Report Is Critical of both Clinton and President Obama
WASHINGTON – House Republicans on Tuesday released their long-awaited report on the fatal attacks in Benghazi, concluding that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama and their respective team’s failed to act on intelligence that warned of the risks posed by violent extremists.
Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy, (R-Sc) said that people should read the report (here) and draw their own conclusions. The big take -a-way is there is nothing new in the report about Clinton’s involvement.
The report was two years in the making and clearly is aimed at their two major targets Clinton who was the then Secretary of State at the time as well as her boss President Obama. What is not clear is if this if the report paints President Obama or former Secretary of State Clinton.
There doesn’t appear to be a bombshell revelation in the GOP-led committee’s 800-page report, which offers a more detailed look at the bureaucratic failings revealed by previous inquiries. Still, the pages of criticism of Clinton’s response to security concerns before the attack and her handling of the aftermath are sure to provide fresh fodder against the Democratic candidate in a particularly nasty presidential election.
The assault on U.S. posts in the eastern Libyan city in September 2012 killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three American colleagues.
“It’s not clear what additional intelligence would have satisfied either Kennedy or the Secretary in understanding the Benghazi mission compound was at risk – short of an attack,” the report stated, referring to Clinton and a top aide, Patrick Kennedy.
The report also finds fault with the time it took to send military help and the lack of clarity as to which Libyan militias on the ground were helping in the evacuation effort.
“Despite President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s clear orders to deploy military assets, nothing was sent to Benghazi, and nothing was en route to Libya at the time the last two Americans were killed almost 8 hours after the attacks began,” the committee said.
The reports find’s that “the response to the attacks suffered from confusion and miscommunication circulating between agencies.”
Republicans created the Select Committee on Benghazi in May 2014 to examine U.S. government policies that may have contributed to the attacks and the response of the Obama administration, including Clinton. They said Democrats refused to cooperate.
A total of 107 witnesses were interviewed for the report, including 81 never before questioned by Congress and 9 eyewitnesses to the attacks, NBC News reported early Tuesday, citing Republicans on the committee. The committee also received and reviewed more than 75,000 new pages of documents. House Republicans are expected to present their findings at news conference this morning.
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon criticized the GOP panel hours before the report’s release, posting on Twitter that “far from honoring the four brave Americans who died, the Benghazi Committee has been a partisan sham since its start.”
On Monday, House Democrats also blasted the House Select Committee on Benghazi for wasting millions of dollars during its two-year inquiry into the deadly attacks. They released their own 339-page report, accusing the Republicans of providing distorted accusations for the presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump to use against Clinton, the former secretary of state.
The Democrats reiterated that there was nothing the State Department and the Pentagon could have done differently on the night of the attacks that would’ve saved the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and the three other Americans. They acknowledged that the State Department’s security in Benghazi was inadequate but said Clinton “never personally denied any requests for additional security” from Americans in Libya.
Clinton delivered what was widely considered a strong public performance at an 11-hour grilling in October in front of the House Select Committee on Benghazi. With no watershed revelation announced Tuesday, she is unlikely to be hurt by the committee’s report, though she still faces what could be a more troubling months-long FBI inquiry into the handling of sensitive information while she was secretary of state.
Clinton has said in public testimony – before House and Senate panels in 2013 and in the marathon hearing last October – that she took responsibility for the State Department’s handling of Benghazi by “moving quickly in those first uncertain hours” to respond to the immediate crisis and then, in the aftermath, by launching an independent investigation to find out what happened and “to recommend steps for improvement.”
Still, the report’s findings are unlikely to change the political narratives surrounding the attack. Republicans will surely use it to redouble their attacks on Clinton’s leadership while Democrats, who released a rebuttal Monday, continue to dismiss the whole process as a political charade.
Video used in the story came from Associated Press