House GOP Intel panel dismisses most Benghazi theories
A report by the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee has concluded that the CIA and Defense Department acted properly during and after the attack on our diplomoatic mission in Benghazi and that while White House talking points on the attack were "flawed," there was no attempt to misliead the public.
The report contradicts many of the theories advanced to explain the motivations and actions of the Obama administration, who dealt with the attack in the middle of a hard-fought presidential campaign.
The two-year-long investigation by the Republican-led House intelligence committee is the latest congressional probe to examine the attacks, and its conclusions deflate allegations suggesting misconduct by the Obama administration.
Among other findings, the report concluded that a CIA response team hadn’t been ordered to “stand down” after an assault began on the U.S. compound, and didn’t delay a rescue operation.
The report also said there had been no intelligence failure prior to the attacks, and that intelligence on those who participated in the attacks “was and remains conflicting” concerning their identities, affiliations and motivations.
The panel said the CIA received all U.S. military support available at the time in the region, and said the military didn’t miss a chance to perform a rescue operation.
The deaths in the attack of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, of Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith and of CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty touched off months of acrimony over the lack of security for the U.S. facilities and spurred charges of misleading information.
Panel members said they have “endeavored to make the facts and conclusions within this report widely and publicly available so that the American public can separate the actual facts from the swirl of rumors and unsupported allegations.”
The report by the House intelligence panel is unlikely to be the last word on the furor over Benghazi. A separate investigation by a House select committee is under way and members said Friday they have reviewed the House intelligence report.
The issue is certain to be raised in the 2016 presidential race if Democrat Hillary Clinton , the secretary of state in 2012, decides to run. GOP attacks over Benghazi have focused on Mrs. Clinton, as well as on Susan Rice , then the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and now the White House national security adviser.
"No intelligence failure prior to the attack"? That may be true, but it doesn't absolve the State Department of failing to increase security at the compound. Also, the panel appeared to go very easy on the CIA – an agency not known for being 100% cooperative when it comes to Congress investigating their activities. Many committee members are also strong supporters of the agency, so you wouldn't expect harsh judgments on its actions.
Indeed, this report puts to rest some of the wilder conspiracy theories about Benghazi, but it doesn't come close to clearing Hillary Clinton and her State Department. Nor does it make clear the involvement of the Obama re-election campaign in developing the "flawed" talking poiints and how much politics played a role in their dissemination.