Report on Benghazi Doesn't Answer THE Question
The information coming out of the House Intelligence Committee only serves to cloud the real question of fault.
Libya lies in ruins and Benghazi is caught in the hands of Ansar Al-Sharia, an Al-Qaida-linked group, who have declared Libya an Islamic emirate. This is the same group who stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, killing four Americans on September 11, 2012.
Now, the House Intelligence Committee announced it would declassify its report on the Benghazi attacks. The committee spent thousands of hours investigation the debacle. After 20 briefings and hearings, interviews including eight people protecting the consulate that night in Libya, and countless intelligence reports, emails and notes, the American people will finally learn what truly happened. Barack Obama will get his due. Hillary Clinton will be culpable. There will be justice for Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Except, this report does not find the Obama administration at fault for the Benghazi tragedy. The report may, when it’s declassified and eventually released to the public, show a more nuanced view of the day, but the information coming out of the House Intelligence Committee only serves to cloud the real question of fault.
Ranking member Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) sketched the major findings of the committee in a statement. America did nothing wrong, he concluded.
“This bi-partisan report,” Ruppersberger said, “adopted unanimously on July 31, 2014, and sent to the Intelligence Community for a declassification review, recognizes that only with a full accounting of the facts, separate from the swirl of rumors and unsupported allegations that have surfaced, can America ensure that tragedies like this don’t happen again.”
According to Ruppersberger, here are the committee’s major findings:
- American Intelligence was working fine, up until the attack. Ruppersberger wrote, “Our investigation found the Intelligence Community warned about an increased threat environment, but did not have specific tactical warning of an attack before it happened, Americans [sic] which is consistent with testimony that the attacks appeared to be opportunistic.”
- The attack was done by Al-Qaida and its buddies. Ruppersberger alleged those who breached the consulate’s walls were “a mixed group of individuals including those associated with Al-Qaeda, Qadafi loyalists and other Libyan militias.”
- The American response outside Benghazi was appropriate because “there was no ‘stand down order’ given to American personnel attempting to offer assistance that evening, and no American was left behind.” Except for, you know, “Chris Stevens and three other brave Americans.”
- The lame YouTube video excuse was okay because it was a mistake. Ruppersberger again: “The report also shows that the process used to develop the talking points was flawed, but that the talking points reflected the conflicting intelligence assessments in the days immediately following the crisis.”
- The Obama administration was never, at any point, motivated by the 2012 elections. “[T]here was absolutely no evidence, in documents or testimony, that the Intelligence Community’s assessments were politically motivated in any way,” Ruppersberger concluded.
However, Ruppersberger’s assessments might have a political impetus. There are many political advantages to spilling the contents of the report now. Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) did not release any statement about the declassification of the report. If Democrats spin the contents of the report, they deaden the actual report’s release. (When the report comes out, will it be old news?) Finally, this comes at a time when Democrats need to discredit Republicans because of election season and all.
Furthermore, the assessment only serves to cloud the facts at this point. Even Hillary Clinton’s horse-puckey detector was going off when she heard the YouTube story. According to the book “Blood Feud,” Obama called Hillary and told her the talking points. According to an excerpt of the book, “Hillary told Obama, ‘Mr. President, that story isn’t credible. Among other things, it ignores the fact that the attack occurred on 9/11.’ But the president was adamant. He said, ‘Hillary, I need you to put out a State Department release as soon as possible.’” She considered resigning, but that would only result in her political suicide. She told the fib.
Weeks later, Obama won the 2012 election, raking in 51% of the popular vote. Obama’s watch, at that point, was free from terrorism. The lie held.
Now, the question remains: Who wrote the talking point placing blame on the YouTube video and placing a wet blanket over the whole debacle until the votes were counted?
The Daily Caller has a theory. In an article that can only be called pure gonzo journalism, the publication levels its pen against Ben Rhodes, Obama’s national security advisor. There is one more committee, led by Trey Gowdy’s (R-SC), investigating the attacks. The story of Benghazi is not over until America sees the real reports from both Gowdy’s committee and the House Intelligence Committee.