Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) today reintroduced his legislation to create a House select committee to investigate the terrorist attack in Benghazi and the U.S. response.
Wolf said there is an urgent need to establish a House committee to investigate the September 11, 2012 attack so that Congress can fulfill its constitutional responsibilities to legislate and educate the American people on the circumstances surrounding the attack, which led to the death of four Americans, including a U.S. ambassador.
In the four months since the attack, Wolf stressed that numerous questions remain unanswered and that the lack of accountability among White House officials in response is growing by the day. In December, the State Department's Accountability Review Board revealed numerous failures of leadership and management at senior levels of the State Department, which resulted in the attack. It is unknown what steps have actually been taken and who has been held accountable for the security failures leading up to this attack.
Last month, Wolf spoke on the House floor calling for the State Department to cut off all funding to Tunisia, the country where the main suspect in the attack, Ali Harzi, was being held. Harzi was unexpectedly released from custody earlier this month.
"For months following the attack, the Tunisian government blocked the FBI from interviewing Harzi," Wolf said on January 8. "Now Harzi walks the streets of Tunisia a free man -- facing no consequence for his role in the Benghazi attack."
Wolf said the four months since the attack have been marked by continued instances of confusion, unanswered questions and detrimental developments that have brought the Congress no closer to understanding what happened that day, holding those responsible accountable or developing solutions to prevent similar attacks in the future.
"All of this points to the critical need for a House select committee to comprehensively investigate the attack and the administration's response," he said. "The loss of four American lives and the strategic consequences of this deadly attack on a U.S. consulate merit a full investigation to ensure that the Obama Administration is taking all necessary actions to identify the terrorists responsible and bring them to justice."
Wolf suggested the committee should be comprised of the chairmen and ranking members of the committees on Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, Judiciary, Homeland Security and Government Reform and Oversight, with other members appointed by House leaders based on expertise. A select committee would prevent overlap of investigations and hearings, and would have full subpoena authority, he said.
"The Congress owes it to the families of the victims of this terrorist attack, and the American people, to fully investigate this tragedy," Wolf said.
The reintroduced legislation has 20 original cosponsors: Reps. Lou Barletta (R-PA), Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Randy Weber (R-TX), Bill Posey (R-FL), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Griffin (R-AR), Aaron Schock (R-IL), Patrick Meehan (R-PA), Steve King (R-IA), John Duncan (R-TN), Pete Olson (R-TX), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Kevin Brady (R-TX), David McKinley (R-WV), Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Bill Flores (R-TX).