December 4, 2021

Benghazi Committee Stacked With Legal Powerhouses

House Speaker John Boehner’s selection of seven Republicans on a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attacks that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other diplomatic staff members in September 2012 reveals a mix of male and female lawmakers who bring a variety of experience and political power to the table.

The committee, which is being led by Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., includes Republican Reps. Susan Brooks, Indiana; Jim Jordan, Ohio; Mike Pompeo, Kansas; Martha Roby, Alabama; Peter Roskam, Illinois; and Lynn Westmoreland, Georgia, reports The Washington Post.

Boehner announced the committee earlier on Friday, including a message on Twitter inviting Americans to “meet your majority members.”

Westmoreland, a building construction executive, is the only member of the committee who is not an attorney by trade.

Out of the group, four are fairly new lawmakers. Gowdy, Pompeo, and Roby were elected to the House during the Republicans’ sweep in 2010, and Brooks is a freshman representative who was elected in 2012.

“This investigation is about getting answers for the families of the victims and for the American people,” Boehner said in a statement, reports The Hill.

“These members have each demonstrated a commitment to this goal, and I have confidence that they will lead a serious, fact-based inquiry. As I have expressed to each of them, I expect this committee to carry out an investigation worthy of the American lives lost in Benghazi.”

Gowdy, a former prosecutor with 16 years of prosecutorial experience, including six years on the federal level, has been pushing for further investigation into the Benghazi attacks since the a few days after they happened, saying last week that he has evidence of a “systematic, intentional” effort by the Obama administration to withhold documents from Congress about the attacks.

The tea party Republican is a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, reports The Post, and has been described as a key ally of committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

Gowdy also chairs a House Judiciary Committee subcommittee on immigration policy.

Brooks, the only freshman representative picked for the Benghazi committee, is also a former federal prosecutor, giving the panel a second member with investigative and prosecutorial experience. She is one of the two committee members who was not a member of four House committees — Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight — that have already investigated the Benghazi attacks.

She was appointed U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana in 2001 by then-President George W. Bush and is a former deputy mayor of Indianapolis. 

Jordan is the former head of the Republican Study Committee, a caucus for conservative Republicans, and has served as a liaison for several top House GOP leaders. Like Gowdy, Jordan served on the Oversight Committee, which has already investigated the Benghazi attacks, The Post reports.

Pompeo, a retired captain from the U.S. Army, is the select committee’s only military veteran. He also serves on the Intelligence Committee and has been mentioned as a possible chairman after Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., retires, although serving on the investigation may suggest that he won’t be picked to head Intelligence, The Post speculated Friday.

Pompeo graduated first in his class from West Point in 1986 and and is the founder of Thayer Aerospace, where he served as CEO for more than a decade, providing components for commercial and military aircraft before becoming president of Sentry International, an oil-field equipment manufacturing, distribution, and service company.

Roby is a former member of the Armed Services Committee and a prominent female spokesperson for the Republican Party. Prior to being elected to Congress, Roby worked as an attorney and served as a city councilman in her hometown of Montgomery.

She has already lead one investigation into the attacks as chairwoman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, probing the military’s preparation and response.

Roskam, as the House chief deputy whip, is the select committee’s political link to Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, The Post reports. He is a senior member of the select committee, having been elected to the House in 2006, and since that time has become a mentor to the many newer Republican House members. Roskam, like Brooks, has not served on any of the other panels that have already investigated the attacks.

He practiced law in Illinois and represented Chicago’s western suburbs in both the Illinois House of Representatives and Senate, where he served alongside then-state Sen. Barack Obama, where they partnered to enact reforms to the state’s criminal justice system.

Westmoreland, who has been named as the deputy chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, is credited with leading led GOP redistricting efforts in the wake of the 2010 Census that helped Republicans retain a large majority in the House.

He founded his own building company, L.A.W. Builders, and served in the Georgia State House for 12 years before coming to Washington.

He serves on the House Financial Services and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.