Benghazi Report: Obama Administration Failed to Protect Americans in Benghazi
The House Select Committee on Benghazi released it long-awaited report on the 2012 terrorist attack Tuesday morning, detailing an array of administration deceptions, miscues and blunders. Among the bombshells to come out in the 800-page document is the conclusion that the Americans were saved by Gaddafi's "Libyan Military Intelligence" -- not a "quasi-governmental militia" as previous reports had found.
"There were only three assets that ever made it to Benghazi; two unarmed drones and the team from Tripoli who deployed themselves. They weren't ordered to go; they deployed themselves," Chairman Trey Gowdy said during today's press conference.
Glen Doherty was on that plane from Tripoli to Benghazi and Glen Doherty not only flew from Tripoli to the Benghazi, but he negotiated at the airport with Libyans that were supposed to be our friends to get to the annex so he could help defend that facility and he got there just in time to join his fellow Navy SEAL, Tyrone Woods, minutes before they both died.
The report also concluded that Hillary Clinton and other administration officials pushed the video explanation for Benghazi despite knowing the truth because eyewitness accounts were immediately available.
Republicans on the committee charge that Clinton and the State Department acted in a "shameful" manner in refusing to hand over requested emails from her private email server and pointed out that President Barack Obama skipped his daily intelligence briefing one day after the attacks.
The report also said that the investigation by the so-called Accountability Review Board was tainted by the influence of Clinton's former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills.
Questions pertaining to a possible weapons trafficking program that may have shipped arms from Benghazi to Syria went unanswered because the National Security Council would not allow the House Benghazi Committee to review information about possible U.S. covert action in Libya.
The report chose not to draw conclusions against Hillary Clinton, opting to let the American people read the report and decide for themselves because the House resolution to form the committee and investigate Benghazi had nothing to do with 2016 presidential politics, Chairman Trey Gowdy said during the Benghazi Committee's press conference Tuesday morning.
A separate report by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) highlights findings that they believe demonstrate that Secretary Clinton put politics ahead of the Americans in Benghazi. Pompeo said during the presser that Clinton's leadership during the crisis was "morally reprehensible."
The Democrats have charged since the beginning of the investigation that Republicans on the committee had politicized the investigation, yet in their 339-page report, released yesterday, Donald Trump, the Republican presumptive nominee is mentioned 23 times -- more than the combined number of references to Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, the two former Navy SEALs who were killed in the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks. In their report, the Democrats also mistakenly released a transcript confirming a big Media Matters payout to Clinton crony Sidney Blumenthal.
Stonewalling by the Obama administration -- especially the State Department -- delayed the investigation for months, Republicans assert.
Via NBC News:
One section of the report seems to allege that U.S. officials fundamentally misunderstood who their allies were at the time. The Republican majority's report found that 35 Americans were saved not by a "quasi-governmental militia" as previous reports concluded, or even a group the U.S. saw as allies. Instead, the report determines that the Americans were saved by the "Libyan Military Intelligence," a group composed of military officers under the Moammar Khaddafy regime, the Libyan dictator who the U.S. helped topple just one year earlier.
The February 17 Martyr Brigade, "recommended by the Libyan Government and contractually obligated to provide security to the Mission Compound," had fled, the report found. "In other words, some of the very individuals the United States helped remove from power during the Libyan revolution were the only Libyans that came to the assistance of the United States on the night of the Benghazi attacks," the report states.
The report blasts the administration for what Republicans say was repeated and willful noncompliance with a congressional investigation, forcing the Benghazi panel to use a series of under-the-radar subpoenas, subpoena threats and a warning that the committee would initiate contempt-of-Congress proceedings against Kerry and other officials if the department did not accede to its demands for information. Republicans say the State Department still has failed to turn over several thousand pages of documents related to an Accountability Review Board investigation into Benghazi.
Via Fox News:
The claim that the fatal 2012 Benghazi terrorist attacks were sparked by an anti-Muslim video was crafted in Washington by Obama administration appointees and reflected neither eyewitness nor real-time reports from the Americans under siege, according to the final report of the GOP-led Benghazi Select Committee.
The GOP report, released Tuesday, followed by less than a day a report by the Democrats on the panel saying that security at the Benghazi, Libya facility was “woefully inadequate” but former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton never personally denied any requests from diplomats for additional protection.
According to portions of the Republican report reviewed by Fox News, one U.S. agent at the American outpost in Benghazi, whose name was withheld for security reasons, told the committee he first heard “some kind of chanting.”
Then that sound was immediately followed by “explosions” and “gunfire, then roughly 70 people rushing into the compound with an assortment of “AK-47s, grenades, RPG’s … a couple of different assault rifles,” the agent said.
In addition, a senior watch officer at the State Department's diplomatic security command described the Sept. 11, 2012, strikes as "a full on attack against our compound.”
When asked whether he saw or heard a protest prior to the attacks, the officer replied, "zip, nothing, nada," according to the Republican majority report.
“None of the information coming directly from the agents on the ground in Benghazi during the attacks mentioned anything about a video or a protest. The firsthand accounts made their way to the office of the Secretary through multiple channels quickly …,” the report concluded.
The president himself had no time to hear the accounts of agents on the ground. He had a fundraiser to attend in Las Vegas.
Barack Obama skipped his daily intelligence briefing one day after the Benghazi attacks on September 11, 2012. The president's briefer handed a written copy of the presidential daily briefing to a White House usher and then briefed Jack Lew, who was then serving as White House chief of staff. But Obama, who sometimes avails himself of the oral briefing that is offered along the written intelligence product, did not ask for such a briefing the day after the attacks on U.S. facilities in Libya.
A section of the report obtained by POLITICO says the so-called Accountability Review Board did not act independently, as it was supposed to do, and was consistently influenced by Mills. Mills, the report says, helped select members of the panel, gave at least one other State Department official permission to talk to the reviewers, oversaw the production of some documents reviewed by the board and helped edit the final report.
“The decisions to deviate from longstanding processes raise questions about the board’s independence, thoroughness and therefore the fullness of their findings of accountability,” the report reads.
In their report, Democrats released a transcript of Clinton henchman Blumenthal answering the committee’s questions in an effort to accuse Republicans of using their subpoena power to "conduct political opposition research unrelated to Benghazi." They redacted the embarrassing parts of the transcript, but the Los Angeles Times was easily able to erase the redaction marks using a computer cut and paste function.
...for Democrats, the exchange exposes once again the absurd amounts of money people in the orbit of the Clintons sometimes seem to rake in just for, well, being in the orbit of the Clintons. “I’d say it’s about $200,000 a year,” Blumenthal said when asked by a committee member how much the part-time work offering up advice and ideas was worth.
“Redacted due to Chairman Gowdy’s refusal to allow release of transcript,” says a footnote to the pages of thick black redaction marks. “If released, the transcript would show that Republicans asked Mr. Blumenthal questions about his relationship with Media Matters, David Brock and Correct the Record.” Brock is a longtime Clinton loyalist, and Correct the Record and Media Matters are among the nonprofits he uses to attack Clinton opponents.
And how did Blumenthal get such a contract? “I have had a very long friendship with the chairman of Media Matters, whose name is David Brock, from before he founded this organization, and I have sustained that friendship. And he asked me to help provide ideas and advice to him and his organizations,” Blumenthal said.
Clinton's allies in the media are today pushing the narrative that the report found no new evidence of wrongdoing against Hillary Clinton, but new evidence has come out over the two years the panel has been investigating and has been cumulative. Clinton's toadies can try to whitewash it, but the record is devastatingly clear that this corrupt administration - and the buck stops with the commander-in-chief and the secretary of State at the time -- failed to stabilize Libya after ousting Gaddafi, failed to secure our assets, refused to respond to ongoing attacks, and then lied to cover up their serial failures because it was an election year.
Here is the full Benghazi Committee press conference: