Andrew McCarthy: I'm Too Biased to Be Benghazi Counsel

Tuesday, 06 May 2014 10:33 PM

By Greg Richter

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Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy's name has been floated as the possible staff counsel for the Benghazi select committee, which is to be headed by Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina.

But McCarthy says he isn't the right person for the job because he is a commentator who already has drawn public conclusions about the issue. Democrats would rightly say he is biased, McCarthy said on Fox News Channel's "The Kelly File."

"They attack the person doing the investigation in the hope of obfuscating what the facts are," he said Tuesday.

McCarthy is now a columnist for National Review and has written extensively on the Benghazi issue in addition to making other media appearances in which he has talked about it.

Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, has been appointed by House Speaker John Boehner to lead the committee, and Boehner announced Tuesday that seven Republicans and five Democrats will make up the panel.

Some Democrats are calling for their party to boycott the committee because they consider the probe a partisan witch hunt aimed at hurting both the Obama administration and a potential 2016 presidential run by Hillary Clinton. But others in the party think they should participate to provide rebuttal to Republican arguments.

While McCarthy doesn't want the job, did he have ideas about the qualifications for the staff counsel, who will do the legal legwork for the committee? He suggested they pick someone who has done investigations before, adding that it is "crucially important" to get someone with knowledge of Islamic extremism.

The latter qualification is needed, McCarthy says, because the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, goes back to U.S. participation in airstrikes against Libya in 2011 to enforce a U.N. resolution during the Libyan civil war. The attacks rallied jihadists in the country against the United States, he said.

McCarthy said the Ben Rhodes email, urging then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to blame the Benghazi attacks on a YouTube video rather than let the press focus on a "broader failure of policy," referred to that 2011 action.

McCarthy said many good former assistant U.S. attorneys fit the bill for the staff counsel, and suggested the names of George Terwilliger and Miguel Estrada.

The attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. It was the first time a U.S. ambassador was killed since 1979.

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