Garth Kant is WND Washington news editor. Previously, he spent five years writing, copy-editing and producing at "CNN Headline News," three years writing, copy-editing and training writers at MSNBC, and also served several local TV newsrooms as producer, executive producer and assistant news director. He is the author of the McGraw-Hill textbook, "How to Write Television News."More ↓Less ↑
WASHINGTON — Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., is too diplomatic to name names.
But, when WND asked the 17-term representative if the GOP leadership supported his call for a select committee to investigate the mushrooming Benghazi scandal, he replied, “As of now, no. But I’m hopeful. I think we have now shown enough questions to meet the threshold.”
WND asked Wolf if that meant the scandal had reached a tipping point in his quest.
He said “I think so,” because of dramatic new revelations, including new reports from witnesses.
President Obama may call Benghazi a phony scandal but those revelations make it look like he has the CIA desperately covering up something huge.
Wolf, whose tenure extends back to Ronald Reagan’s 1980 victory, is leading a crusade to get to the bottom of it and he thinks he knows exactly how to do it.
He has given speeches on the House floor for 12 days in a row calling for a select committee to investigate Benghazi, a plan he explained in great detail to WND on June 28.
See Wolf’s speech from Friday below.
WND spoke with a visibly energized Wolf immediately after his floor speech Friday, the last in his marathon to call attention to the suddenly exploding scandal.
Wolf discussed with WND details of a CNN report the CIA had dozens of people in Benghazi on the night of the attack and the agency has gone to “unprecedented” lengths to make sure what they were doing there remains a secret.
The report said CIA employees were afraid for themselves and their families, and subjected to “pure intimidation,” including a highly unusual number of lie-detector tests.
On Friday, Wolf told WND he believes those survivors want to talk.
“I think a lot of them want the American people to know what happened. I think they also want to be recognized, because when you hear the stories of what they’ve done, it’s kind of a great American story,” he said, referring to the heroic efforts by those who survived, and the four Americans who died, in the terrorist attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012.
Wolf believes “more of them wanted to come forward earlier. I think now this polygraphing and all this activity has people frightened.”
What is administration afraid of?
The congressman, whose district includes CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., wonders why “these heroes” are being told not to talk?
He asks what is the administration afraid of — and what is it protecting?
Wolf believes a public hearing by a select committee is the only way to crack a CIA stonewall.
“They don’t want them to speak, it’s pretty clear. You sign a non-disclosure agreement that means you’re not supposed to disclose anything.
“Now, a subpoena from Congress would supersede that. But if you’re 50, you have a couple of kids, a mortgage, you live in Fairfax County in a house, you have one kid in college and another one going soon, can you afford to lose your job? You can’t do it,” explained Wolf.
He said that’s why a public hearing is needed to uncover the truth, so surviving witnesses can feel safe.
“They need the protection of a public hearing and to be subpoenaed so they can come forward. That allows them to say what really happened.”
WND asked why a select committee would have a better chance of getting these witnesses.
“Because now it’s disjointed,” Wolf replied, adding, “You have five different committees. You need one committee with people from all of those committees, with one chairman, one ranking member and one staff director. You can’t do things otherwise.
“Somebody can come in and tell one committee this, and tell another committee that. There’s no way of knowing what they said to each other. So we need to bring it together, similar to what we did on Iran-Contra.”
WND asked if that would that give Congress more power to crack a CIA coverup?
“Yes. The hearings would have to be public. Most of the hearings have been private.”
Would it put more pressure on the CIA to comply simply because the hearings were public, WND asked.
“It would. But if you were a person now who wanted to come forward, where would you go? Would you go to the Intelligence Committee? Or would you go to the Judiciary Committee? The Government Affairs Committee? Armed Services Committee? Where would you go?”
Wolf said a select committee would provide “a central location where people feel comfortable.”
WND asked the congressman if he had any speculation on why the CIA would go to such extraordinary efforts to keep witnesses quiet.
“I have thoughts about it … but that’s the whole purpose of a hearing. And not only to find out that, but why didn’t they send an American plane in to pick up the wounded? Why didn’t they send an American plane in to rescue the others that were sitting there on the tarmac?”
On that night, a group of heavily armed terrorists attacked the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi for hours with military weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
The attack came in two waves and lasted from 9:40 p.m. until after 6:00 a.m., when Libyan soldiers finally arrived to evacuate the surviving American personnel.
U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, computer specialist Sean Smith, and CIA security contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed.
Woods, a former Navy SEAL was with a small team at the CIA annex about a mile from the consulate, where Stevens and others came under attack.
Wolf said the CIA station chief twice told Woods to stand down when he asked permission to help Stevens’ group.
Woods team finally ignored orders and joined the battle at the consulate, evacuating survivors and the body of Sean Smith, but not finding the ambassador.
Wolf said they believed they could have saved Stevens had they gone at the outset of the attack.
Returning to the annex, the team called for military help but were reportedly denied, a charge the CIA disputes.
The fighting then continued for four more hours, with no U.S. help ever arriving.
Wolf believes that could have been enough time for help to arrive from air bases in Italy or Turkey.
“Why didn’t they send an F-16 to come over the consulate and join the attack, which would have frightened off a lot of the attackers?”
Woods was killed nearly seven hours after the initial attack, along with fellow former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty.
What were dozens of CIA agents doing in Benghazi and why is the administration apparently so desperate to keep survivors tight-lipped?
Lawmakers are speculating on the possibility U.S. agencies operating in the Benghazi compound were secretly helping to transfer weapons from Libya, via Turkey, to the rebels in Syria.
That possibility was first reported by WND when Egyptian security officials said Stevens played a central role in arming and recruiting rebels to fight Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
There is another possibility.
WND’s Jerome Corsi has reported there is evidence the administration is covering for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton because she sent Stevens into a dangerous situation without adequate security.
Corsi reported Stevens “died in a terrorist attack, because Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered him there, according to an exclusive statement given to WND by the attorney representing Gregory Hicks, the former State Department deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affairs who was in Libya at the time of the attack.”
Wolf’s quest for the truth about Benghazi is summed-up in his House Resolution to create a select committee.
As of Friday, it was up to 164 co-sponsors in the House, more than two-thirds of Republicans.
Wolf notes the CIA has said agency employees are always free to speak to Congress if they want.
However, Wolf observes, the reported polygraphs given to survivors clearly contradict these assertions.
He asks, how can the Congress know the survivors don’t want to speak with Congress if they can’t learn who they are and ask them?
He doubts Congress can just take the administration’s word for it.
WND asked, what is the most important thing the American people need to know about the Benghazi incident?