Benghazi Committee Faults Military Response To 2012 Attack


House Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy said the panel conducted its investigation "in a manner worthy of the American people's respect."
J. Scott Applewhite, AP
House Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy said the panel conducted its investigation "in a manner worthy of the American people's respect."

The House Benghazi Committee has released its findings on the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya.

The 800-page report found that despite President Obama and then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's "clear orders," the military failed to immediately send a force to Benghazi and that nothing was en route to Libya at the time the last two Americans were killed — almost eight hours after the attacks began.

Four Americans died in the attack on the compound, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

The report had harsh findings about the military but little new about the role of Hillary Clinton, whose response as secretary of state had been thrust into the spotlight by the committee's investigation.

The report says none of the relevant military forces met their deployment timelines to respond to the attack and that a "Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST) sat on a plane in Rota, Spain for three hours, and changed in and out of their uniforms four times."

In a statement, the chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi, Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said the panel conducted its investigation "in a manner worthy of the American people's respect" and urged Americans to read the report.

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Two other Republicans on the panel, Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mike Pompeo of Kansas, released their own "additional views," saying then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "paid special attention to Libya," but that she "missed her last, clear chance to protect her people."

Minority Democrats released their own report on Monday, concluding that the Department of Defense "could not have done anything differently" on the day of the attack that could have saved Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.

The report adds that while State Department security at the compound was "woefully inadequate," Clinton herself "never personally denied any requests for additional security in Benghazi." Clinton was also "active and engaged" on the night of the attacks and in subsequent days, saying she was in touch with the president, the CIA director, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and others in the hours following the attacks.

While the committee has been criticized by Democrats who saw it as a vehicle to attack Clinton's presidential campaign, the report contains no new revelations about her role in the attack.

The most damaging aspect of the investigation for Clinton may have been the discovery that she used a private email server while she was secretary of state.

The Clinton campaign released a statement by spokesman Brian Fallon critical of the Benghazi committee's investigation:

"After more than two years and more than $7 million in taxpayer funds, the Committee report has not found anything to contradict the conclusions of the multiple, earlier investigations. This report just confirms what Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and even one of Trey Gowdy's own former staffers admitted months ago: this Committee's chief goal is to politicize the deaths of four brave Americans in order to try to attack the Obama administration and hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign."

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