With dozens of eager Republicans to pick from, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, gave Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, one of seven GOP spots on the committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi. That reflects well on Pompeo, who in turn needs to reflect well on the 4th Congressional District by doing his best to ensure the probe is substantive and productive.
Pompeo, a West Point and Harvard Law School graduate and businessman in his second term, has earned attention and respect for his knowledge of national security issues and spirited defense of U.S. intelligence gathering techniques, especially since joining the House Intelligence Committee last year. On that panel, he’s already heard from Americans on the ground the night of the attacks and considered other information in a classified setting, so he’s well-prepared.
But Benghazi fever has been a Republican condition, which will only worsen as the midterm elections draw nearer. Especially because of its potential to weaken former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a 2016 presidential candidate – and if Democrats decline to participate – the inquiry risks turning into a taxpayer-funded GOP campaign stunt.
If it does, an opportunity will be lost to learn from the catastrophic security failure that led to the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. And as Pompeo recently told radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, “We still have folks who murdered Americans running free in Libya today.”
In this key role, Pompeo should avoid partisan grandstanding and instead pursue the nonpartisan goals of justice for the killers and safer U.S. diplomatic facilities around the world.