Tuesday was a reminder that Democratic presidential nominee-in-waiting Hillary Clinton has a lot of fires to put out this election cycle.
With her long-time confidante Huma Abedin about to testify in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit between Judicial Watch and the State Department in which she is the central focus of the investigation, Clinton got another blast from the past. Following a two-year investigation, the House Select Committee on Benghazi, led by U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), released its final report.
"Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were heroes who gave their lives in service to our country," Gowdy said. "Their bravery and the courageous actions of so many others on the ground that night should be honored.
"When the Select Committee was formed, I promised to conduct this investigation in a manner worthy of the American people's respect, and worthy of the memory of those who died. That is exactly what my colleagues and I have done.
"Now, I simply ask the American people to read this report for themselves, look at the evidence we have collected, and reach their own conclusions. You can read this report in less time than our fellow citizens were taking fire and fighting for their lives on the rooftops and in the streets of Benghazi."
The report isn't just bad for Clinton, though. The Pentagon and Obama Administration have a lot questions to answer, as well.
Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.) said the committee's demands for additional information about the military's response to the attacks was met with "strong opposition from the Defense Department." She said the report demonstrates why.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) noted that administration officials, including Clinton, learned "almost in real time" there was a terrorist attack on Benghazi, but rather than tell the American people the truth, they "told one story privately and a different story publicly." Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) said the White House tried to pin all of the blame on officials within the intelligence community, when in fact political operatives were "spinning the false narrative."
The 800-page report, in five sections, includes information not previously reported to the public. These include:
- Part I — Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Facilities in Benghazi
- Part II — Internal and Public Government Communications about the Terrorist Attacks in Benghazi
- Part III — Events Leading to the Terrorist Attacks in Benghazi
Part IV of the report reveals new information about the Select Committee's requests and subpoenas seeking documents and witnesses. Part V proposes 25 recommendations for the Pentagon, State Department, Intelligence Community and Congress.
The report also includes several appendices, including:
- Questions for the President
- Significant Events in Libya Prior to the Attacks
- Security Incidents in Libya
- Deterioration of Benghazi Mission Compound Security
- Timelines of the Attacks
- The September 12 Situation Report and the President's Daily Brief
The entire report is available by clicking here. As it was being released, another member of the committee, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) discussed the report more fully on the Hugh Hewitt Show.
"In Washington, D.C., on a telephone conference call called a SVTC, Secretary Clinton was on the call for part of the time, but the deputies all across the government were talking about things like whether our soldiers could go into the country in uniform or out of uniform," he said. "They were seeking permission from the Libyan government, frankly, which didn't exist, and certainly didn't protect our guys that night. They were talking about things that were totally superfluous to the primary goal at the time, which was to find the U.S. Ambassador who was then missing, and rescue the 30-plus Americans who were on the ground there ...
"The State Department didn't want it to look like it was an invasion of Libya. They were hypersensitive to looking like there were Americans coming into Libya when this was truly a terrorist haven. Somehow, they had this idea that a big American force in uniform would present some risk that the Libyans would protest, because we were invading their country. In fact, the military folks knew that that wasn't going to help keep our soldiers safe. And there was this debate back and forth about what the appropriate attire was for going to rescue Americans while our embassy was burning and mortars were falling in Benghazi. It is new, it is important, and it is inexplicable ...
"There is no evidence that at any time did she do what a leader would do that night, which is say why on Earth are we talking about whether we're in uniform. Why on Earth are we talking about deployed forces that the Secretary of Defense has already ordered deployed? Why are we screwing around with these things that don't have any opportunity to help us rescue my, what would have been her ambassador? Instead, she participated in meetings that clearly delayed the American response."
Pompeo and Jordan authored their own 40-page addendum to the report. In his interview with Hewitt, Pompeo said it shows how political considerations for both President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took precedence over the lives of the Americans at the U.S. Mission in Benghazi.
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