In the long, messy standoff last week over who would be the speaker of the new GOP-majority U.S. House, senior members of the North Carolina delegation were front and center, including Richard Hudson (who restrained another member during a heated moment) and Patrick McHenry (who played the role of whip for eventual-victor Kevin McCarthy).

But looking at the situation now that the dust has settled, second-term congressman from the Charlotte area Dan Bishop may have played the most significant role. After voting “nay” on McCarthy’s speakership for 11 cycles, Bishop changed to an “aye” on the promise of a new committee investigating the activities of federal intelligence agencies like the FBI and NSA.

According to McClatchy News, Bishop says “he negotiated its creation in exchange for his and several other lawmakers’ votes to support Rep. Kevin McCarthy.” They also said he told reporters that “he never thought he would feel the way he does about federal law enforcement and the security state but now believes they represent a danger to Americans.”

This last comment reminded me of the movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” where Jimmy Stewart’s character, a literal Boy Scout oozing with patriotism, is elected to Congress. There he quickly realizes the federal government is not full of angels and that true patriotism motivates you to better your nation rather than to blindly believe it can do no wrong.

I worked for Bishop for a time, running his state House and then state Senate offices before he went to D.C., and he was certainly not blind to how power corrupts where there is no accountability or oversight. But like many conservatives, it appears he has moved from something like Reagan’s “trust but verify” to an instinctual distrust of our intelligence agencies.

And it’s not hard to see why conservatives have grown increasingly distrustful of their own government. The Twitter Files, showing that these agencies were actively working with social media to bury information they found inconvenient, like the Hunter Biden laptop story, is only the latest intelligence scandal. In the video below, Bishop lists a number of other intelligence operations that he says are “not just illegal” but unAmerican, adding that “It cannot continue.”

Bishop calls this a “Church-type committee,” in reference to the 1975 committee chaired by Sen. Frank Church that investigated out-of-control intelligence operations from that era. They found evidence of foreign assassination plots; surveillance of Americans, including Civil Rights leaders like Martin Luther King; and the experiments of the now-notorious MKUltra program, which aimed to unlock “mind control” through the use of torture and hallucinogenic drugs. Some Americans who were allegedly experimented on in the MKUltra program and went on to commit horrific acts include the “Unabomber” Ted Kaczinski, mafia leader Whitey Bulger, and Charles Manson.

It didn’t take long for the GOP leadership to make good on this alleged deal with Bishop and to put the idea for a new Church-type committee up for a vote. And, in a party-line vote of 221-211, the motion passed.

So what could a committee of this sort uncover? In addition to probing how intelligence agencies are meddling in social media speech and surveilling American citizens, non-profit organizations, and even presidential candidates, they could also look further into the Jeffrey Epstein saga. The lack of public information about an international sex-trafficking operation that involved underage American girls and global elites from business, politics, finance, and entertainment, is unacceptable and reeks of cover-up.

If there are “Deep State” conspiracies to be investigated, this seems like a prime candidate. I’m typically allergic to things that appear like fringe conspiracy theories, but there is no denying the basic facts of this case. There is credible evidence that people as powerful as Microsoft founder Bill Gates, former President Bill Clinton, and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson traveled on Epstein’s plane and to his island. And that’s just the people named Bill.

Who were the others? Why was it that when Alex Acosta, then U.S. Attorney for South Florida, began to prosecute Epstein’s first case of sexually trafficking teen girls, he says he was told to “contain it” because Epstein “belonged to intelligence”? Who specifically told him that and what was Epstein’s connection to intelligence? In the end, the Miami Herald’s reporting showed that Acosta indeed worked to “contain” the case and worked hand-in-hand with Epstein’s lawyers to do so.

Unaccountable government actors spying on presidents, assassinating foreign leaders without approval, silencing speech, and even potentially being involved in sex trafficking of underage American girls should never happen with our tax dollars and in our name. Americans deserve to know what’s really happening, and it looks like, after having their arms twisted by Bishop and his allies, the GOP House majority will begin peering deeply into the Deep State. Who knows what they will find?