House Republicans on Tuesday released their long-awaited report on the fatal Benghazi attacks, charging President Obama, House Democrats and Hillary Clinton's State Department of stonewalling and claiming that Clinton's team did nothing to help the Americans under attack.
The GOP report comes a day after Democrats on the House Select Committee on Benghazi released their report Monday that claimed the four killed in Benghazi, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were sitting ducks and that nothing could be done to help them. The GOP dismissed the report.
The GOP takes a different view, as seen in the supplemental report from panel members Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. The report was provided to Secrets in advance of the full panel's report release.
"Despite its claims, we saw no evidence that the administration held a sincere interest in helping the committee find the truth about Benghazi. There is a time for politics and a time to set politics aside. A national tragedy is one of those times when as a nation we should join together to find the truth. That did not happen here," said the 51-page supplemental report.
Jordan is a top House conservative leader and Pompeo is a West Point and Harvard University Law School grad.
"What we did find was a tragic failure of leadership — in the run up to the attack and the night of — and an administration that, so blinded by politics and its desire to win an election, disregarded a basic duty of government: Tell the people the truth. And for those reasons Benghazi is, and always will be, an American tragedy," it concluded.
It strongly pushed back on administration claims that Clinton and her team did everything to help those under attack at the U.S. embassy and CIA facility on Sept. 11, 2012, just weeks before the presidential election.
"Those in Washington decided that once the initial attack at the State compound had ended and our men moved to the Annex, the enemy had retreated as well. For those fighting for their lives in Benghazi that night, however, it was one long battle for survival. But the terrorists did not retreat. This view from Washington that the fight had ended is a lapse in judgment that may well haunt our nation for years to come. At the same time Secretary Clinton appears to have concluded that the attack was over, the men on the ground knew better. In the end, two men died from smoke inhalation at the State Department's compound during an initial attack involving dozens of extremists. Two more died from mortar fire at the end of a continuous, hours-long siege by approximately a hundred heavily armed and highly trained fighters at the CIA Annex," said the report.
It provides a timeline of the crisis, and counters Democratic claims that there was nothing the military could have done to save those who were killed.
"We are now convinced, contrary to the administration's public claim that the military did not have time to get to Benghazi, that the administration never launched men or machines to help directly in the fight. That is very different from what we have been told to date. And the evidence is compelling," said the Pompeo-Jordan report.
Maybe worse, said the report, was Clinton's State Department being obsessed with issues other than saving its diplomats.
From the report:
"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. Both restrictions appear to have been concessions to the Libyan government that did not want an identifiable U.S. military presence on the streets of Libya. 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.
"And at the same time the State Department appeared to waste time on what our soldiers would wear, it also appeared to waste time and focus on the YouTube video that the administration would later blame, falsely, for the attack. It has emerged that during an emergency call at 7:30 p.m. on the night of the attack involving Secretary Clinton and other high-level officials from the Department of Defense, State Department, and CIA that a full five of the eleven action items from the meeting related to the video."
In his statement issued Tuesday morning, Pompeo added, "Before, during and after the attacks of September 11th, 2012 in Benghazi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put politics ahead of people, pulling out all the stops to cover up the fact that she didn't act when American lives were on the line – focusing more on spin and media narrative before an election than securing American lives under attack by terrorists."
The Pompeo-Jordan report, written as "additional views" to the main GOP report, provided this summary:
— Secretary Clinton did not make every effort to ensure the Americans being sent to Libya were safe, a project she has full ownership of from start to finish. They were inadequately protected and their requests for help fell on deaf ears.
— Following the attack, the administration misled the public about the events of that night in Benghazi. The State Department and Secretary Clinton learned quickly that this was a terrorist attack, but rather than be square with the American people and risk losing an election, they opted to blame a video‐inspired protest that never happened.
— Our government did not move heaven and earth to rescue our people. The American people expect that our leaders will do whatever is necessary to save our people when things go wrong. We now know the U.S. military never reached Benghazi and the government never directed men or machines to enter the fight there.
— The administration broke its promise to bring those responsible to justice. Now four years after the attack, only one person has been arrested and was brought to America before proper interrogation took place.
— The administration never had a sincere interest in helping the Committee and working with us to find the truth. It was politics, deceit and deception.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org