Congressional Republicans on Tuesday accused Hillary Clinton’s State Department of failing to protect the four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, killed in a 2012 attack in Libya, in a report that contained new and troubling revelations that will certainly revive the debate on the U.S. presidential campaign trail.
In an 800-page report, investigators said Clinton, who served as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 and is now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, displayed a “shameful” lack of response to congressional investigators looking into the attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
The report, which was the culmination of a two-year investigation by a special congressional committee led by Republican Representative Trey Gowdy, comes at the heels of the recent email discoveries that are leading many to believe Clinton will be indicted for mishandling classified information.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Clinton’s actions as secretary of state were “disqualifying.” “Hillary Clinton was in charge, knew the risks, and did nothing” to protect personnel on the ground in Libya, he said.
Here are the most shocking findings:
1) Despite President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s clear orders to deploy military assets, nothing was sent to Benghazi, and nothing was en route to Libya at the time the last two Americans were killed almost 8 hours after the attacks began. [pg. 141]
2) With Ambassador Stevens missing, the White House convened a roughly two-hour meeting at 7:30 PM, which resulted in action items focused on a YouTube video, and others containing the phrases “[i]f any deployment is made,” and “Libya must agree to any deployment,” and “[w]ill not deploy until order comes to go to either Tripoli or Benghazi.” [pg. 115]
3) The CIA’s September 13, 2012, intelligence assessment was rife with errors. On the first page, there is a single mention of “the early stages of the protest” buried in one of the bullet points. The article cited to support the mention of a protest in this instance was actually from September 4. In other words, the analysts used an article from a full week before the attacks to support the premise that a protest had occurred just prior to the attack on September 11. [pg. 47]
4) A headline on the following page of the CIA’s September 13 intelligence assessment stated “Extremists Capitalized on Benghazi Protests,” but nothing in the actual text box supports that title. As it turns out, the title of the text box was supposed to be “Extremists Capitalized on Cairo Protests.” That small but vital difference—from Cairo to Benghazi—had major implications in how people in the administration were able to message the attacks. [pg. 52]
5) Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta bluntly told the committee “an intelligence failure” occurred with respect to Benghazi. Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell also acknowledged multiple times an intelligence failure did in fact occur prior to the Benghazi attacks. [pg. 129]
Although the Clinton campaign has called the investigation a “waste of time,” Presidential candidate Donald Trump released the following quote on his Twitter: “Benghazi is just another Hillary Clinton failure, it just never seems to work the way it’s supposed to with Clinton.”