Select Committee releases Benghazi report

A report issued by the House Select Committee on Benghazi confirms much of what had been suspected that differs from the administration narrative of the attack and offers some revelations previously unknown.

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. 

That pretty much destroys the administration's "fog of war" argument.  The only fog in looking at the attack was deliberately created.

Anyone need more convincing?

In an email provided to the Select Committee, Clinton told daughter Chelsea, “Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Queda-like [sic] group.”

Clinton also told Egypt’s prime minister the following day: “We know that the attacks in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack -- not a protest.”

And yet Susan Rice appeared on TV that Sunday, claiming that the attack was the result of the video. 

Oh, and about that State Department "Independent" Review Board that blamed two low-level employees for not beefing up security at the annex?  Turns out that Clinton deputy Cheryl Mills had her hands all over it.


Cheryl Mills, the longtime attorney, friend and former chief of staff for Hillary Clinton, influenced the findings of an internal State Department review of the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack, according to a draft of the final House Benghazi Committee report.

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.

The issue is a sensitive one for State and Republicans. The department has long held that its ARB report was independent and not influenced by then-Secretary Clinton. Mills has said that while she may have offered suggestions on a draft of the board’s report, it was under no pressure to accept them. She’s also said it worked independently in testimony she gave before the Benghazi committee’s final report was issued Tuesday.

"No pressure" placed on board members?  What a crock.  One of the secretary's closest aides makes a "suggestion," and they're just going to ignore it?  Sheesh.

The Hill reports some other new findings:

But the analysis includes new facts sure to be seized upon by the administration’s critics, and which are likely to serve as points of attack against Clinton during the general election.

Among the new revelations is the notion that Ambassador Chris Stevens, who along with three other Americans was killed in the attack, was in Benghazi with the aim of erecting a permanent diplomatic post, to replace the temporary one that came under fire.

Military orders also appeared to have gotten lost or misinterpreted on their way down the chain, the report claims. And the Libyan forces that eventually evacuated the surviving Americans from the CIA annex were in fact former loyalists of deposed strongman Moammar Gaddafi, and not militia groups with a previous relationship with the U.S.

In the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks, Stevens and State Department information management officer Sean Smith died when their diplomatic compound came under attack. Former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone died from mortar fire hours later, at a nearby CIA annex.

Scrutiny over the terror attack has dogged the Obama administration for the last four years, and in the process has become a byword for scandal on par with Watergate.

Critics suspect the Obama administration of having turned a blind eye to security, failing to come to the victims aid and then misleading the public in the aftermath.

Although there is a legitimate debate about whether U.S. military forces could have actually intervened in time to save the life of Ambassador Stevens and his aide, there is little doubt that the six hours between the attack on the compound and the CIA annex could have been used to rush forces to Libya to defend Americans.  Otherwise, even Democrats agree that State dropped the ball on security, and there is a clear email trail debunking the administration's claim they didn't know that it was a terrorist attack.

There have been a lot of urban myths that sprouted up after the attack, and the report seems to have been able to sort out what happened and why.  While highly critical of Hillary Clinton (deserved, as it turns out), the report appears to be as complete a record as can be expected.  It is not violently partisan, nor does it spare anyone. 

And that was the least that was asked of the Committee when it began work.

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