “We have arranged for three hearings on the intelligence aspects. We’re the committee that should do it, we’re the committee with responsibility for oversight and that has the authority to do it.”
“The State Department needs to answer for how the consulate was so unsecure for so long…The Department of Defense needs to answer for the fact that for eight hours we couldn’t help these poor people…The CIA needs to answer for about ten thousand things,” said Sen. Graham on Wednesday night. “How in the world can you get to the truth if you’ve got three or four committees going off in separate directions.?” he asked.
“Have a Select Committee. The House needs to lead on this issue. Put a committee together—the relevant committees to ask the same questions of the same people so you can compare answers,” he told Hannity.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, according to reports opposes the Select Committee.
What Harry Reid is proposing is going to allow this thing to fall apart and we’ll never get to the truth.
I hope Boehner and Cantor are not making the same mistakes we are making in the Senate. Put together a committee of people who know what they’re doing—look at it as a group rather than a stove type approach and we’ll get to the truth.