Rep. Frank Wolf at AIM’s Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi on September 16th, 2013
Allison Auditorium, The Heritage Foundation
Congressman Frank Wolf, who has represented the Northern Virginia suburbs since 1981, has not only become the dean of Virginia’s congressional delegation, but is also the only Republican who currently represents the Washington D.C. area. While his support for global human rights and transportation funding has earned a high degree of constituent loyalty, Congressman Wolf has also been an outspoken proponent of legislation to create a Select Committee to investigate the Benghazi attack, and demand accountability from those responsible for intelligence failures. His commitment to pursue this issue inspired him to write Accuracy in Media’s Chairman Don Irvine a personal letter to congratulate him and AIM for establishing the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi.
REPRESENTATIVE FRANK WOLF: Well, thank you Roger, and thank you for having me. And I also want to thank, I see Mr. Woods there, good to see you sir, again. And I want to thank all of you, and I see Chris Farrell out there, the report you just did with Judicial Watch, the Special Ops group, the Attorney General Mukasey group, the letter and some of you have signed it. But much of what is taking place has really come as a result of those of you outside and not because of, quite frankly, let’s taken place here in Congress.
I was listening to some of the panelists and as the general said, when you travel around the world, America. Having been elected in 1980, and traveling over the years, to see how America is viewed. I was in Egypt in February. We also went into Lebanon and went down into the Beqaa Valley and met with a number of Syrians who had come out from Damascus to see us.
Boy, the credibility of the United States is just, we’re just not there, what we used to. Compared to the 80’s, under the Reagan administration and other times. It is pathetic to feel, to see, to be able to look at it from a period of thirty years. And the general said is true.
And another thing, I don’t personally, and this is just me speaking, I don’t think we have the great leaders that we used to have. I think they’re out there, they’re in other places, they’re in villages, but they’re not here in Washington. How we deal with that is another issue.
I have put in a Select Committee, because I think that the Congress needs to find out what went on. I offered the idea in the reorganization meetings in December of last year when our party was gathering and they said, ‘Wait a minute, you’re jumping the gun! We haven’t reached this mass yet, you know, regular order.’ So we offered it but it was split 50-50 and then, sorta, we waited to see.
Regular order has not worked. You cannot find out what went on with regard to just having a different, separate committees, not necessarily even communicating and talking with one another. I get calls almost every day. As many of you know, the Agency’s in my district. We had a call three weeks ago of a person who worked for the Agency who now had retained a lawyer because he would not sign another NDA.
And we reached out to the lawyer at first. They say, ‘Well, yes, that’s true. Can I help?’ I say, ‘No.’ They say, ‘We’re going to work it through the process.’
Forget it. They’re never going to be successful to work this through the process out at the CIA. We get other calls, about this and that, and polygraphing at the CIA; there’s different things. It is so disjointed. And so I believe, the only way and I hope this Commission can be helpful and successful, is to have a Select Committee that will subpoena people. And a subpoena is not necessarily an unfriendly act, it’s a friendly act because if you’re fifty years old, have three kids, two are in college, live in Oakton or live in Bethesda or live in McLean, and you got to come forward, your career is finished.
Just look what has taken place with Ray Hicks. Hicks’ career is pretty much over and finished. So, unless you subpoena them, bring them in.
Now we’ve been in touch with people who were on the ground at that time that I’ve spoken to, who tell us things. We’re also in touch with people who are in touch with others, who were on the ground. And it’s a chaotic mess that we’re fundamentally failing. Why a Select Committee?
One, we’ve had Select Committees on Watergate, we’ve had Select Committees on Iran-Contra, we’ve had Select Committees on House parking. We’ve had Select Committees. If you want to look in here and see the list, call my office. We can give you all of the Select Committees that we’ve had. We will never, never find out. We’re asking that to be, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee. The Armed Services Committee has to be involved. Someone from there has to be, because, and I was very disappointed in General Ham. General Ham was in the command center. Then he published, testifies in a classified hearing on Capitol Hill then flies out to Aspen and at a place worth $1200 a ticket, begins to tell more in Aspen to people that pay that money than he’s willing to tell here in Washington.
They have to, the Armed Services Committee, has to be involved. The Judiciary Committee, they have to be involved on this. You get the FBI, my committee, Appropriations, we fund the FBI. The FBI has briefed us on what happened. They are the lead agency investigating this. They are basically being manipulated, not because of the Bureau, but because of what the people above the Bureau is doing.
Every time you go to a meeting, classified, top secret. Here’s what they comment on. ‘Well, we cannot get involved in this and comment’ because they usually refer, and the Bureau person is down at the end, and they say ‘this is because of an active investigation of the FBI, and we cannot comment.’ And to a certain extent, they’re manipulating and using the FBI. The Judiciary Committee has to be involved.
When we flew out to Egypt in February, I had a letter to give to Morsi because there’s a person that has been arrested in Egypt that they have not made available to our team. We have an attaché in Cairo; they will not allow it. Here we’ve given Egypt $71 billion, “B,” billion dollars since Camp David and we can’t even get into him. And then Anne Patterson, our ambassador, didn’t even want me to give the letter to Morsi. She said she would get it to him. Whether it got to him or not, I’m not sure.
You know there was a person picked up by in Turkey who was involved in the attack, Ali Harsi. The Turks sent him back to Tunisia. An FBI team went out and was on the ground for five weeks, five weeks on the ground in Tunisia waiting to speak to him, and the Tunisians would not allow us to speak to him.
Keep in mind Tunisia is what they call a “Millennial Challenge country,” which means they’re better than most and we give them more foreign aid. Last year we gave $320 million of foreign aid. A number of people complained, Tunisia invited the team back in, they had him for three hours, three hours, they released him. We can’t find him and you saw on YouTube them celebrating with him. Here was somebody that was directly involved, so the FBI didn’t have to be involved, yet the many people on the Judiciary Committee who can look into this because of the FBI.
And you need, obviously, also the Foreign Affairs Committee, because it was the consulate, but it was also a CIA operation, so you also need the Intel Committee. You need a Government Operations Committee, because Darrell Issa’s committee has done a lot of good things. And whoever they make to be chairman is fine. I would be happy with Issa as chairman, Rogers as chairman, anyone can be, any of the five or six because we also recommended that Mike McCaul be involved, or fine. I’m not going to serve on it, but you need to come together a unified, coordinated effort so that you can’t have the administration saying this to that group and that to that group. One staff director. Now I heard someone say it could cost a little bit more money. It cost lost four lives, a number of wounded. Ubben, the State Department security officer who is still out of at Walter Reed as we speak today, still out there today with serious, serious injuries and operations that he’s taken.
Another person who was seriously wounded and then there are others that were wounded. And there are so many things that we’re hearing, by hearing people on the ground, not on the ground, that–and I heard Mr. Woods testify, appear the other night, on the Huckabee show. We have been told the same thing, and I was interested to hear him say, whereby there was a call from the consulate to the Annex. They were told to stand down. They did stand down. There was another call, they were told to stand down again, they did stand down. On the third call, they went. But they believe, that perhaps, had they gone with, at the first time, they could have prevented, maybe, the death of Ambassador Stevens and Mr. Smith.
We also have been told that the airplane that took out those who were wounded, was a Libyan plane. Maybe commandeered, I heard chartered. There’s not a charter service out there like you go to Dulles airport and you say you want a charter. Maybe commandeered. They didn’t even have the good sense to send in a plane afterward and then the CIA people laid out on the tarmac waiting in on it and that also was a Libyan plane.
General Ham made the comment that, at Aspen, that when I was watching this I maybe thought we had a hostage-rescue situation going on so I didn’t send a team. I think what the general said was right based on calls we’ve had. They said there was an operation up in Incirlik in Turkey and there was an operation in Italy. There was a FAST team up in Croatia. There were some other assets going around. And they said they could have sent an F-16 over that would have frightened everybody away. But he said ‘I didn’t send anybody because I thought I was basically facing a hostage situation.’
Well, the attack on the Annex had not even begun. It had not even begun. And of course, that went on for hours and hours and if he recalls, the hostage situation in Iran went on for 400 days and the faster you respond to it, the less likely they’re going to be able to hold the hostages.
So we look at this, and many many other things. And I unless you bring everybody together and have a public hearing, we’re going to fail. I think that Congress, if Congress fails to do this, the Congress will be complicit in the cover-up. That’s a tough thing to say. But if you fail to do that. Now, we’ve gone one year has passed. Not one month, not two months, not three months, one year! And I believe as the general said, the failure for America to address this thing, publicly, forcefully, and deal with it, literally what it means for the credibility and other things which I am not going to get into with regard to the United States.
Interesting enough, Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by a drone, the U.S. with a mosque that used to be in my congressional district in Falls Church. He was an American citizen. Paid for and went to college on your taxpayer money. They felt he was so dangerous, and I supported it, whereby they killed him with a drone, also killed his son with a drone and yet here we have people that we know were specifically involved, and they’re saying they cannot bring them in because they don’t have necessary information and the ability to bring him to a court, to try him in a civilian court. And therefore, they don’t act.
The longer that time goes by, and keep in mind, you remember Hansi [phonetic]? Hansi was the Pakistani, who killed from my, just outside the CIA a number of years ago. They had a team go out to Pakistan and pick Hansi up and bring him back. So the failure, the failure to kind of respond. to deal, to do with this, whether it be in a military aspect or in another way, is a fundamental failure. And when world sees this, the failure for us to respond, to do anything, is actually crazy.
And the last thing is, what were they doing there? We get into that and when we were in Lebanon and we went down into the Baqaa Valley on the border, we spoke with Sunni refugees, Alawites and Christians. We also had a number of Christians drive out from Damascus to see us. They told us the fear of being a Christian in Syria. There is a saying, in the Middle East, first the Saudi people and then the Sunni people. In the fifties, in Cairo, the Jewish population was about 80,000.
When we were there, we met with a leader of the Jewish population. This time, they’re down to 20,000. In Iraq, in the fifties, the Jewish population of Iraq was about a 150,000. The Jewish population in Iraq is probably down to one, one person. And if you look at the Christian community in Iraq now, and look who’s taking the place to the Christian community in Syria, look what’s taking the place of the Christian community in Egypt, you see first the Saudi people and then the Sunni people coming around. In Iraq, you have Christians before the war broke out and now they’re down to about 300,000 to 350,000. And when you think about it, more biblical activity took place in Iraq than any other country of the world other than Israel.
Daniel, Daniel is the great man of the Bible. Daniel is buried in Iraq. Esther, for such a time like Isaroth [phonetic], and Jonah, Nineveh. Nineveh is Mosul. And when Dan and I, we went back to for the first time, we went with an NGO to Nasiriyah and I introduced myself to the America military there and the guy there said, ‘Do you know what this is? This is Ur, Ur.’ I went to a ziggurat, I climbed a ziggurat that was 2,200 BC, the time of Abraham. This was the site of Abraham. So more biblical activity: Abraham, Esther, Ezekiel, Jonah, Nineveh, from out of there and now you see the Christian community being decimated. So now you see in Syria, the same thing. So unless there is a Select Committee, and I’m going to keep pushing, I’m not going to be worn down. I know there are some perhaps in my leadership that may not like it, unless we have a Select Committee that comes together, to look at this, subpoena people.
John Brennan should be called publicly. John Brennan was in the White House when all this was taking place. And if you’re a CIA officer, talk to Michael Scheuer. You’re going to get up and go ahead of Brennan? He’ll cut you off at the knees at the CIA!
And now when our Intel people say, ‘well Brennan is making someone available,’ come on, that’s just not going to happen!
We also should bring in General Petraeus to testify, publicly. And when you look at the contrast, and I’ll end on the contrast. Here you have four people killed, and, from what I gather, they are American heroes. What they did in response to, and hopefully that story will come out and they will be honored. But you had two seriously wounded, one currently still resides at Walter Reed. You have a number of wounded that less, and you know others that were on the ground. The contrast, look at that, then the other side of the contrast is Secretary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, is now making, I saw, $200,000 a speech. Not a day, not a week, but a speech. Jack Lew, who was chief of staff, who during that time is now the Secretary of the Treasury. Susan Rice, who went on the five TV shows on that Sunday, and said it was the video, is now the National Security Adviser.
General Petraeus, I was impressed with General Petraeus. In fact, I remember one of the times where I went there, I told the general if you run for president, I’d support you. Very impressed, good man. I don’t hold anything personally, the incidents that you talk about, again, remember great man in the Bible, David. David had gone astray. Those without sin, let him throw the first stone. But I think General Petraeus is now working in a Wall Street company, making–
And Leon Panetta has now signed a $3 million book deal.
I mean, you look at the contrast. So, unless there is a Select Committee, holding public hearings, subpoenaing people, friendly subpoenas, bringing in people and letting the American people to see, I personally believe we will never, never know what happened.
And so I thank all of you for your effort, to get to the bottom of this for the American people. And that, thank you very, very much.
ROGER ARONOFF: We’re going to start with our panel up here asking questions. Dick, I think, I know you’ve got one.
DICK BRAUER: Yes, sir. What, what can we do to motivate those in the Republican party that have not signed on for House Resolution 36. I believe the last count was a 171 out of the 218 required. And also, a second part of that question–and the follow-on discharge petition, of course. Second part is, what is Speaker Boehner’s reticence to supporting this? We’ve got to get that select Committee.
REP. WOLF: Well, I think the Speaker’s reason has been he wanted to go regular order, but regular order to date has not gotten us, and now it’s a year later. You could argue regular order two months out, three months out, four months out, but now you can’t. I think just urging. We have now, I think, 174 who’ve joined. A couple more joined on Thursday or Friday of last week. Just look and see who is not on there and ask them, respectfully, now that we’ve reached one year, is it not time to come? And, then, I would urge all of you, particularly the panel that I saw on those who signed the letter with a General. And keep in mind, General Mukasey was the judge in the First World Trade Center bombing with the Blind Sheikh. Not only was he Attorney General, he understands these issues very well. But if that group were to go and meet with Speaker Boehner and ask, say, ‘Now that we’ve reached’–and your group, too–‘Now that we’ve reached the one-year anniversary and have passed it, it is now time.’ And so I think by urging and encouraging a meet with him would be a good thing to do.
ARONOFF: Larry, anybody, no–
CLARE LOPEZ: Go ahead.
LARRY WARD: Thank you for speaking today, and thank you for offering House Resolution 36. It’s a very important Resolution. We do need a Watergate-style Committee, and I do agree that if Congress does not act, that they are complicit in the coverup. My question is about the discharge petition that Steve Stockman issued to basically promote and to go around Boehner in terms of getting it to the floor, because Boehner has not moved it, has said he won’t move it, and is digging in his heels. So it doesn’t matter if we have all 434 other members of Congress that sign on to House Resolution 36, it’s not going to matter, because Boehner’s not going to move it.
What we need is 218 Members of Congress to sign the discharge petition to go around Boehner and to bring this measure to the floor. That’s the initiative. And right now I’m starting to feel like House Resolution 36 is being used as a fig leaf so that members can, essentially, say ‘I’m supporting Benghazi,’ but if they don’t back it up by signing the discharge petition, they are essentially saying that ‘I believe in fighting for Benghazi and the Select Committee for Benghazi, but not enough to buck leadership.’
REP. WOLF: I disagree with you. If you think H.Res. is a fig leaf, then, man, we’re on a total different page. I have spoken out about it and I’m not involved in fig fig leafs.
WARD: I’m not saying you are, sir.
REP. WOLF: I know. I just wanted to answer your question because [Unintelligible] I appreciate what you’ve done. [Unintelligible]
WARD: I’m not saying you are, sir.
REP. WOLF: It’s not a fig fig leaf and you talk to speaker Boehner, he doesn’t think it’s a fig leaf either, and we’re we’re pushing, we’re pushing and pushing. Secondly, as well as I welcome the discharge petition, I got to give it to you straight. I can’t–I think, you remember the saying, ‘Some of my friends are for it, some of my friends are against it.’
The honest reality is it’s never going to go. And the reason it’s never going to go is because there are many members who have an institutional bias against signing discharge petitions. Whether that’s right or wrong, that’s just the reality of it, and it is a process– And so for us to put all the efforts–and I appreciate the people that are doing it–to put it on that that, where we’re at three, when we’re at 174, and it’s not a fig leaf. And the speaker, we get to 218, and he doesn’t do it, we’re going to get up in conference and say Mr. Speaker the conference has spoken. And so, it’s not a fig leaf, it’s a real thing, and the concern with the discharge is that if you go back, and then we go back and put emphasis on that and if that only gets to 45, or 55, or 75, or 105, people will say ‘Well, there’s the diminishing effort.’ And so the H. Res. is the way to go, and I understand how others could feel that way, but being in the House I know there are many Members who have even said they’ll never sign a discharge petition, as so therefore you almost have sort of weakened. Good effort if you want to do it. I think the way is to get H. Res. 36 is to ask all those who were no longer on it, why are you not on it after one year! We can maybe understand you didn’t go on it for maybe the first month, or second month, or third month, or fourth month, but one year–and there are more questions. All the families so far. Mr. Woods favors a Select Committee. Sean Pat Smith favors a Select Committee. The Doherty Family, you had all– So I think–the Wall Street Journal–all the effort has been focused and if we remove that to the discharge I think it’ll look like it’s less interest.
WARD: Well, here’s–and may I disagree with you also.
REP. WOLF: Sure. Absolutely.
WARD: And Special Operations Speaks, which I’m the Political Director of, also backs a Select Committee. So, we’re on the same page that we need a Select Committee. The challenge is, you get to 218 and you bash it over Boehner’s head, he’s still not going to do it.
REP. WOLF: I think he will. I think, the Speaker [Unintelligible]
WARD: Well, he hasn’t done it so far. A 176 is the majority of the majority. We have enough members to bang over Boehner’s head. We put billboards up in his district that stated, ‘If four Members of Congress had been murdered in Benghazi, would we have a Select Committee today?,’ and there’s still been no movement to push a Select Committee from Boehner’s office. I heard, and this is–I’m going to break this right now. I had conversation with Colonel Dick Brauer, who can back me up, I had a conversation with one of John Boehner’s top staffers, and he said, in a conversation. We went back and forth about the Select Committee. The standing committees will do the job and we went back and forth and he said ‘You’ve got to understand something, the standing committees are there for attention and press.’ And I look at him incredulously and I said, ‘They’re there for the truth, and they can’t get to the truth with this issue.’ And he turned around, threw up his hands and said, ‘That’s Washington.”
BRAUER: Kubuki Theater.
WARD: That’s his story. Boehner is not going to move it. And so if you don’t get behind the discharge petition. I’m talking to you and to all the other Members of Congress. If you don’t get behind the discharge petition and even just sign it. So what if you don’t think it’ll go anywhere, sign it, back up your own resolution. That’s what we’re asking. Thank you.
KEN TIMMERMAN: Mr. Wolf, Ken Timmerman. I heard in Roger’s introduction that you are the only Republican member of Congress representing the suburbs of Washington, D.C. We tried very hard last year to change that but didn’t succeed. I’m working on a book on Benghazi, actually, that will come out next year, and I really applaud you for what you’ve been doing and the attention that you’ve been focusing on this. I heard from a member of the Republican conference that a few months ago the question was asked [of] Mr. Boehner in conference if perhaps the reason he was not favoring a special commission was because the Gang of Eight had been informed by the Administration that, in fact, the Annex at Benghazi was being used to funnel weapons that had been given to the Libyan rebels now to Turkey to go to the Syrian rebels. And Boehner was asked this straight up and the conversation, the way it was reported to me, went something like this: ‘Mr. Boehner, I understand if this is true, that you knew about that, that would be very bad for our party and we’ll stand down and we won’t say anything about this, but can you give us a straight answer?’ And he would not answer the question when it was asked, twice. Do you think that that is a reason for his reticence?
REP. WOLF: I don’t know whether he was briefed or not or whether that would be a reason. But it really shouldn’t be the reason because most of what we’re trying to find out–There is a concern where those weapons were going, and as Clare Lopez says, were they’re going to, I mean when you go into there and you see some of the Salafists and some of the other people, I think you’re also getting into this whole Sunni-Shia thing. And I saw a piece in the Wall Street Journal about a month ago, Prince Bandar has been urging–and I wouldn’t trust Prince Bandar and the Saudis as far as you could throw them.
They funded all the madrassas up on the Afghan-Pakistan border that led to, really, 9/11. Prince Bandar, as the Saudi Ambassador, runs academies, Saudi academy out in Northern Virginia, where there’s anti-semitic and anti-Christian literature in some of the texts. But, whether that is true or not shouldn’t make any difference, because we’re trying to find out who gave the order, as Mr. Woods mentioned, to ‘stand down.’ Who told the CIA station chief to tell them to ‘stand down,’ once, twice, a second time? Why didn’t they send the team from X or Y or Z, the different places? Why didn’t they send the team? Where was the President from 5:30 or 6:00 pm into the next day when he got up, flew off to Las Vegas, if you will? Why did Susan Rice go on and say [on] five different shows, that it was the video? Why’d the President on September 28 at the UN say the basically same thing to the whole world and almost validate and create [Unintelligible]? Why does the FBI, why did the FBI take this long to get onto the crime scene? Reporters got on there before [they did]. Why did the FBI wait on the ground for five weeks and not be able to talk to Ali Harsi? Why didn’t we stop the Tunisians from releasing Ali Harsi, who maybe have gone on to do different things? Why was it a Libyan plane to pick up the wounded and not an American plane, after the combat and stuff? Why was it a Libyan plane and not an American plane to take those CIA survivors that were on the tarmac? There are so many other questions.
So, whether the speaker or somebody else is briefed on what they were doing in Syria really doesn’t have the greatest impact on this because it’s why and the one person who said it here, the failure to come to the rescue. And I think it was a General who said it, the failure to come to the rescue of our men that was there. General Boykin, I don’t know if General Boykin’s here. General Boykin came by to see me. He was on the ground at Mogadishu and standing next to General Boykin when he was wounded was Jack [Unintelligible]’s son. Many of you know Jack. Jack was the former Congressman from my district but was the former Secretary of the Army I think longer than any man in history. Eight years during the Reagan Administration, I think, for maybe one year during the Bush Administration. His son, who was a doctor there, was wounded right next to General Boykin. General Boykin said they actually took casualties, they actually took casualties in order to stay on the ground to bring everybody out, because it was no one was left behind. So there are so many other things for them to look at, whether the Speaker was briefed on an action or not.
TIMMERMAN: No, all of those questions are terribly important and we have to get answers to them, I agree. And you are commended to be asking those questions publicly. I would just submit and be curious, I would just submit that perhaps when you ask why, because, the because may be, because at the Annex there were things going on that Administration did not want to become public.
REP. WOLF: That may very well be.
ARONOFF: Anyone else? Go ahead, Cliff.
CLIFF KINCAID: I can speak loudly. A followup on what Ken Timmerman said. That makes sense. Boehner was in on the secret. He had been briefed on the arms running to the Libyan rebels on behalf of al Qaeda. Those arms were going to the Syrian rebels, also associated with al Qaeda. Boehner doesn’t want his knowledge of the Administration’s corrupt, illegal operation becoming known. And that also explains why he why he’s one of the first after Obama makes his threats against Syria, to come out and say he supports the Obama Administration! Because they’ve got blackmail material on him. He’s in on the coverup for that reason. Doesn’t that make sense?
REP. WOLF: I’m not going to comment on it. I don’t know that. That’s why I’m glad you all are looking at it.
REP. WOLF: That’s why I think we need a Select Committee. But I think there’s so much that took place outside of even what they were doing on the ground at that time. Why did the CIA stand down? Why did DoD not respond? I mean, there’s so many other questions. Why did they get on and talk about a video that Clare, I mean, so there are so many other questions. But I can’t comment on that. I don’t know.
KINCAID: Clare, would you comment on that. Doesn’t that make the most sense? You hinted at that. This Administration has a policy of supporting al Qaeda! The same people behind the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans on 9/11!
LOPEZ: Yeah, I absolutely take your point. And again, I also do not know whether Speaker Boehner, or the others in the Gang of Eight, were briefed on what that Mission was doing in Benghazi. I don’t know that. But I think, and this gets to the question that I wanted to ask, in particular, when I talked about before is that I think Libya and what happened in Benghazi was a turning point not just in terms of all these, as Ken says, terribly important questions–which they all are, and which we need the answers to. But it gets to the United States of America. Who are we? What are we doing? What is our purpose? What is our mission? What are we doing in the Middle East and in the world? Have we flipped our policy ten, eleven years after, a dozen years after 9/11 to where we are placing the power, the influence, the might, diplomatic assets, military assets, intelligence assets, financial assets at the service of al Qaeda in the Middle East to bring to power forces of Islamic jihad and sharia, the Muslim Brotherhood, and others? That, to me, is a broader question. Maybe it’s a more 25,000 foot question than the very specifics that we also need answers to, that we’ve all been talking about here. Critical questions. But, to me, this is about the United States, who we are, and where we’re going. Who are we and what is our foreign policy now? Are we involved in the Middle East in order to help the forces of Islam, of al Qaeda, of the Muslim Brotherhood, of jihad and sharia? Is that where we’re putting our power and our influence, and our other assets? That’s why that question is important to me. I do not know if the Gang of Eight was involved with this, briefed on this or not, but it is a question that must be asked.
REP. WOLF: I think Clare makes a very good point and when we were in Egypt all the different groups we met with said that your government–meaning the United States government–was the number one supporter of the Morsi administration, the Muslim Brotherhood. So I think what Clare said is they believe, whether Sunni, Copti, Baha’i, they believe that we were the number one supporter of the Morsi government, meaning we were the number one supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood.
QUESTIONER #1: Zeef Hoffman [phonetic spelling] from Center for Security Policy. Ms. Lopez, you mentioned, as you mentioned Qaddafi was a brutal—
ARONOFF: Direct the questions to–
QUESTIONER #1: Okay. I guess the question is to any–
ARONOFF: Representative Wolf while he’s here.
QUESTIONER #1: Okay, sure. I apologize about that. But, I guess my question is regarding what is going on in Libya today. Are there, as I mentioned Qaddafi himself mentioned that al Qaeda would probably take over or many Islamists organizations would take over the country, or the country would be divided into Islamist organizations ruled by them. My question is, is that’s what’s really happening on the ground? What is happening right now in Libya?
REP. WOLF: Well, what happened in Libya is not good. A building was blown up, a Libyan building on 9/11 in Benghazi. There was a prison break in Benghazi in about seven weeks ago–a thousand people broke out. Many, they said, are headed toward Syria. There was also a prison break in Afghanistan and they were heading to Syria and then there was a major prison break in Iraq, and just look at today’s paper about Iraq today. I mean how many were killed in Iraq yesterday, I mean 45–read the Post. But they were all heading– So, I think that whole area in the Maghreb is just up in flames, it’s just, and I think that’s why we have to find out what happened and be definitive and also make it clear that we do not allow our military to be left behind.
MARIE CLAIRE KENDALL: Marie Claire Kendall. I’m an independent writer. I write for Forbes, for one. I think the American public are being played for fools. I mean, however many more 9/11s is it going to take because a lot of the weapons that were missing from Benghazi are SAMs: surface-to-air missiles. So, I mean, that’s just really a just very concerning matter. But, my question to you, Congressman Wolf, is on August 1 Jake Tapper reported, or his Drew [Griffin], I think is his name, reported that there were 35 CIA agents on the ground on 9/11, and they’re being polygraphed every other week, which is unheard in CIA protocol. And a lot of them have been asked to sign confidentiality agreements. So I don’t think you really have to focus on Boehner. I think you just have to focus on has anybody talked to the CIA agents. I mean, obviously something is being covered up and it’s not in the American people’s interest.
The second thing I just wanted to ask you, is it just seems there has to be a little more drama brought bear. Because it’s really not going to happen with little committees. I mean, I salute what you’re doing. I think it’s great. I think a 174 is astounding, because obviously the president doesn’t want this to come out so, therefore, I mean it takes great political courage. But, if the manner in which Ambassador Chris Stevens died, which is readily available according to the the autopsy reports, which I heard Trey Gowdy reference that on Fox. Now that has been like a state secret. But it shouldn’t be. And those apparently, I have from very good sources, those autopsy reports will reveal the brutality and any American— It’s very sensitive because you probably couldn’t even reveal it it’s so brutal. I would posit it’s probably as brutal as chemical weapons. If that was revealed, do you think that would move the needle in term of the American public’s sense, because, I mean, a year ago we were told by Susan Rice on five shows that it was a spontaneous uprising over a video and they were not telling the truth, okay. That’s it.
REP. WOLF: Well, I think the American people are incensed now. I mean, I think even if you look at the surveys, whether they’re Republicans, Independents, and Democrats–they all want to get to the bottom of it. Secondly, that’s what I referenced. The FBI, every time you asked anything, they always say the FBI at the end of the table, this is a criminal investigation and we cannot get into that. So that is almost a cover, and, in fairness, it is not the FBI saying this, it is the political people in the Administration. Thirdly, their reports on the non-disclosure agreements are accurate. The agency’s out in my district. We’re getting people that call. I don’t want to get into too detailed, was, there was a person on the scene in Benghazi asked to sign another NDA–non-disclosure–and he won’t do it so therefore he has a lawyer downtown to fight this with regard to his career. They’re being polygraphed. There usually is a general polygraph every three to five years. We’ve heard that they’re polygraphed again every so not weeks, but months in order that they not speak to the media and speak to Congress.
That’s why I’ll end on this: you’ve got to have a Select Committee. Also you’ve got to do it in such a way, when you watch the hearing the question has a limit to five minutes and I remember once I served on a committee on appropriations and the chairman of the committee had an hourglass. It was a five-minute hourglass, and the chairman would turn the hourglass up. So the witnesses knew, in five minutes Wolf is gone, or whoever it is is gone, because they’re not going to be able to ask. So you, you can’t just say you’re going to do it in five minutes. The member asks the question, complicated, two minutes, explains, so there’s no misunderstanding, but they’ve got to be able to come back again, and again, so if they have— I’d love to see …I thought Gowdy’s done a good job. Give Trey Gowdy an hour! An hour, because maybe his expertise–I think he was a U.S. attorney–his expertise is. Give Jim Jordan an hour and a half! And then have the person who follows Jordan be able to pick and up and say I yield to the gentleman my half hour or my hour! You can’t get into this in five minutes! And the first two minutes, in fairness to the Member, they’re trying to ask the question, ask it in a way that’s rational, that’s clear, knowing that they don’t want to allow the witness to dodge. The witness knows, five minutes that guy’s gone. There’s a hook. The hook and poof– five minutes it’s over. So they can’t do it! You can’t do it that way. So you need to have it whereby they’re briefed with each other. Okay, I will ask this. If they don’t do that I’ll yield you my time. You two, you three, you work on this. You work on the Agency. You work on the consulate. You work on the Department of Defense. You work on the Justice Department. So you have the three that are doing nothing but Justice. They’re not getting involved in this thing. Then you can have a concise; but five minutes, come on, you can’t even get to the bottom–you can’t ask an intelligent question and the witness knows you’re gone after five minutes. Are you here to– yeah, go ahead.
QUESTIONER #2: I have a question, if I may. Preston Noel, Tradition, Family, Property for Congressman Wolf. Forgive me for not knowing the intricacies of what happens in Select Committees and things like this. But, for that CIA agent who now has brought in outside counsel to advise him, since he didn’t want to sign off on something, would he be protected if he were to be subpoenaed to speak at a Select Committee? What’s the situation? I imagine someone like that probably, not unreasonably, might be in fear of his life, if he feels he needs to bring on outside counsel just to defend him in this circumstance. Please, fill me in. I’d really appreciate it.
REP. WOLF: He would be more protected, but no, not totally protected. And we’re working on a piece of whistleblower legislation that allows the Agency and others to go directly to their Member of Congress. Right now, they can’t. If you’re at the Agency you have to go to the IG. Well, the IG works for the Director, too, and so they they–So we’re, we’re going to change that. There’ve also been some proposals that they basically– and I don’t mean a witness protection program for the life, but they be reinforced financially that they be protected. The reality is if a person were subpoenaed and came before the committee, he would be protected for his or her job and, but he would serve, but if he were to come forward on his own and volunteer — You know what they do in the government, if any of you work for the government? They put you in a room about 12 by 12 with a metal desk and there’s a phone on there, maybe there’s one picture of the agency or something. The walls are green and nobody calls you. The year goes by. Look what they’ve done to Hicks. Hicks is a hero and yet Hicks is being treated like he’s the — So I think anyone who comes forward without a subpoena is going to have trouble, even those who were to come forward but with a subpoena could. There are ways to bring them forward and protect their identity, but as the Agency is a, and with John Brennan out there I think anybody could be– But, you know, life is tough and I think you want to give them as much protection as you can. I’m gonna end on that.
ARONOFF: Thank you so much.