By Miriam Raftery
November 22, 2014 (Washington D.C.)—A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has resulted in publication of a report on November 21st. That report concludes that accusations made by Republican leaders over terrorist attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya are untrue. The committee found no wrongdoing by any administration officials, and it concluded that the CIA and U.S. military acted appropriately before, during and after the Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans.
The following bullet points are direct quotes from the committee’s conclusions:
- The CIA ensured sufficient security for CIA facilities in Benghazi and, without a requirement to do so, ably and bravely assisted the State Department on the night of the attacks. Their actions saved lives.
- Appropriate U.S. personnel made reasonable tactical decisions that night, and the Committee found no evidence that there was either a stand-down order or a denial of available air support.
- There was no intelligence failure prior to the attacks.
- A mixed group of individuals, including those affiliated with Al-Qa’ida, participated in the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, although the committee finds that the intelligence was and remains conflicting about the identities, affiliations, and motivations of the attackers.
- The Committee found no evidence that any officer was intimidated, wrongly forced to sign a nondisclosure agreement or otherwise kept from speaking to Congress…The Committee also found no evidence that the CIA conducted unauthorized activities in Benghazi and no evidence that the IC shipped arms to Syria.
The investigation did find that security was overwhelmed by the attackers at the State Department facility where two diplomats were killed.
The Committee’s investigation found that contradictory intelligence reports led to the CIA’s initial incorrect assessment that the attacks arose out of a protest in Benghazi. The CIA corrected its initial assessment after closed caption television footage became available a week after the September 11, 2012 attacks—two days after then-Ambassador Susan Rice spoke publicly on the matter, and after FBI interviews with officials on the ground in Libya were published September 22. Mistakes in talking points provided to Rice were due to conflicting intelligence from multiple agencies, based on information available at the time—not due to any errors made by Rice or the Obama administration.
The report confirms many findings of six prior investigation by Congressional committees and a panel appointed by the State Department.
Associated Press and others have reported that the Intelligence committee’s report firmly “debunks” numerous alse claims by Republican leaders who had sought to discredit the Obama administration and then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton (a likely presidential candidate) over their handling of the attacks. Democrats have long contended that the repeated Republican-led probes were politically motiviated, yet now the Republican-controlled Intelligence Committee has failed to find merit to the allegations raised.
As for accountability over the attacks, a Libyan militant extremist, Ahmed Abu Khatalia, was captured in Libya and extradited to the U.S., where he will stand trial on murder charges in the Benghazi killings.
The House Intelligence committee report, made after two years of intensive investigation, states in the conclusion that it is meant to serve as “the definitive House statement on the intelligence community’s activities before, during, and after” the Benghazi attacks.