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New Benghazi Report Finds ‘Troubling’ Gaps in State Dept. Review

Prelude to Thursday's hearing where Pickering and Mullen will answer questions about "time pressured" report.

by
Bill Straub

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September 16, 2013 - 8:31 pm
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WASHINGTON – A critical report issued by the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee has dismissed the findings of a blue-ribbon panel investigating the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack, asserting that the State Department-appointed commission didn’t properly examine key witnesses and generally failed to perform a comprehensive job.

In a 98-page report released Monday, committee staff concluded that “troubling” gaps exist in the work of the Accountability Review Board (ARB) appointed by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and that the “limitations inherent in the ARB’s mandate and the weaknesses in the ARB’s methodology show that a more thorough investigation is necessary.”

“The ARB blamed systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies within two bureaus, but downplayed the importance of decisions made at senior levels of the Department,” the report read, adding that the ARB’s decision to “cite certain officials as accountable for what happened in Benghazi appears to have been based on factors that had little or no connection to the security posture at U.S. diplomatic facilities in Libya.”

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the committee chairman, said the ARB “was not fully independent,” noting that it “did not exhaustively examine failures and it has led to an unacceptable lack of accountability.”

But Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the committee’s ranking member, scorned the new report, citing it as evidence that Issa and congressional Republicans have “politicized the investigation by engaging in a systematic effort to launch unsubstantiated accusations against the Pentagon, the State Department, the president and now the ARB itself.”

The controversy centers on the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, by a heavily armed terrorist group that resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.

At first the Obama administration suggested the attack was the result of a spontaneous protest. Subsequent investigations by the State Department and various congressional committees instead determined it was a premeditated assault launched without warning by Islamist militants.

The White House and Foggy Bottom came under severe attack from congressional Republicans and other critics for what they consider the failure of the U.S. to dash to the aid of those under attack. In early August it was reported that the U.S. had filed criminal charges against several individuals, including militia leader Ahmed Abu Khattala, for participating in the onslaught.

On Oct. 4, 2012, Clinton appointed a five-member Accountability Review Board, co-chaired by Thomas Pickering, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 1989 to 1992, and Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to examine the facts and circumstances of the attacks. The panel’s report, issued on Dec. 20, 2012, sharply criticized the State Department for failing to act on embassy requests to upgrade security in Benghazi.

But the ARB refused to point a finger at higher-ups in the administration like Clinton, blaming inaction instead on four mid-level officials who were placed on paid administrative leave only to be subsequently re-instated, although in different positions. Dissatisfied with the conclusions, Issa ordered a review of the report.

“While Ambassador Pickering and Adm. Mullen have honorably served their country, the families of victims and the American people continue to wait for more conclusive answers about how our government left our own personnel so vulnerable and alone the night of the attack,” Issa said.

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All Comments   (9)
All Comments   (9)
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It seems politicians believe they have a unilateral right to hoodwink the public. Why focus on income inequality when race-baiting is more effective for a partisan, left-wing, charlatan. The answer is politicians are always thinking about self rather than the common good. In short, Congress is sadly a cesspool of endless, chicanery.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Why is Cummings still Chairman of that committee? Why is he still in Congress and not on the Obama Propaganda Media's payroll?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Cummings is a democrat and not the committee chairman - Rep. Issa is chairman - Cummings is the ranking dem and Dear Leader/Holder's "boy" in the system to run interference and demonize anyone who dares question the regime's motives.

Remember BENGHAZI!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
But, the msm loves him and as much as his ugly, fat mug is in the headlines, due to the msm helping Cummings spread his lies (obama propaganda), I can see where some might think he was the chairman.

Remember BENGHAZI!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Progressives like Hillary and Obama play by a rules different than those which apply to non-progressives. What ever they do or don't do is appropriate. They are America's royalty. King Obama is infallible. Hillary will become infallible one she is crowned. Allahu Akbar y'all.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
just more government by the inept and incompetent. our crack c.i.c. goes from one screw up to the next. buries his mistakes (bodies), hides behind his office/executive privilege, and quickly moves on while his minions (in this case commie cummings) provide cover. this is the same guy who uses every trick in the book to quell any investigation of the i.r.s. scandals by rep. Issa.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sounds like some are afraid that truth might come to light before the 50 years are up, that we might know the truth while their political careers are still traveling on the political train, making stops along the way to drop off the ballots already marked for their election.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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