Frank Wolf Demands Answers on Benghazi Attacks

Va. Republican asks questions as media attention drifts from attacks

Frank Wolf / AP
July 24, 2013

Rep. Frank Wolf (R., Va.) has called on the secretary of defense and attorney general to explain why "not a single terrorist" involved in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi, Libya, "has been brought to justice" after murdering four Americans.

The questions still surrounding the Benghazi attack are numerous and troubling, according to Wolf, who is on a three-week-long campaign to refocus the nation’s attention on the issue before lawmakers take their summer recess.

Wolf is one of the sole lawmakers still vocally pressuring the Obama administration to explain why it has not located the terrorists responsible and brought them to justice despite repeated promises to do so.

The veteran lawmaker has taken to the House floor every day over the past week to raise new questions about the attack and demand that his colleagues stand up for those who died.

There are no congressional hearings scheduled to take place about Benghazi before the year anniversary in September.

Wolf has also become a chief advocate for the survivor’s families, providing them a congressional lifeline after the White House and State Department froze them out.

"Nearly a year after the terrorist attack in Benghazi, not a single terrorist has been brought to justice, even though upwards of 100 terrorists may have been involved in the deadly attack on the consulate and annex," Wolf wrote to Holder and Hagel on Monday.

U.S. authorities have identified at least five of the terrorists involved and could seize them by military force, according to reports. However, the Obama administration prefers to try the culprits in a U.S. civilian court, where the burden of proof is stricter.

"Who in the administration made the decision [to] not use military force to bring these terrorists to justice immediately, but instead allow them to walk free until enough evidence is gathered to try them in a U.S. civilian court?" Wolf asked in the letter.

"Equally important, who made the decision that a U.S. court is the appropriate venue to bring these terrorists to justice?" Wolf asked.

But the questions do not end there, Wolf told the Washington Free Beacon in an interview.

"I think the White House was hoping this issue would go away," Wolf said. "But boy, there are very few answers publicly that the American people know about."

For months, Wolf has been pushing to establish a Watergate-style investigatory committee that could subpoena key administration players and force them to answer questions.

His bill currently has 162 House cosponsors, or more than two-thirds of the Republican party, yet House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) has declined to bring it to the House floor for a vote.

"The families thought they would be given answers, and they weren’t," Wolf said. "Many are not even hearing the government."

Wolf told the Free Beacon that he would continue to champion the issue until the Obama administration explains why it failed to rescue those trapped in the Benghazi consulate.

"You see a wrong done and there needs to be justice," Wolf said. "It will really be a failure of Congress if we don’t find out what happened."

"I have an obligation to the people I represent to be thorough, detailed, and dogged," he added.

Wolf’s efforts have been featured on Fox News, in multiple national newspapers, and have unleashed a groundswell of support on the social networking site Twitter in just the past week.

The Obama administration, the State Department, and even the CIA have been caught in Wolf’s Benghazi crosshairs.

Wolf revealed on Monday that the CIA "repeatedly blocked" the departure of a security team that was ready "within minutes" to combat the terrorists.

"The security team was ready to respond within minutes after receiving the initial call for help, but the CIA repeatedly blocked their departure for more than 30 minutes," Wolf said on the House floor.

"If the team had been allowed to respond immediately, could the lives of Ambassador [Chris] Stevens and Sean Smith have been saved?" he asked.

Wolf has even gone after Congress for failing to hold open hearings about the attacks to force the survivors to testify.

"I am increasingly concerned that we will not learn the answers to any of the questions I have raised over the past week before the one-year anniversary of the attack, if ever," Wolf said on Tuesday, when he took to the House floor to raise additional questions about the attack.

Some Benghazi survivors, such as federal employees and contractors, have been asked by the State Department to sign non-disclosure agreements, effectively ordering their silence about the incident. 

"Let the [House] committees find out who signed the non-disclosure agreement and subpoena them," Wolf told the Free Beacon.

The State Department informed Wolf earlier this week that it "does not prevent State Department employees who want to tell their stories about the Benghazi attacks from doing so."

That prompted Wolf on Wednesday to request that Secretary of State John Kerry reveal "the names and contact information for the five State Department survivors so that I can ask to hear their stories directly."

Questions also remain unanswered about the Libyan security personnel who were supposed to be guarding the U.S. compound.

"Who are they? Who trained them?" Wolf asked. "Did they open up the gate and allow the attackers to come in?"

Former military and intelligence officials said that they appreciate Wolf’s efforts.

"He’s really been carrying the water," said Scott Taylor, a former Navy SEAL who leads the group OPSEC, which represents thousands of military veterans seeking to learn the truth about Benghazi.

"It’s a clear cover-up. They’ve been stonewalling for nearly a year now," Taylor said. "We’re really happy with [Wolf’s] courage and persistence to push for this."

Asked if he gets tired of asking questions that will likely remain unanswered, Wolf bristled.

"I just know my conscience is going to be clean," he said. "I will continue to push this."