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Benghazi Report: Clinton Should Have Been Aware of Risks

Benghazi Report: Clinton Should Have Been Aware of Risks

Tuesday, 28 June 2016 09:35 AM

Hillary Clinton should have recognized that extremists posed a risk to U.S. officials in Libya before the September 2012 attacks in Benghazi, according to a politically charged U.S. House Republican report released less than a month before the Democratic National Convention.

The intelligence available suggested that an attack was possible and Clinton, then secretary of state, and a top aide, Patrick Kennedy, should have realized the risks posed to the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, according to early excerpts of the report Tuesday by a committee that has been looking into the Obama administration’s handling of the incident.

“It is not clear what additional intelligence would have satisfied either Kennedy or the secretary in understanding the Benghazi mission compound was at risk -- short of an attack,” CNN cites the Select Committee on Benghazi report as saying. 

The Benghazi panel was created in May 2014 to investigate attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound and a CIA outpost on Sept. 11, 2012, which killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. But it’s been beset by partisan accusations that House Republicans were using their political positions to spend two years and $7 million in taxpayer money to attack their political foes. Clinton is now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, and the episode continues to echo as an issue in her campaign.

The committee plans to issue its full final report Tuesday. Committee members led by Chairman Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican, will hold a news conference 10 a.m. in Washington.

Democrats’ Response

The report is sure to rekindle Republican accusations and talk in the remaining months of the presidential race that Clinton is to blame for security lapses leading to the deadly attack. Democrats on the committee say that Clinton did nothing improper. They released their own findings Monday saying that they expected the final report to be a politically motivated attack on Clinton.

The Democratic report accuses Gowdy of conducting the investigation “like an overzealous prosecutor desperately trying to land a front-page conviction rather than a neutral judge of facts seeking to improve the security of our diplomatic corps.”

“Far from honoring the four brave Americans who died, the Benghazi Committee has been a partisan sham since its start,” Brian Fallon, national spokesman for the Clinton campaign, wrote in a tweet.

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said in a June 22 speech that Stevens “was left helpless to die as Hillary Clinton soundly slept in her bed.” The attack actually unfolded during the daytime and early evening in the U.S., and Clinton was involved in discussing how the U.S. could respond.

The 800-page Benghazi Committee report examines whether the Obama administration misled the public about the events in Benghazi and fully cooperated with congressional investigators. It is also likely to discuss whether Clinton should be held personally accountable for inadequate security at the outposts and why the administration didn’t dispatch a force to Benghazi to help. The Defense Department has maintained that emergency aid was too far away to arrive on time.

‘Remains Unclear’

“It remains unclear why a State Department presence in Benghazi was so important,” Republican committee members Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mike Pompeo of Kansas wrote in a separate "Additional Views" analysis that was provided to Bloomberg.

“No matter how important a presence was -- to Secretary Clinton, to the State Department, to the United States -- it should have become very clear that the risks of staying without more security outweighed any possible benefit.”

Clinton was even planning her own trip to Benghazi for October 2012 before the attacks occurred, Jordan and Pompeo said in their separate paper, saying that was how much she was invested in Benghazi.

As for actions taken during the attacks, Jordan and Pompeo’s report adds, "We cannot say with certainty that our nation’s leaders did not move heaven and earth to send military help with the urgency that those Americans deserved. We will never know if a more vigorous, comprehensive and urgent response could have saved lives." 

Jordan and Pompeo say the committee’s investigation also shows the Obama administration -- with the 2012 presidential election less than two months away -- intentionally sought to mislead the American public the attacks were inspired by a video-inspired protest.

Nine Investigations

The Benghazi committee’s probe is one of eight that Congress has conducted into the incident in addition to an Accountability Board investigation that Clinton herself set up after the attack.

Previous investigations have criticized the State Department for inadequate security at the diplomatic facility in Benghazi and intelligence sharing flaws before the attack, but largely place the blame further down the chain than Clinton. The House Intelligence Committee in 2014 rejected the idea of a cover-up by the Obama administration.

Panel Republicans have responded to criticism of their work by saying they have looked at issues that go far beyond Clinton and her actions.

“This is not about one person. This investigation is about the four brave Americans we lost in Libya,” committee spokesman Matt Wolking said in a statement Monday. “We look forward to revealing the new information we have uncovered to the families and the American people.”

The State Department issued a statement, noting, "The essential facts surrounding the 2012 attacks in Benghazi have been known for some time." and that, "We have made great progress towards making our posts safer since 2012."

The Department said it provided over 50 current and former employees for interviews and over 100,000 pages of documents to the committee.


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Hillary Clinton should have recognized that extremists posed a risk to U.S. officials in Libya before the September 2012 attacks in Benghazi, according to a politically charged U.S. House Republican report released less than a month before the Democratic National...
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Tuesday, 28 June 2016 09:35 AM
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