Panel re­leases Beng­hazi re­port

Con­cludes White House mis­led pub­lic

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY DAVID SHERFIN­SKI

The House Se­lect Com­mit­tee on Beng­hazi re­cently filed its fi­nal re­port into the Con­gres­sional Record last week, end­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the Sept. 11, 2012, ter­ror­ist at­tack that be­came in­ter­twined with Hil­lary Clin­ton’s legacy at the State Depart­ment.

The re­port con­cluded that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion mis­led the pub­lic about the events sur­round­ing the deadly as­sault on a U.S. com­pound in Libya and did lit­tle to co­op­er­ate with the panel, with com­mit­tee mem­ber Rep. Mike Pom­peo, Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s choice to be the next CIA di­rec­tor, say­ing the group an­swered many ques­tions but could not do so “com­pletely.”

Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Repub­li­can and the panel chair­man, said the re­port is the “fi­nal, de­fin­i­tive ac­count­ing” of what hap­pened in Beng­hazi.

“The com­mit­tee is proud to have been able to tell the story of the in­ge­nu­ity and brav­ery dis­played by our na­tion’s he­roes in Beng­hazi, who banded to­gether to save one an­other, when no other help was ever on the way,” he said. “On be­half of the com­mit­tee, we thank all the wit­nesses who ap­peared and helped us in pro­vid­ing the de­fin­i­tive ac­count.”

In putting to­gether the ap­prox­i­mately 800-page re­port, the com­mit­tee in­ter­viewed more than 100 wit­nesses, in­clud­ing more than 80 who hadn’t faced ques­tions from Congress be­fore.

In a sep­a­rate state­ment within the re­port, Mr. Pom­peo, Kansas Repub­li­can, and Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Repub­li­can, said they found a “tragic fail­ure of lead­er­ship,” both in the run-up to and on the night of the at­tack.

They also found “an ad­min­is­tra­tion that, so blinded by pol­i­tics and its de­sire to win an elec­tion, dis­re­garded a ba­sic duty of gov­ern­ment: Tell peo­ple the truth.”

“Although we an­swered many ques­tions, we could not do so com­pletely,” they said.

The two con­gress­men said of­fi­cials at the State Depart­ment, in­clud­ing Mrs. Clin­ton, who was sec­re­tary of state at the time, learned al­most in real time that the as­sault was a ter­ror­ist at­tack, but with an elec­tion com­ing up chose first to pub­licly blame it on a protest over a U.S.-pro­duced, anti-Mus­lim video.

The at­tack claimed the lives of four Amer­i­cans: Am­bas­sador J. Christo­pher Stevens, State Depart­ment em­ployee Sean Smith, and se­cu­rity con­trac­tors Glen Do­herty and Ty­rone Woods.

Per­haps most no­tably, the panel prod­ded Mrs. Clin­ton into ac­knowl­edg­ing the ex­is­tence of her se­cret email server in March 2015 — an is­sue that haunted her pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

Mean­while, Rep. Eli­jah E. Cummings of Mary­land, the rank­ing Demo­crat on the panel, said history will view the se­lect com­mit­tee as a prime ex­am­ple of how not to con­duct a con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tion, say­ing it goes down as “one of the long­est, least pro­duc­tive, and most par­ti­san tax­payer-funded in­ves­ti­ga­tions in history.”

“Repub­li­cans voted on this par­ti­san re­port five months ago, but de­layed fil­ing it and com­plet­ing the com­mit­tee un­til af­ter the elec­tion,” Mr. Cummings said. “Repub­li­cans promised a process that was fair and bi­par­ti­san, but the Amer­i­can peo­ple got ex­actly the op­po­site.”

Mr. Gowdy and con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans con­sis­tently de­fended the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, say­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion re­buffed their re­quests for in­for­ma­tion and that it was worth ex­am­in­ing the run-up, the event it­self, and the af­ter­math in or­der to dis­cover new ground missed by other con­gres­sional in­quiries.

Democrats had ap­proved their own re­port in June say­ing that the ev­i­dence ob­tained by the se­lect com­mit­tee con­firmed core find­ings from other in­ves­ti­ga­tions, while al­low­ing that the panel ac­quired ad­di­tional con­tex­tual de­tails about the at­tack.

They also said the ex­er­cise was a thinly-veiled at­tempt at un­der­min­ing Mrs. Clin­ton’s can­di­dacy, point­ing to House Ma­jor­ity Leader Kevin McCarthy’s seem­ing to link the com­mit­tee to Mrs. Clin­ton’s fad­ing poll num­bers in a Fox News ap­pear­ance last year.

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