Three Republicans who served on the House Select Committee on Benghazi, along with the committee's chairman, on Wednesday hit back at complaints that surfaced about the group's assessment of the Sept. 12, 2012 terrorist attacks that left four dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, saying that the report does shed new light on how then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton handled the incident.
"We learned that no military assets had taken off before the attack was over," Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who along with Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo wrote a summary of the report, told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" program
"What did start before the attack was over was the political spin."
At 10:08 p.m. the night of the attacks, when Stevens, IT expert Sean Smith, and security officers Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were fighting for their lives, Clinton was making a statement blaming an anti-Muhammad video on the attacks.
"We know that was misleading and false because an hour later she tells her daughter terrorists killed our people and the next day she tells the Egyptian prime minister that the film had nothing to do with it, it was a planned attack, not a protest," said Jordan.
"The spin started right away before the attack is over, but help getting to our folks didn't. That's why Mike and I wrote our report where we talked about [how] politics drove this from the get-go for this administration and that's something that shouldn't happen in our country."
Pompeo agreed, saying that the Obama administration was worried about the "sensitivities of the Libyan government" at the same time more than 30 people were fighting for their lives in Benghazi.
"The fact of it is she wanted to be the hero going into Libya, but after this happened she wanted to wash her hands of it and blame it on somebody else," said Pompeo. "If you can't fix the problem, fix the blame. That's certainly what their intention was."
Meanwhile, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., who was also on the committee, said that the committee was not able to get information from the White House about whether there was covert action going on involving giving arms to the Libyan people.
"We've asked all the people that were on the ground there if they saw any weapons or hostages and they all said no, and they had access to every part of that annex," he said.
Later in the morning, Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy appeared in the network's "America's Newsroom"
program, and also defended his committee and its work, saying the White House's criticism that the investigation was politically motivated was "dead wrong."
"If you look at the evidence that was available to them on the night of September 11, 2012, the eyewitnesses, the accounts on the ground of the fighting, there was not a single person in Libya who mentioned a protest and the video was a nonevent in Libya, so all that information was available to them before the secretary of state made her statement."
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