Congressman John Campbell On The Need For A Select Committee On Benghazi
HH: There is a story over at the Weekly Standard about revelations about the Benghazi attacks. This come, and the cover up that’s underway, the cover up, Jay Careny this week said oh, Benghazi happened a long time ago. The President said he’s unaware of the notion that people can’t talk. Stephen Hayes has this amazing story on the, it’s breaking open. Why won’t the Speaker of the House appoint a select committee? John McCain said on this show…
JC: I actually heard him. I was listening to the show.
HH: …that it’s because of chairmen.
JC: I heard him.
HH: What did you think of what he said? And when is the Speaker going to act?
JC: Yeah, I think that kind of may be it. There’s a…and I know people like inside baseball on the Hugh Hewitt Show, so you’re going to get some now. There’s a cultural thing that happens in Washington, both in the House and the Senate, about becoming a chairman. If you become chairman of certain committee, I mean Ways And Means or Appropriations, or Energy and Commerce, you’re there for 20, 25, 30 years. You have to be, because it’s a seniority-based thing to get that kind of position. So you wait a long time, you work 20 years, or 15, whatever, to get that position. And then once you have that, different speakers, different majority leaders in the Senate, deal with their chairmen differently. Now Pelosi was well known to have stepped all over her chairmen. And so the idea is that people stayed forever as a chairman, and they couldn’t do anything Pelosi didn’t tell them to do. And so A) they didn’t like that, and B) a lot of people, you know, it’s almost like do you devolve things to the states, or are they done in Washington? So there’s kind of a feeling that the chairmen are closer to the members of the committee, they’re closer to those issues, they spend all their time just on those issues, and they should be able to move things and do things independently from what the Speaker or somebody else necessarily things. Now if you bring it to the floor, and you want to pass it off to the floor, then you’d better engage the Speaker, and you’d better engage the majority leader. But if you want to pass that on committee, and do things out of committee, the Speaker shouldn’t mess with it. So there’s different cultures. Pelosi was not that way. She wanted to know every single bill every chairman was going to put in committee, and if she didn’t like it, they weren’t putting it forward, and that was kind of the way it is. John Boehner wants to be the anti-Pelosi in that respect. He wants to give his chairmen authority, he wants to give them leeway, he wants to allow them to run their committees in the way that they think they should run their committees. Okay, so that’s kind of the basis of where we are here. That being said, this is a huge deal. This, Benghazi is an enormous deal. You’ve read the reports that we have from the committees.
HH: Yes, from Darrell Issa and, yeah, yeah.
JC: …the different committees. And I think that obviously only tells the half of it. This thing stinks, and we need to find out a lot more. There clearly was a cover up, clearly was a cover up.
HH: Still going on.
JC: And still going on, and the question is, was there something even more malicious that happened in those first 12 hours? Well, there clearly was a cover up. There clearly was a lack of preparation prior to this. There were huge mistakes made prior to this. And I think there’s still a question of what happened in those 12 hours after the first attack came between when everything was more or less done. And so this is a huge deal, and I agree with you. I signed up, you know, we have a letter to the Speaker and everything circulating that says we need a select committee. And I think we need one for two reasons. I think number one, the press, this needs to get out there. People need to hear this. It’s terrible what happened. It is a big, big deal, and the press, also known as the Obama continuous campaign, mainstream media, is not covering it at all. So if we have a select committee, it focuses attention on it. They have to cover it. They have to talk about it. The second thing is that it does bring all these five disparate committee things in one place, and allows them to take all aspects of this, whether it’s an intelligence aspect, whether it’s a military aspect, whether it’s a State Department aspect, or whether it’s an oversight aspect, and take all those different aspects and pull them into one to really rip the guts out of this story and figure out as best we can what happened. There’s a John Dean out there, I think, in my opinion, that there has to be, that at some point will tell what went on here.
HH: But they have to be protected.
JC: They do have to be protected. Yeah, John Dean doesn’t come out without protection and so forth and so on. And so I think, I agree completely with the idea of a select committee.
JC: But I think the Speaker is letting the individual committee chairman do their thing, because none of them want to cede, you know, they each wanted, everybody wants to dig into this. We all understand how important this is. We all understand how big this is. And those who have the ability to dig into want to dig into it. But at some point, you’ve got to yield that authority to the greater good. And to me, a select committee is the greater good.
HH: Now Chairman Issa, who’s a friend of mine and a friend of yours, I actually don’t think he would block a comprehensive committee. Maybe I’m wrong. But I think his idea of the greater good would trump that. He’d made a fine chairman. But I guess you’d have to find a chairman who wasn’t one of the chairmen who’s influenced, right, because that would, in one respect, reward one chairman over the other?
HH: Because Darrell’s deeper into this than anybody.
HH: He got there first.
JC: And there’s a more important thing of Darrell. He’s fearless.
JC: And this is, you’re, you know, that something funny happened in the State Department, perhaps in the White House, and so you really need somebody who is aggressive and who is fearless. And to me, that’s Darrell Issa. Now you know, I’m not Speaker, you may have noticed, and so I don’t get to make this call. But I think this is where a lot of things often in Congress frustrate me in that as Republicans, what do we believe in? You put the best person in the slot regardless of seniority, regardless of whether they’re union or not, regardless of how long they’ve been there, regardless of all kinds of stuff. If they’re the best person for the job, that’s who does the job, and that’s how this ought to be.
HH: The other thing is with a select committee, you can go past the existing staff, and I’m sure they’re great staff. I’m sure you have great staff on Financial Services. But you really need a prosecutor here. You really need somebody who has actually gone after organized crime, who knows how to use selective immunity and partial immunity, who can develop a line of questioning. You need select committee staff in the way that Iran Contra was staffed by now-federal judge Dick Leon to the ranking minority member at the time, Dick Cheney. And you know, those aren’t the people who are hanging around the committees for ten years.
JC: I agree.
HH: And so you can just throw money and resources at it. So do you think, we’ve got a minute to the break, is the Speaker going to do it?
JC: I am hopeful, but I don’t know for sure. I definitely don’t know for sure, and it’s not something I’ve inquired about deeply. But you know what? I’ll be back there Sunday, and I’ll start to see what I can find out on it. But I hope so. Now that we’ve got this report, where each committee did their own thing…
HH: And nobody noticed.
JC: And nobody noticed at all. In fact, I’m going to send out a thing and link that report, because I don’t think anybody, and when you read it, it’s pretty fascinating stuff.
HH: I saw headlines, I read stories about it, but I’m a news junkie. Nobody knows.
JC: Right, right, right. Right, it’s very fascinating stuff. And so that’s the thing. We did this, we did all this thing, it’s pretty fascinating. The gaps are obvious. The things we need to know more about are obvious when you look at this report. And so it seems pretty clear to me that it’s time to move to the next stage. So that’s what I believe is happening, but I can’t confirm that for you.
HH: And I want everyone to go to www.weeklystandard.com and click on the article by Stephen Hayes to find out what the latest is. It just came up.
End of transcript.