The Associated Press reported on Friday that the House Intelligence Committee’s two-year investigation into what happened in Benghazi in 2012 found that the CIA and the military had acted properly when responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound there. The committee asserted that there was no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees. According to Lauren French (Politico), the committee dismissed “a number of the most persistent myths about the 2012 terrorist attacks at a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi.”
French said the committee “found the U.S. government didn’t fail to send assistance to the Americans under siege by Islamic militants and there was no ‘stand down order’ from the State Department.” She said that the committee also dismissed the notion that there was an “intelligence failure” that allowed the attacks to occur. French added, though, that the committee, chaired by Republican Chairman Mike Rogers of Michigan, ruled some “individuals involved with Al Qaeda were involved with the attacks and Abu Sufian bin Qumu, a Libyan national, ‘probably played some role’ in the attacks.” She noted that Qumu had been a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay before he was transferred to Libya in 2001.
The AP said that the investigation report debunked “a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies…” Evidently, there had been no delay “in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.”
Rogers and Maryland Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the committee said, “We spent thousands of hours asking questions, poring over documents, reviewing intelligence assessments, reading cables and emails, and held a total of 20 Committee events and hearings. We conducted detailed interviews with senior intelligence officials from Benghazi and Tripoli as well as eight security personnel on the ground in Benghazi that night. Based on the testimony and the documents we reviewed, we concluded that all the CIA officers in Benghazi were heroes. Their actions saved lives.”
But…it appears that this investigation won’t be the end of the House delving into the attacks on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi. French said that the House established a select committee to investigate the attacks earlier this year. She said that a “spokesperson for the panel said on Friday that Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) would incorporate the Intel Committee’s findings into the Benghazi panel’s work.”
The spokesman was quoted a s saying, “It will aid the Select Committee’s comprehensive investigation to determine the full facts of what happened in Benghazi, Libya before, during and after the attack and contribute toward our final, definitive accounting of the attack on behalf of Congress.”
French added that the House Intelligence Committee’s report will likely “spur criticism against the State Department over the shape of its security protocols as the agency knew it was unprepared to defend the outpost in case of a well-organized and heavily armed attack – a high probability in highly volatile region.”
The report said State Department agents felt “ill-equipped and ill-trained to contend with the threat environment in Benghazi.”
The AP said that many of the committee’s findings “echo those of six previous investigations by various congressional committees and a State Department panel.”
It was noted by some members of the media that the House Intelligence Committee report was released “with little fanfare” on the Friday before Thanksgiving week.