Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) blasted the House Intelligence Committee’s final report on Benghazi as “full of crap.”
The committee found no big intelligence failure in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on a diplomatic facility that took four American lives, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
It also cleared the administration of wrongdoing in the time it took to launch a rescue operation for consulate staff. And it found that current National Security Adviser Susan Rice wasn’t being deliberately misleading when she made the rounds on the networks to deliver inaccurate talking points that, in part, pointed the finger of blame at anger over an anti-Muhammad video on YouTube.
“As the Committee’s bipartisan report makes clear, the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the Benghazi attacks focused on the Intelligence Community’s activities before, during, and after the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11-12, 2012,” Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said in a statement Saturday. “The bipartisan panel concluded that there was no stand down order issued by or to intelligence community personnel, and there was no denial of air support to intelligence community officers on the ground. The officers present testified to that effect.”
“The Committee did receive evidence about the activities of the Defense Department, State Department, and White House personnel, which are explained in both the report and the additional views,” he added. “But the Committee does not make final conclusions about other agencies to the extent they were not the focus of the Committee’s investigation.”
Rogers said all members of the committee “were given an opportunity to provide written comments on the Committee’s work and the report.” The retiring chairman “wrote additional views to provide further comments on the motivations and actions of some senior officials.”
“Similarly, the Minority Members provided additional comments. The Committee urges those commenting on the report to read both the report and the additional views.”
Rep. Trey Gowdy’s (R-S.C.) Select Committee on Benghazi said it “received the Intelligence Committee’s report on the Benghazi terrorist attack months ago, and has reviewed it along with other Committee reports and materials as the investigation proceeds.”
“It will aid the Select Committee’s comprehensive investigation to determine the full facts of what happened in Benghazi, Libya before, during and after the attack and contribute toward our final, definitive accounting of the attack on behalf of Congress.”
Said Graham on CNN Sunday: “I think the report is full of crap.”
“To say that Mike Morell — well, the deputy director of the CIA, when I ask him, do you know who changed the talking points, and — with Senator Ayotte and McCain and Susan Rice sitting by his side, said the FBI changed the talking points when it came to references to al-Qaeda,” Graham said. “Only later did we find out through a lawsuit that Mike Morell was deeply involved in changing the talking points, the deputy director of the FBI. When he was sitting in front of a congressional panel and he was asked, does anybody here know who changed the talking points, he sat silent. So, no, the intel community through him lied.”
The House Intelligence Committee, the senator charged, “is doing a lousy job policing their own.”
“I’m saying that anybody who has followed Benghazi at all knows that the CIA deputy director did not come forward to tell Congress what role he played in changing the talking points. And the only way we knew he was involved is when he told a representative at the White House, I’m going to do a hard review of this, a hard rewrite,” he said.
“Three days after the attack, they did not give a damn about the intelligence. They wanted to create a political narrative to protect the president. And I’m not going to stop until someone is held accountable for allowing it to be a death trap, somebody be fired for not coming to the aid of these people for nine-and-a-half-hours. And somebody ought to be fired for lying to the American people. They were worried about the reelection, not telling the truth. And when Susan Rice said, ‘I have no regrets, I gave the American people the best evidence available,’ that’s a bald-faced lie.”
Graham added that when the House Intelligence Committee “says there is no manipulating of the American people, that is absolute garbage.”
“When they say there is no evidence that CIA personnel misled the Congress regarding changing the talking points, that is a lie, because I was on the receiving end of the lie.”
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) told CNN that Graham’s reaction to the report was “right on target.”
“You know, when you look at this administration it seems like they very much wanted to say that there was no successful al-Qaeda out there,” Kirk said.
House Intelligence Committee member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told the network that “calling it crap doesn’t change the fact that it was an exhaustive and objective review.”
“It reminds me of a lawyer’s maxim that, if the law is not on your side, emphasize the facts. If the facts aren’t on your side, bang on the table. I think we heard Lindsey banging on the table quite a bit this morning,” Schiff said.
“This was a two-year exhaustive investigation. It was released by the Republican chairman of the Intelligence Committee and had the support of all the Republicans and Democrats on the committee. It’s designed to be the definitive word on what happened from the intelligence community’s point of view… There were 21 intelligence assessments at the time that it began as a protest. Those turned out to be wrong, but there was no malice in getting it wrong.”