Republican lawmakers are stepping up the pressure on House Speaker John Boehner to create a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attack in Libya following testimony Wednesday that appeared to contradict some administration claims about what happened.
"The revelations at yesterday's hearing have raised serious questions about the administration's efforts to respond to the Americans under fire at the annex in Benghazi," Rep. Frank Wolf said in a letter to Boehner, according to The Hill
The Virginian said the speaker risked becoming "complicit" in a cover-up unless he creates a special inquiry to call witnesses from across the administration.
"What remains to be seen is whether the House will be complicit in that future, or if we will pursue the truth — wherever it may take us — to ensure that we continue to deserve the sacrifices made by the men and women who serve our country," Wolf wrote.
His request was backed up by Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, both of whom have also called for one select committee to pursue a probe of the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
In April, Wolf began circulating a resolution aimed at forcing Boehner to create a special panel. The resolution currently has 139 co-sponsors, or 60 percent of the House Republican Conference.
To date, Boehner has argued that the heads of the Oversight, Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, Intelligence and Judiciary committees are handling the matter and that a new select committee would be unnecessary and expensive.
The Speaker reiterated that view Thursday, saying he has "confidence" in the five committees of jurisdiction that are currently investigating the Benghazi attack, The Hill reported. But Boehner has authorized renewed subpoena powers for the committees that could end up bringing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other top administration officials back to Capitol Hill for another round of testimony.
McCain, however, disagrees with Boehner's approach. "There's an increasing argument for a select committee since the testimony yesterday obviously affected the jurisdiction of more than one committee," the Arizona Republican said Thursday. "We need a full accounting, which can only come through a select committee in my view."
Graham also told The Hill he has urged Boehner to create the panel. "I've raise it to him, I've talked to him. It's his decision to make, but we're making a big mistake by not doing a select committee," he said. "We've communicated a lot, but we should probably do more in light of the building momentum in the House."
After Wednesday's testimony, Graham renewed his calls for a select committee, saying, "I think you need a select committee because compartmentalizing the story of Benghazi has hurt getting to the truth and it is a very inefficient way."
He added, "Every time you've had sort of a national security disaster, like Iran-Contra or Watergate or a big thing like that, everybody pooled their resources and you could ask the same questions and you don't have that compartmentalized approach."
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