House Report on Benghazi Attack: An Administration That Failed to Act
A report on the deadly September 11th, 2012 attack at a diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya has been released and it is a thorough condemnation of the administration for its failure to adequately respond.
The results of an investigation into the events prior, during and after the terrorist attack was released by five representatives, all Republicans: Howard McKeon, Ed Royce, Bob Goodlatte, Darrell Issa, and Mike Rogers. The following are the key findings, simplified in bullet-point form:
Prior to the Benghazi attack:
- After the United States backed a revolution in Libya that toppled the Gadhafi regime, security personnel deployed to protect U.S. assets were insufficient.
- Security personnel were removed from the region, despite awareness that the threat level remained high.
- “Repeated requests for additional security were denied at the highest levels of the State Department.” In April of 2012, Hillary Clinton acknowledged then-Ambassador Cretz’s formal request for additional security, but continued removing security assets anyway.
- “The attacks were not the result of a failure by the Intelligence Community (IC) to recognize or communicate the threat.”
- “The President, as Commander-in-Chief, failed to proactively anticipate the significance of September 11 and provide the Department of Defense with the authority to launch offensive operations beyond self-defense.” DOD assets were available to be deployed and would have reached Benghazi within hours; but there was no heightened level of readiness, and no military support was not dispatched during the nearly 13-hour attack.
During the attack:
- “U.S. security teams on the ground in Benghazi exhibited extreme bravery” fighting al-Qa’ida-affiliated groups attacking the diplomatic compound.
- “Department of Defense officials and military personnel reacted quickly to the attacks in Benghazi.” Simply put, the key problems relate to force posture and readiness, and not the capability of the military troops.
After the attacks:
- “The Administration willfully perpetuated a deliberately misleading and incomplete narrative that the attacks evolved from a political demonstration caused by a YouTube video.” There were no protests at Benghazi prior to the terrorist attack and the administration tried to quell talk that al-Qaeda may have been involved.
- “Administration officials crafted and continued to rely on incomplete and misleading talking points.” Key information was removed from reports to shelter the administration from criticism during the election season.
- “Evidence rebuts Administration claims that the talking points were modified to protect classified information or to protect an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).” The redacted information does not appear to relate to credible national security concerns.
- “The Administration deflected responsibility by blaming the IC for the information it communicated to the public in both the talking points and the subsequent narrative it perpetuated.” The White House blamed our intelligence and military community, rather than taking true responsibility.
- “The Administration’s decision to respond to the Benghazi attacks with an FBI investigation, rather than military or other intelligence resources, contributed to the government’s lack of candor about the nature of the attack.”
- “Responding to the attacks with an FBI investigation significantly delayed U.S. access to key witnesses and evidence and undermined the government’s ability to bring those responsible for the attacks to justice in a timely manner.”
It is particularly sad that Democrats did not feel the need to add their input into the investigation, because national security matters entailing the death of an ambassador, a diplomat and two security personnel should not be a partisan matter.