WASHINGTON — Prior to the House Select Committee on Benghazi releasing its report on the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed four Americans in an embassy in Benghazi, Libya, a few Republicans and Democrats sent out their own report previews.
Earlier Tuesday, Reps. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio., sent out a 51-page report arguing then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — now the presumptive Democratic nominee for president — misled the public about what she knew about the attacks in Benghazi in order to help President Barack Obama’s re-election.
Clinton, they said, acknowledged in private correspondence the attacks were terrorist attacks, even as she sought to publicly describe the attacks on the embassy in Benghazi, Libya, as the results of a spontaneous demonstration.
Even before that, they said, her leadership was inadequate, and embassy officials were put in an untenable, dangerous situation. One diplomatic security official warned the State Department the conditions were tantamount to a “suicide mission.” Officials reported eight acts of violence, either in Benghazi or at other diplomatic missions around the globe in the months leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks.
“Secretary Clinton had the last clear chance to provide adequate protection or, failing that, to close the facility and pull our people out,” the two write. “She did neither.”
The report also questions why Clinton felt it necessary to have an embassy in Benghazi despite mounting evidence the mission was dangerous.
“No matter how important a presence in Benghazi was — to Secretary Clinton, to the State Department, to the United States — it should have become very clear that the risks of staying without more security outweighed any possible benefit,” it reads.
It questions the military response to the attacks, saying military troops were not deployed to respond until 12 hours after the attack ended. A drone circled overhead but it was unarmed, their report finds.
“We are now convinced, contrary to the administration’s public claim that the military did not have time to get to Benghazi, that the administration never launched men or machines to help directly in the fight,” the report reads.
And it questions whether justice ever was served for the attacks, saying only one man — Ahmed Abu Khatallah — has been indicted and brought to the U.S. to face charges in the attacks despite almost four years passing.
Both Pompeo, from Wichita, and Jordan serve on the select committee, which investigated the attacks for two years. They wrote they released their report in order to highlight some of the conclusions of the investigation rather than to replace the final report.
Their report was released a day after Democrats on the select panel sent out a 344-page report saying the Republican investigation was “a political crusade.”
The Democrats argue that while State Department security measures in Benghazi were “woefully inadequate,” Clinton never personally denied any requests for additional security in Benghazi. It ascribes the changing stories about the attack to the evolving nature of learning about the attacks.
“Decades in the future, historians will look back on this investigation as a case study in how not to conduct a credible investigation,” their report reads, before accusing Republicans of holding off on releasing the report until right before the political conventions in order to have maximum political impact on Clinton’s campaign.