Rep. Frank Wolf, R-10th, we wager, is surprised, even flabbergasted, to know that he resides on the “farthest right” of the Republican House caucus.
Now Mr. Wolf, without a doubt, leans decidedly to the right of center in his political predilections. And, yes, when something gets in his craw, he can be dogged, even relentless, in pursuing truth. But a bomb-thrower he is not. In fact, ever thoughtful in his choice of causes, Mr. Wolf is the very antithesis of a fire-eater.
Thus, we had to laugh — not a little, but truly a lot — when Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday that, in agreeing — at long last — to the creation of a Select Committee to get to the bottom of the Benghazi attack, House Speaker John Boehner “has bowed again to those from the farthest right of his conference.”
No, Mr. Schiff, the Speaker finally heard the steady and persistent voice of Frank Wolf. Granted, it took a blockbuster e-mail that hints of a White House coverup — a document initially denied Congress, but obtained by the watchdog group Judicial Watch by court order — for Mr. Boehner to consider this request. But he wasn’t “bowing” to the demands of anyone; he was finally listening to Mr. Wolf, who, since introducing House Resolution 36 in December 2012 — three months after the attack — has garnered more than 185 signatures on this measure to establish such a panel with sweeping subpoena powers.
Of course, anything Mr. Schiff said Sunday on Fox must be taken with a grain of salt. In addition to misreading (deliberately?) the genesis of the request, the California Democrat also called the creation of such a committee “a colossal waste of time,” and “a red herring and a waste of taxpayer resources.”
Mr. Wolf, needless to say, would disagree with these protestations, particularly given the fact that, as he stated in a letter to Mr. Boehner following the release of the suggestive memo, “to date, not a single person in government has been held accountable for what transpired that night and not one terrorist has been captured or killed.”
Now, perhaps, some accountability will be forthcoming, at least on this side of the Atlantic. Responding Friday to the Speaker’s decision, Mr. Wolf said, “It will be important for a Select Committee to hold public hearings with witnesses to determine just what the Unites States was doing in Benghazi, what happened that night, both in Libya and in Washington, and determine who bears responsibility for misleading the American people in the aftermath.”
For his part, Mr. Wolf, in that same statement Friday, said “the apparent coverup of what happened in Benghazi is ultimately about an abuse of power by the White House.”
This conviction is born of experience. “Having worked in the Nixon Administration,” Mr. Wolf added, “I was disgusted by the abuses of power at the White House and in agencies like the FBI and Justice Department.”
This brings us to one final point: It is far too early, and perhaps even misguided at this juncture, to draw parallels between Benghazi and Watergate. There is so much we don’t know — but hope a Select Committee will find out.
Still, no less an observer than Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer could not help but notice one key similarity. To wit: “[T]his e-mail has sort of reopened [Benghazi] in the same way that in Watergate it was this sort of quiet, private discovery that there were tapes in the White House.”
Then as now, it seems, we have a case, as Mr. Krauthammer said in further comments to Fox News’ Bret Baier, of “the reelection of the president overriding the truth.”
To be sure, the extent to which this is true is for a Select Committee to ultimately determine. We’re pleased now that such a panel may have ample opportunity to do so. And for that we have Frank Wolf, more so than anyone else, to thank.