U.S. Rep. Adam Smith of Bellevue has made no secret of his disdain for the Republican Party’s Benghazi obsession.
Smith, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, has called the GOP “out of touch with reality” for continuing to investigate the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya, which killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Now Smith will have a seat on the GOP-led panel conducting the latest Benghazi probe. He’s one of five Democrats appointed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
Democrats had debated whether to even participate in the committee. But Pelosi said Wednesday Democrats would participate to “stand up for the truth.”
At a news conference, Smith said he had dim hopes for the exercise.
“This is a committee that should not have been formed,” he said. “But since the Republicans chose to form it, I think we have to participate to do our best to bring out the correct arguments.”
“At this point it appears that this is purely a partisan and political effort,” Smith said. “And that is regrettable, because my biggest concern here is the blow to Congress’s credibility. We don’t have a lot of that left, as you are aware.”
Other Democrats appointed by Pelosi to the committee are: Reps. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, Adam Schiff, D-California, Linda Sanchez, D-California, and Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois. They’ll join seven Republicans on the committee, chaired by South Carolina GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy.
The Republican-led House voted mostly along party lines to create the select committee earlier this month.
In announcing that vote, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, accused the Obama administration of withholding information about the Benghazi attacks and the White House’s early efforts to spin the Benghazi incident to the public.
“The administration’s withholding of documents –- emails showing greater White House involvement in misleading the American people –- is a flagrant violation of trust and undermines the basic principles of oversight upon which our system of government is built. And it forces us to ask the question, what else about Benghazi is the Obama administration still hiding from the American people?”