House Republicans released a report Tuesday into the exhaustively investigated Benghazi attacks of 2012. The report faulted the government for failing to secure the diplomatic facility that came under attack, but did not offer up any new blame directed at Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2012.
Democrats and many outside observers have denounced the Benghazi probe as a partisan effort aimed at damaging Clinton's political prospects. The New York Times editorial board this month accused Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chair of the Benghazi committee, of “running a congressional oversight committee like a Republican opposition research shop.” Republicans declined to issue the report on a bipartisan basis.
Here are the key “findings” from the Republican report:
- The Defense Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department failed to understand the threats to U.S. personnel at the Benghazi consulate, and didn’t adequately defend them.
- It found there was a long delay after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered forces to be deployed in response to the attack that meant they didn’t arrive until 2 p.m. the next day.
- Still, the report did not dispute the conclusion of prior reviews that United States military forces in Europe couldn’t have reached Benghazi in time to rescue the four Americans who died. “"What was disturbing from the evidence the Committee found was that at the time of the final lethal attack at the Annex, no asset ordered deployed by the Secretary had even left the ground," the report stated.
- The report found that some Americans were saved not by a quasi-government militia, as previous reports had found, but rather by a group of military officers from the Khaddafy regime, which had been toppled by the U.S. and others a year earlier. “Some of the very individuals the United States helped remove from power during the Libyan revolution were the only Libyans that came to the assistance of the United States on the night of the Benghazi attacks," the report said.
- Hillary Clinton is referenced three times in the 187-page section on the attacks, 38 times in 177-page section on communications and then 86 times in the 135-page section on events beforehand.
- The 800 page report contains just seven pages on “recommendations” — even though stopping a repeat of the attacks was said to be a key goal of the investigation. By contrast, the 9/11 report, which was a little over half the length, contained 62 pages of recommendations.