Republican-led report debunks Benghazi theories and accusations
WASHINGTON — An investigative report prepared by the House Intelligence Committee finds little to support questions raised about CIA actions on the ground in Benghazi, Libya, the night of a deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound.
The final report, from Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, and ranking member Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Maryland, concludes there was no intelligence failure prior to the attack, no stand-down order to CIA operatives trying to go assist at the besieged consular building and found conflicting intelligence in the wake of the attack about the motive and cause, which were reflected in early public comments by the administration.
But the investigation also found the security at the diplomatic outpost was weak and it described a “flawed” process used to create talking points for House Intelligence Committee members and then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, whose public statements after the attack incensed critics who said the administration was avoiding calling the attack terrorism.
The declassified version of the report attempts to knock down other accusations about the Benghazi incident and aftermath, finding no evidence of CIA employees being intimidated from testifying and also no indication the CIA presence in Benghazi was partially to secretly ship arms from Libya to Syria.
The September 11, 2012, attack left U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods dead, and immediately sparked controversy, with Republicans accusing the Obama administration of mishandling the attack and manipulating the talking points used to discuss it for political reasons.
The intelligence panel, along with several other House committees, spent the past two years interviewing witnesses and examining evidence about the Obama administration’s response to the attacks and the related controversy that has been a flashpoint between Republicans and President Barack Obama over his conduct of foreign policy.
Another House committee, the Select Committee on Benghazi, is conducting its own investigation.
“The Select Committee on Benghazi received the Intelligence committee’s report on the Benghazi terrorist attack (in August), and has reviewed it along with other committee reports and materials as the investigation proceeds,” spokesman Jamal D. Ware said in a statement. “It will aid the Select Committee’s comprehensive investigation to determine the full facts of what happened in Benghazi, Libya before, during and after the attack and contribute toward our final, definitive accounting of the attack on behalf of Congress.”
By Adam Levine