The Implications of the Benghazi Report, Part I

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The committee led by Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) released Tuesday (28 June 2016) its reports on the attack at Benghazi that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Three groups within the committee offered separate reports. The Republican majority released its report. The Democrat minority released its report the day previously. Two Republican congressman released their own report. This latter report stands out as the one that heaps the most discredit on the executive branch under Obama and the State Department under Hillary Clinton for their actions or inactions. The Republican majority report stands in the middle. The Democrat minority report waves a finger.

Unless stated otherwise, this post will discuss the majority report.

Even the Media offer different conclusions about the significance of this majority report. The Washington Post and The New York Times offered almost identical headlines that the report “Finds No New Evidence”. Fox News declared that the report “Slams Administration Response”. Meanwhile, NBC News seemed to take a position somewhere between those two poles when it said “House Republican Report Sheds New Light On Benghazi Attack”.

For convenience, I will base what I write in Part 1 of this post on The Washington Post report. In Part 2, I will use the NBC News report as my foundation.

Since we are in the midst of a presidential election, I will highlight those points that relate to it. Draw your own conclusions. While both parties bear some responsibility for the politicization of the investigation, it is impossible to avoid relating the investigation to Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton. She was the Secretary of State during the tragedy and to a great extent she represents what would be a continuation of the Obama administration if she were to win election.

Let’s examine first what The Washington Post considered the five most damning aspects of the majority report:

1. The State Department failed to protect our diplomats in Libya.

2. The CIA misread how dangerous the situation was in Libya.

3. The Defense Department failed to rescue Americans in time.

4. The Obama Administration stonewalled the investigation.

5. Hillary Clinton’s former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, influenced the State Department’s review of its performance in the Benghazi tragedy.

Points 1 and 5 relate directly to Hillary Clinton’s competence and arrogation of power. Is Hillary Clinton competent if she cannot and does not protect American diplomats? Why did she bungle Benghazi and cost the ambassador and three others their lives? The majority report does not blame Clinton by name. However, if the buck stops with Hillary Clinton, as it should with all leaders, the blame for those deaths is hers. Further, by having her chief of staff make “suggestions” (the report says the State Department “was consistently influenced by” Hillary Clinton’s former chief of staff) about how the State Department’s review would look, Hillary Clinton made sure she was seen in the best and brightest possible light, even if the facts cast a rather dark shadow over her.

Do the facts cast a dark shadow over her? The Washington Post reports (emphasis mine) “that requests for more security in Benghazi leading up to the attack went unheard or were refused.” How did Hillary Clinton’s State Department allow requests from her ambassador for more security to go unheard? Stevens was an ambassador in a Muslim country Hillary Clinton knew or should have known was volatile and prone to terrorism. Why would Hillary Clinton’s State Department turn a deaf ear to such a logical, needful precaution? Worse, why would her State Department refuse such a request?

Whatever mechanism Hillary Clinton employed to handle such requests ended up costing lives. She failed.

It gets worse. The majority report revealed the State Department interfered with the deployment of forces when it pushed for those forces to launch their mission without their uniforms. According to one witness, Marines changed into and out of their uniforms/alternate clothes four times.

Think about that. United States forces prepare for an emergency, life-saving deployment to Benghazi, but they have to stop and change four times because the State Department does not want them to wear the uniform of the United States Marines, which they are, and of which they, and we, are proud. Would you want police or firefighters to change the clothes they were wearing four times before they went to rescue you from a home invasion or a fire? What does that say about the Obama administration’s priorities? What does that say about Hillary Clinton’s and the State Department’s priorities? What does that say about their competence, their ability to protect Americans?

The facts do cast a very dark shadow over Hillary Clinton and her State Department.

The other points relate to Hillary Clinton, though indirectly so. Still, she was part of an administration that has been accused of fudging intelligence reports and analyses so that they conform to the groupthink that prevails under Obama and which Hillary Clinton shares: No defect exists in Muslim religion and culture. They are all peaceful! The problem is us! When we act like Americans, or identify as Americans, we provoke them to hatred and bloodshed! So delay the mission, toss those American uniforms, and don’t do anything to provoke those peaceful Muslims, even though the very reason you are being deployed is to respond to their pre-existing attack on our diplomatic compound!

It fascinates me to read that in an interview the CIA chief at the secret Benghazi facility called “The Annex” cited, as far as I know, one error with the movie about the attack, 13 Hours (in which David Costabile plays the CIA chief). He claimed he never ordered anyone to “stand down” when the diplomatic compound at Benghazi came under attack. As far as I know, the station chief does not dispute any other depiction in the movie. Producer Michael Bay replied that he placed those words in the movie to make sure both sides were heard. That suggests that Tyrone Woods, who died in the attack, relayed to his fellow defenders that the CIA chief had told him to stand down out of earshot of anyone else. In the movie, Woods and his brave but small cadre of defenders later act contrary to that order to save their fellow Americans.

Do Obama and Hillary Clinton impose a deadly groupthink that sabotages American lives and interests?

Consider the accusation (in a discrete report that had nothing to do with Benghazi), some would call it revelation, that the CIA under Obama has been fudging its analyses. In fact, at the least, the CIA had been misreading the situation in Libya for awhile. Not only does the CIA, apparently, fail to see the mallet to the face coming towards the Americans in Benghazi after months of violence and threats, it actually allows all kinds of weapons left over from the fall of Muammar Ghadafi to find their way into the hands of terrorists. Our government was actually working with a known terrorist and helping that to happen!

Readers can find a list of the threats and violence that led up to the Benghazi attack through this link:

8 major warnings before Benghazi terrorist attacks

When you get to the page, scroll down after the article, and the advertisement for a book, to the comments. You will find a useful list of the previous violence and threats in Benghazi. Many of those individual events can be found at other sources on the Internet, but the compilation here is quite good.

It is very hard for us to believe that our own State Department, executive administration, and intelligence agency could bungle security for the sake of their groupthink, then try to cover it up afterward. Yet the compilation provides that unflattering and unforgiving characterization of how the State Department under Hillary Clinton and our chief intelligence agency under Obama missed the mark – widely – in discerning, handling, and evaluating accurately the facts right in front of them, and how peremptorily they rejected the insights of professional security analysts and their own ambassador, people who actually experienced what was going on in Tripoli and Benghazi, because their assessments did not agree with the groupthink position.

How could anyone conclude otherwise?

The terrorists threatened to attack the Red Cross. They did, and the Red Cross pulled out of Libya. They threatened to attack the British. They did, with an RPG. The British pulled out. They threatened to harm Ambassador Stevens. We didn’t listen. Our leaders did not want to hear. The terrorists attacked Mr. Stevens all the same, and he died. As the compilation will show readers, many other facts were ignored as well, including an al-Qaeda rally in Benghazi in June and a direct threat to kill Americans in Libya from al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri the day before the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack. We had plenty of time to evacuate Stevens and the other Americans or to send our Marines to protect them.

If all of that smacks of incompetence at best, what must citizens think of the explanation by Hillary Clinton’s State Department and Obama’s administration that a film which made fun of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, caused a spontaneous attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi?

Remember that our actual embassy was in Tripoli. No riots, protests, or attacks motivated by the film, or any other thing, occurred there. In fact, other than pre-existing conflicts, no other such attacks occurred anywhere else in the world!

Hillary Clinton’s explanation is a stunning lie. It is a fabrication cooked up by someone in the State Department or the intelligence community after underlings searched a database or the Internet for something anti-Islamic. She deliberately proffered the fabrication to an American public – and to the relatives of the victims – because she thinks them gullible or stupid or both, or unfit to receive the truth, which is that she and the administration hung Ambassador Stevens and the other Americans out to dry for the sake of their groupthink.

Saving American lives and holding to principles and policies that put first the citizens you are serving is not and should never be partisan. Shameful Hillary Clinton does not deserve blame because a bunch of partisan congressmen say she does. She deserves blame because that’s what the facts say. She deserves blame because Americans died on her watch and she could have prevented it.

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