A partial summation: The concern was not for the dozens of Americans working under this administration and then Sec. of State Hillary Clinton in Benghazi, Libya. The concern was not for any of our other embassies in the region. The concern was not even prompted by the fact that the day was the anniversary of 9/11/01. The concern was focused only on covering the administration’s ass with a YouTube video that had nothing to do with the organized terror attack. And democrats still want to push the video narrative (if they dare) while insisting that there has been no need, whatsoever, to investigate the attack itself or the major cover-up and bald-faced lying by this administration to the US Congress, the American people, and to the victim’s families…
(Catherine Herridge and Bret Baier @ FOX News) – The claim that the fatal 2012 Benghazi terrorist attacks were sparked by an anti-Muslim video was crafted in Washington by Obama administration appointees and reflected neither eyewitness nor real-time reports from the Americans under siege, according to the final report of the GOP-led Benghazi Select Committee.
The GOP report, released Tuesday, followed by less than a day a report by the Democrats on the panel saying that security at the Benghazi, Libya facility was “woefully inadequate” but former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton never personally denied any requests from diplomats for additional protection.
According to portions of the Republican report reviewed by Fox News, one U.S. agent at the American outpost in Benghazi, whose name was withheld for security reasons, told the committee he first heard “some kind of chanting.”
Then that sound was immediately followed by “explosions” and “gunfire, then roughly 70 people rushing into the compound with an assortment of “AK-47s, grenades, RPG’s … a couple of different assault rifles,” the agent said.
In addition, a senior watch officer at the State Department’s diplomatic security command described the Sept. 11, 2012, strikes as “a full on attack against our compound.”
When asked whether he saw or heard a protest prior to the attacks, the officer replied, “zip, nothing, nada,” according to the Republican majority report.
“None of the information coming directly from the agents on the ground in Benghazi during the attacks mentioned anything about a video or a protest. The firsthand accounts made their way to the office of the Secretary through multiple channels quickly …,” the report concluded.
The GOP committee report also identified for the first time a White House meeting that was convened roughly three hours into the attack and included deputies to senior Cabinet members and Clinton.
Stevens was missing at the time. But the report found “much of the conversation focused on the video (which) is surprising given no direct link or solid evidence existed connecting the attacks in Benghazi and the video at the time ….”
The report found that “five of the 10 action items from the rough notes of the 7:30pm meeting reference the video.”
Unlike the Usama bin Laden raid in 2011, in which Clinton, President Obama and his national security team watched events unfold from the Situation Room, they never gathered for Benghazi.
Clinton issued the only statement that night from the administration, following the White House meeting. It read in part: “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”
However, Clinton said something very different privately.
In an email provided to the Select Committee, Clinton told daughter Chelsea, “Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Queda-like [sic] group.”
Clinton also told Egypt’s prime minister the following day: “We know that the attacks in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack — not a protest.”
Kansas GOP Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Benghazi committee member, told Fox News in advance of the report’s release that the report is new and significant because it’s the first to include interviews from “everybody on the ground” in Benghazi.
More than 30 people’s lives were at risk that night, and the majority worked at the secret CIA annex in Benghazi.
Pompeo also said the findings show “it’s unambiguous the administration knew immediately it was a terror attack. And the story of fog of war was known to be false immediately by everyone in the administration.”
The email lists the following two goals, among others: “to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video and not a broader failure of policy” and “to reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.”
Rhodes was the same official who signed off on Clinton’s statement the night of the attack linking the video to Benghazi.
The report found the post attack intelligence analysis had errors, contradicting the eyewitness accounts that night, and it alleges the administration latched onto the faulty analysis to defend and justify their misleading statements to the public.
There were in fact two sets of talking points – the White House version by Rhodes and the one by the CIA. When editing the CIA’s version, Deputy Director Michael Morell knew his personnel on the ground disputed the protest analysis, but he gave the final say to his analysts in Washington, thousands of miles away.
Among the most interesting aspects of their “additional views” is a timeline that contrasts the story top Obama administration officials were telling in public with the very different story some of those same officials were sharing with one another in private emails, conversations and documents. The timeline reinforces in a compelling way what will be one of the most significant takeaways from the committee investigation: The Obama administration knowingly provided the American people a false story about the Benghazi attack, its causes and its consequences…
“Stand Down”: The Washington Examiner outlines the other big question(s) during the attack timeline: Benghazi report claims military failed to act after terrorist attack began
One of the most significant questions looming over the Benghazi committee’s investigation was whether military assets could have reached the diplomatic compound or CIA annex in time to spare any of the four Americans who lost their lives in the violence.
Democrats maintained in their report that the Pentagon could not have reacted any differently given its posture on the night of the attack
But Republican members have highlighted the fact that not a single wheel turned toward Benghazi at any point after the attack began.
If it was true that the military expended every effort possible to save the Americans under siege in Libya, they said, then the investigation should have uncovered evidence that forces were en route to Benghazi when they learned they were going to arrive too late.
Instead, no assets were deployed for Benghazi until after the violence had largely subsided.
“Although a Department of Defense drone circled overhead in Benghazi during much of the attack, the military never sent an armed drone that could possibly have changed the course of events during the hours-long siege, especially as terrorists pounded the Annex with mortar fire,” Pompeo and Jordan noted in their analysis. “An armed drone never came.”
The majority report said the Pentagon learned of the attack at 4:32 p.m. Washington time.
Within three hours, the Defense Department’s chief of staff was emailing high-level Pentagon and State Department officials to inform them that nearby assets were “spinning up” in preparation to head for Benghazi pending approval of the Libyan government and U.S. “principals.”
No forces ever moved toward Benghazi.
The finding troubled some Republicans on the committee, who pointed out that Obama and then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta maintain that they issued orders to the military to do everything possible to rescue the Americans in Benghazi. Yet that sense of urgency did not motivate any forces to take off, raising questions about what exactly was communicated to assets in the region.
The report noted Clinton did not speak with the president about the attack until roughly 10:30 p.m. Washington time, which was after she put out her first public statement blaming the violence on a protest.
Gowdy’s committee struggled to secure cooperation from the Pentagon in its quest to interview the drone sensor pilots who had access to images captured by the surveillance drone that flew over Benghazi on the night of the attack.
Committee Republicans excoriated the administration for focusing on the optics of the Benghazi attack given the political context of the 2012 election.
Emails obtained by the committee show high-level officials were discussing how Mitt Romney’s campaign was spinning the attack as the siege in Benghazi was still underway.
Instead of focusing solely on how the U.S. government could bring its overwhelmingly superior resources to bear in an attempt to save Americans, administration officials spent much of a two-hour teleconference call the night of Sept. 11 discussing ways to present the attack to the public.
In an email sent the morning of Sept. 12, a spokesman for the National Security Council urged dozens of officials across the administration to stay “in sync on messaging” about the attack. He instructed officials not to deviate from the statements released by Clinton and Obama.
“Both the President and Secretary Clinton released statements this morning,” the email said, according to the report. “Please refer to those for any comments for the time being. To ensure we are all in sync on messaging for the rest of the day, [senior White House adviser] Ben Rhodes will host a conference call for USG communicators on this chain at 9:15 ET today.”
So, apparently no slightest military movement was made and, of course, it was all about Barack Obama’s “political messaging” during the tail-end of his 2012 re-election campaign against GOP contender Mitt Romney.
Look for the ever-loyal MSM to chuckle and shrug this off. Recall all the democrat and LMSM outrage and panic during the last Bush administration when it was alleged someone within the administration ‘outed’ some covert-op super-spy at the CIA simply because her mint tea-sipping, politically motivated, narcissist husband tapped (by her promoting him for the job) by the administration to check out some leads and facts in the Middle East, decided the Bush administration lied about yellow cake in Iraq as an excuse for going to war there … except that they didn’t. Oh, and if anyone outed his pencil-pushing desk jockey wife it was him while at some elbow-bending elitist party in DC as he bragged about his sexy CIA wife. But I digress. My point is, while the democrats and MSM pounded the “She could have been killed!” drum she wasn’t killed. Nobody was killed. More actual CIA coverts and spies have been put (and some of us suspect deliberately) in a Hell of a lot more deadly danger during this mouthy administration than at any other time. But you wouldn’t know it from the MSM. But the stark and blinding fact is if Hillary Clinton had been Sec. of State under a GOP administration and Benghazi happened the exact same way on the timeline, especially showing a deliberate cover-up and political PR deference given to the re-election of her boss, the MSM would have been wall to wall with this for the last few years, and slobbering all over today’s same exact report and demanding frog-marching, and heads to literally roll down Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington after the democrats themselves beheaded those involved. But no, this is absolutely a “non-story” with millions of taxpayer dollars and congressional time wasted. FEH!
At this point, after all the bullshit, I’m willing to say I would bet money the administration pretty much wanted Amb. Stevens dead. After all, dead men tell no tales. Right? What else could possibly explain the complete disregarding of his strong and growing concerns? The administration was weapons/gun-running through Libya into Syria. That had to be protected as deeply as possible. All involved were expendable.
Final open thought in all of this from Glenn Reynolds @ Instapundit:
Report: Mills’ influence tainted review board. In 2012, I attended a dinner with Condi Rice in L.A. where she told us that these reviews were meticulous and unbiased. That was no doubt true when she was Secretary of State, but her confidence that the same would obtain under the Obama Administration is, I’m afraid, sadly typical of the GOP leadership’s lack of imagination, or maybe perception.
And even as Americans were dying in the attack, the State Department seemed more focused on trying to expunge an anti-Islamic video and appeasing the Libyan government than in trying to get aid to those at the diplomatic outpost and a neighboring CIA compound.
Mrs. Clinton personally joined a high-level video meeting the night of the attack and that gathering spent an extraordinary amount of time focused on the video, the lawmakers said. Of 11 action items emerging from that meeting, five of them related to the video, according to an email recounting the meeting, which the committee unearthed.
“What has also emerged is a picture of the State Department eating up valuable time by insisting that certain elements of the U.S. military respond to Libya in civilian clothes and that it not use vehicles with United States markings,” the lawmakers said. “We will never know exactly how long these conditions delayed the military response but that they were even a part of the discussion is troubling.”
Plus, the White House refuses Benghazi questions for Obama – Judge Andrew Napolitano sounds off … The weapons came from the Obama administration’s prior allotment of weaponry for overthrowing Gadaffi.