The House Select Committee on Benghazi has issued its report. The 800-page document is the result of an investigation that, according to the committee, encompassed 81 new witnesses and 75,000 pages of new documents.
The report covers every aspect of the Benghazi scandal — the “before,” the “during,” and multiple phases of the “after.” At Hot Air, Larry O’Connor provides a good summary and Ed Morrissey homes in on the report’s finding that Hillary Clinton’s aide, Cheryl Mills, exercised undue influence over the Accountability Review Board (ARB) that investigated (sort of) Benghazi. This was malfeasance.
Hillary Clinton, of course, figures heavily in nearly all aspects the Benghazi scandal, especially the “before” and “after” phases. With respect to “before,” the question has always been why Clinton didn’t beef up security at the Benghazi complex, as she was implored to do by those on the ground.
Clinton told the Committee that she was aware of the dangers in Libya but “there was no actionable intelligence” indicating a planned attack. But why was intelligence of a “planned attack” a prerequisite for ensuring the safety of U.S. personnel? An unplanned attack, which Clinton maintained the Benghazi was, would likely imperil our people as much as a planned one.
The issue shouldn’t have been “planned vs. unplanned,” but rather likelihood of either sort of attack.
The Committee found that intelligence was available suggesting an attack was possible and that Clinton and a top aide, Patrick Kennedy, should have realized the risks posed to the Benghazi mission by extremist groups. “It is not clear what additional intelligence would have satisfied either Kennedy or the Secretary in understanding the Benghazi mission compound was at risk — short of an attack,” the report states.
It should be clear that Clinton was guilty of nonfeasance.
Two members of the Committee, Reps. Jim Jordan and Mike Pompeo, issued a statement of additional views. It’s 48 pages, and well worth reading.
Here is their summary of conclusions:
I. The First Victim of War is Truth: The administration misled the public about the events in Benghazi
Officials at the State Department, including Secretary Clinton, learned almost in real time that the attack in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. With the presidential election just 56 days away, rather than tell the people the truth and increase the risk of losing an election, the administration told one story privately and a different story publicly. They publicly blamed the deaths on a video-inspired protest they knew never occurred.
II. Last Clear Chance: Security in Benghazi was woefully inadequate and Secretary Clinton failed to lead
The State Department has many posts but Libya and Benghazi were different. After Qhaddafi, the U.S. knew that we could not count on host nation security in a country where militias held significant power. The American people expect that when the government sends our representatives into such dangerous places, they receive adequate protection.
Secretary Clinton paid special attention to Libya. She sent Ambassador Stevens there. Yet, in August 2012, she missed the last clear chance to protect her people.
III. Failure of Will: America did not move heaven and earth to rescue our people
The American people expect their government to make every effort to help those we put in harm’s way when they find themselves in trouble. The U.S. military never sent assets to help rescue those fighting in Benghazi and never made into Libya with personnel during the attack. And, contrary to the administration’s claim that it could not have landed in Benghazi in time to help, the administration never directed men or machines into Benghazi.
IV. Justice Denied: The administration broke its promise to bring the terrorists to justice
After the attacks, President Obama promised “justice will be done.” There is no doubt our nation can make good on that commitment. Yet, almost four years later, only one of the terrorists has been captured and brought to the United States to face criminal charges. Even that terrorist will not receive the full measure of justice after the administration chose not to seek the death penalty. The American people are owed an explanation.
V. Unanswered Questions: The administration did not cooperate with the investigation
Despite its claims, we saw no evidence that the administration held a sincere interest in helping the Committee find the truth about Benghazi. There is a time of politics and a time to set politics. A national tragedy is one of those times when as a nation we should join together to find the truth.
That did not happen here. So while the investigation uncovered new information, we nonetheless end the Committee’s investigation without many of the facts, especially those involving the President and White House, we were chartered to obtain.
The House Select Committee on Benghazi has been criticized by many on both sides of the political spectrum. But I think it should be commended for the difficult task it performed. The Committee’s legacy won’t be confined to uncovering the Clinton email scandal — a major accomplishment. It will also be its report.