Republicans on the U.S. House Benghazi Committee released a report on Tuesday on the Benghazi terror attacks in 2012 that killed four Americans: Ambassador Chris Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, and two former Navy SEALs who were part of a CIA program, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
It reveals that the Obama administration and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton failed to protect the American diplomats.
The 800-page report revealed that in the months leading up to the attack, there was worsening security in Libya, poor bureaucratic leadership and inadequate resources. The report showed Clinton and the State Department’s inadequacy to protect the Libyan diplomatic outpost. The report also revealed that the CIA missed the threat and wrote faulty intelligence after the attack.
Clinton told the committee last year that she was aware of the dangers in Libya but “there was no actionable intelligence” indicating a planned terrorist attack. The report showed that intelligence was available, but Clinton and her top aide, Patrick Kennedy, failed to realize the risk of a potential attack.
The 800 page report, which took over 2 years to investigate and complete, has followed Hillary Clinton around during her presidential campaign. Clinton called the report a political vendetta since it is being released just a few months before the presidential election.
Panel members and House Representatives Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas) feel that the report did not go far enough and Clinton and the Obama administration should be held more liable for the death of four Americans during the attack. In their own additional report released today, they said Clinton “failed to lead” and the Obama administration “mis-led the public.”
The report said that they could not fully reveal what happened during the Benghazi attack in 2012 since the administration would not turn over all of the records to them. The report says that the by not turning over the documents, the delay for the records was coordinated and intentional.
Democrats rebutted the findings in the investigation on Monday by saying the report was only revealed now to damage Clinton’s campaign before the November election. They also said that the report came from political bias.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz said the report was a “Republican conspiracy theory in search of a conspiracy.”
“The essential facts surrounding the 2012 attacks in Benghazi have been known for some time,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.
The final report of the Benghazi attack criticizes Clinton’s use of a private email account during the attacks. It also offers why no DOD assets moved in to help the four Americans that were killed in the attack. Obama and then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta approved the military to do anything it could and move in around 8:30 at night, but the DOD failed to meet deployment times and no one was deployed for hours. The Defense Department said it could not have responded in time, but according to the panel, it should have tried because it didn’t know when the attack would end.
“What was disturbing from the evidence the Committee found was that at the time of the final lethal attack at the Annex, no asset ordered deployed by the Secretary had even left the ground,” the report read.
According to a committee staffer, the military did not deploy until Libyans stepped in to save the Americans and evacuate them to Tripoli. Even then, the military never went to Libya, and instead went to Tripoli.
The report showed that requests for additional security were denied several times even after there were multiple attacks on international targets in the city. The report, citing a cable from the U.S. embassy in Tripoli said that in August there were 34 security staff at the compound, but by the end of the month, there were only six.
According to the report, the State Department in 2011 and 2012 noted rising crime levels, high risk of militia violence after Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi was ousted from power and an increase in firearm ownership.
According to the report, there was inadequate security at the outpost. The security situation was worsening since there were multiple equipment failures, a lack of manpower, and the protection for the outpost was made up of local militia.
The final Benghazi report reveals more about the allegations that the United States was involved with the transfer of weapons to Libyan rebels. Multiple news reports have cited State and Intelligence officials saying the president approved an operation to ship weapons to Libyan rebels to oust Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi. Clinton supported the proposal, but the administration denies it.
The National Security Council denied any officials or CIA personnel from responding to questions from the House Benghazi Committee on the shipment of weapons to Libyan rebels, according to the report.
“Over the course of nearly a dozen interviews with the State Department, the Defense Department and CIA personnel, witnesses consistently refused to answer questions related to certain allegations with respect to U.S. activity in Libya even though the House specifically gave the committee access to materials relating to intelligence sources and methods,” the report says. “Most of these questions related in some way to allegations regarding weapons.”
The report also revealed previously undisclosed details of the White House teleconference between multiple agencies and Hillary Clinton around 7:30 p.m. According to democrats, witnesses told investigators that the main focus of the call was the safety of U.S. personnel in Benghazi, but according to the committee resources, the report said a lot of the teleconference had to do with why the attack happened and not how to get Americans to safety during the attack. According to GOP sources, half of the items wrote down by those at the conference had to do with blaming the attack on the anti-Islamic Youtube video.
Low-level CIA officials eventually came to meet with committee officials to admit that they made mistakes and that the word “protest” should not have been used because there was no evidence of a protest. A committee official told POLITICO that line analysts in the CIA used social media and news reports instead of what people on the ground were saying about the attacks. It was drawn up by administration officials and not from accounts of eyewitnesses or Americans under attack.