As Benghazi anniversary nears, Boehner pressed for new probe
By Julian Pecquet – 08/19/13 05:46 PM ET
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other House Republicans are coming under increasing pressure to create a special investigative panel ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Benghazi terror attacks.
A group of special forces veterans has spent $5,800 for three giant billboards scheduled to go up in Boehner’s district this week. And another conservative group plans to hold a day-long commemoration at the steps of the Capitol on Sept. 11.
“If 4 Members of Congress were KILLED in Benghazi would we have a Watergate-style Select Committee today?” ask the billboards, which feature photos of Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “Demand Justice for Benghazi.”
The billboards, sponsored by Special Operations Speaks, call on lawmakers to sign a discharge petition forcing a vote on legislation from Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) that would create a select committee.
Boehner is the main obstacle to the legislation, which would take power away from the lawmakers he has placed at the helm of committees with oversight over the State Department and U.S. foreign policy.
Special Operations Speaks this month also called on its supporters to question lawmakers on camera during their summer town hall meetings about whether they support a discharge petition from Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) that bucks Boehner and forces a vote on Wolf’s bill.
“Get some video,” Special Operations Speaks said on Facebook. “We don’t care if they walk away, say no – as long as they do in on camera. Cell phone video works.” The group’s Facebook page has received more than 200,000 “likes.”
A spokesman for Special Operations Speaks told The Hill that it welcomes cash donations and in-kind contributions of ad space in any district, but that “the strategy is to go after Republicans first.”
Even ostensible GOP allies on Benghazi have been targeted for criticism.
When Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told Fox News last week that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lied about Benghazi during a closed-door meeting with lawmakers, the group called him out for his reluctance to join Stockman.
“RepKinzinger getting headlines for outing HillaryClinton screaming fit,” Special Operations Speaks tweeted Friday. “Why hasn’t he signed the DischargePetition.”
Separately, the group Patriots4America will commemorate the attack on the U.S. mission that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on Sept. 11 starting at 12:30 p.m. on the west lawn of the Capitol.
Confirmed event speakers include 2012 Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R), Utah congressional candidate Craig Bowden (R) and Louisiana Senate candidate Rob Maness (R).
Meanwhile, a State Department source tells The Hill the agency is split between those who want to commemorate the Benghazi tragedy and those who are wary of further politicizing it.
Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry paid tribute to the Benghazi victims at an American Foreign Service Association Memorial Plaque Ceremony during this year’s Foreign Affairs Day, on May 3.