By the end of the day, we will not only know the names selected in the First Round of the NFL Draft, far more importantly we will know whom Speaker John Boehner has selected to serve alongside Chairman Trey Gowdy on the Select Committee on Benghazi. We will also know the scope of the Select Committee’s jurisdiction and the extent of its subpoena authority, both of which should be large. The former, for example, ought to be fully enabled to investigate the spread of Islamist radicalism throughout Africa, not just Libya, including the ride of the horrific Boko Harum for which an outrage a week –this one makes the mind reel– seems the goal. The Islamists might have nothing to do with those in Algeria, Somalia and Nigeria, and none of those anything to do with the councils meeting in Yemen and along the Afghan-Pakistani border, but the Select Committee needs to be able to chart the ideology as well as the actors that drove events the night of 9/11/12.
Because the Select Committee’s work requires prosecutors’ precision and caution, as well as military competence and a dose of “follow the money” when it comes to security spending on embassies around the world, I hope to see these six Republican representatives alongside Chairman Gowdy: Rep. Jason Chaffetz, along with Gowdy a member of the Oversight and Government Affairs Committee, Representatives Ron DeSantis, Adam Kinzinger, and Mike Pompeo –all vets and DeSantis and Pompeo lawyers with DeSantis a former prosecutor– Rep, Susan Brooks, a former U.S. Attorney, Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a CPA and a member of House leadership.
Whatever the make-up of the Select Committee, I hope they begin their hearings with a day of hearings devoted to learning the biographies of the men murdered that night –Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Daugherty and Ty Woods, as well as the names of the wounded, with testimony from family and friends on why they served. The days that follow should bring forward the background on Libya, both as to Qaddafi and his rule (including the de-WMDing of the country after the Iraq invasion) and the fractured aftermath, the rise of the Islamists in the country and specifically in Benghazi, and the mission Stevens was on that night before turning to the actual events of that night and their subsequent manipulation and cover-up. (That there is a cover-up cannot be seriously debated after the release of the Rhodes memo just last week.)
As Paul Ryan notes below, it would a very large mistake for Democrats to turn their backs on the dead and to ignore the cover-up in a last gasp effort to protect the president and former Secretary of State Clinton from accountability for their actions (and inaction) that night and in the weeks and months leading up to it. But if they do, put the five empty chairs at every hearing and proceed. The Speaker’s job is not to please Nancy Pelosi but to guide the House in its oversight function. Candor by the Administration would have made a select committee unnecessary. A cover-up compels its creation and methodical operation through to complete understanding of the events surrounding Benghazi.
I will spend most of today’s show, beginning with Mark Steyn and including a conversation with Congressman Chaffetz, on Benghazi before heading off to an event in Columbus with Rick Santorum and then a drive north to Warren, listening to Terry Pluto analyze the Browns’ first round draft. (Not Johnny Football, please. Trade down and fill up the defensive backfield, the linebacker corps or a wide receiver before picking up a QB at 26 or even in Round 2.)