House Report Criticizes Administration on Benghazi

Earlier today, the House Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform, and Intelligence committees issued a joint interim report on the investigation of Benghazi. At U.S. News, Peter Roff has a straightforward account of the report’s contents:

To put it mildly, the findings of the investigation thus far are damning.

The product of combined investigations by the House Committees on the Armed Services, Judiciary, Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight and Government Reform, the report says that “There remain unanswered questions about the events surrounding the attacks, and the Administration owes answers to the American people.”

According to the executive summary, the ongoing investigation by the five House committees has already determined that:

* Reductions of security levels prior to the attacks in Benghazi were approved at the highest levels of the State Department, up to and including Secretary Clinton. This fact contradicts her testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on January 23, 2013.

* In the days following the attacks, White House and senior State Department officials altered accurate talking points drafted by the Intelligence Community in order to protect the State Department.

* Contrary to Administration rhetoric, the talking points were not edited to protect classified information. Concern for classified information is never mentioned in email traffic among senior administration officials.

* All of this seems to conflict with what the Obama Administration told the American public in the thick of the president’s ultimately successful re-election campaign.

The Associated Press reports on the report too, but the AP is careful to counter every statement from the report with an administration talking point. The AP concludes with this:

Privately, Republicans say the Libya attack and criticism of the Obama administration is an issue that energizes the Republican base, a crucial political calculation ahead of congressional midterm elections in which control of the House and Senate are stake.

Sure. No one could genuinely care about the murder of an American ambassador and three others; it’s all just politics. (Unlike, say, Obama’s gun control initiatives.) Nevertheless, whether the AP likes it or not, Benghazi isn’t going away.