It’s now safe to invite your crazy conspiracy-theorist uncle for Thanksgiving dinner. There will be no BENGHAZI! talk around the table.
Late Friday, as many were heading out for the holiday week, the GOP-dominated House Intelligence Committee quietly announced what several other investigations had found: There was no wrongdoing by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the U.S. military or other high government officials in the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the deaths of four Americans.
“In summary, the committee first concludes that the CIA ensured sufficient security for CIA facilities and, without a requirement to do so, ably and bravely assisted the State Department on the night of the attacks,” the report (pdf) says.
In particular, the report cleared Susan Rice, now President Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor, from charges she lied on Sunday talk shows about the attacks being caused by a video offensive to Muslims. Rice was working from the intelligence at the time, some of which turned out to be faulty. The conservative furor after her statements caused her to lose a probable nomination to be Secretary of State.
“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,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan), the committee’s chairman, and Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the ranking Democrat, said in a joint statement.
Some of the charges from the right about the attacks included that the CIA had been told to “stand down,” that a military rescue was rejected and that the administration intentionally downplayed the role of al-Qaeda in the attack.
“It’s my hope that this report will put to rest many of the questions that have been asked and answered yet again, and that the Benghazi Select Committee will accept these findings and instead focus its attention on the State Department’s progress in securing our facilities around the world and standing up our fast response capabilities,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California), who is on the intelligence committee, as well as the Benghazi select panel that is still looking into the attacks.
U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, and two CIA contractors, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty, died in the attacks.
To Learn More:
House Intel Panel Debunks Many Benghazi Theories (by Ken Dilanian, Associated Press)
Investigative Report on Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Facilities in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11-12, 2012 (pdf) (House Intelligence Committee) (pdf)
Bipartisan Senate Report Says Benghazi Attacks were Preventable, Blames CIA Secrecy and State Dept. (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)