Frustrated by the pace of the investigation, the Democratic members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi released their own 339-page minority report on the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others dead.
Not surprisingly, the Democratic report released Monday exonerates Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time of attack, and accuses Republicans of exploiting the tragedy for political gain.
It’s unclear when the committee will release its main report. It will be written by the Republican members of Congress who control the Benghazi committee, which was created two years ago.
“We are issuing our own report today because, after spending more than two years and $7 million in taxpayer funds in one of the longest and most partisan congressional investigations in history, it is long past time for the Select Committee to conclude its work,” the Democratic members of the committee wrote. “Despite our repeated requests over the last several months, Republicans have refused to provide us with a draft of their report.”
The Democrats criticize security at the Benghazi compound before the attack as “woefully inadequate,” but say Clinton never personally denied requests for additional security. It goes on to say that Clinton, as well as the Department of Defense, did everything they could have during the attack.
It also states that Obama administration officials did not intentionally mislead the public in the aftermath of the attack, which they initially and inaccurately claimed was the spontaneous outgrowth of protests against an inflammatory video. Instead, the administration officials were characterizing changing intelligence reports, the Democrats claim.
Benghazi Committee Press Secretary Matt Wolking, speaking for the GOP majority, dismissed the Democratic report as a political document.
“Benghazi Committee Democrats’ obsession with the former Secretary of State is on full display. For over two years they refused to participate in the Majority’s serious, fact-centered investigation. The dishonest Democrats on this committee falsely claimed everything had been ‘asked and answered.’ They said the committee had found ‘absolutely nothing new.’ If that’s changed, they should come clean and admit it. If not, everyone can ignore their rehashed, partisan talking points defending their endorsed candidate for president,” Wolking said.
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has attacked Clinton’s handling of the Benghazi attack, but the issue may have little political salience outside conservative circles.