PASADENA, Calif., June 28, 2016 — Republicans released their long-awaited report on the findings from their Benghazi investigation on Tuesday. The report confirmed many of the accusations and criticisms leveled against the Obama Administration and its handling of events in 2012 in Benghazi.
- Ambassador Stevens did ask for more security, and his requests were ignored.
- Help was not sent in time; no wheels were moving toward Benghazi when Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
- There was no basis to believe a YouTube video was a reason for the attack, even though then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the victims’ families that it was.
Major media coverage included little of this. Commentators like Dana Bash, CNN’s chief political correspondent, generally concluded that the main takeaway was that the report turned up nothing new.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House committee that investigated Benghazi, debunked that conclusion in his press conference.
Within moments of the report’s release, before it was physically possible for her to have read all 800 pages, Bash seemed to be running damage control for Hillary Clinton.
The New York Times did the same with a factually inaccurate piece on the report. The Times writer dismissed the importance of the committee’s findings while repeating the debunked claim made by then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, as well as by Clinton, that Stevens and the others “were killed at the main American diplomatic compound in Benghazi by a mob of militia fighters who had been incited by an American-made video deriding the Prophet Muhammad.”
Clinton’s response was predicable: “It’s time to move on.” The families of the victims may find that harder to do than she does. Clinton complained about the cost of the investigation, $7 million, an amount probably not much more than better positioning and deploying forces for a rescue mission would have cost.
While the report does not lay the blame for Benghazi directly on Clinton, it makes clear that ineptitude at the CIA, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State were the cause of the tragedy, and Clinton was the responsible official at State.
- Clinton’s State Department was responsible for receiving and ignoring the security concerns of Ambassador Stevens.
- Clinton’s State Department was responsible for delays and the ultimate failure to send help during the 13-hour attack on the consulate.
- Clinton’s State Department deflected responsibility by telling and retelling the lie that the attack was sparked by a YouTube video.
Those points are indisputable, yet the media insist that the lack of a “smoking gun” means Clinton did nothing wrong, much as her supporters insist that the lack of an indictment means that she is honest and trustworthy.
“Unindicted” is the new standard of integrity and competence for Democratic candidates.
The smoking gun might have been found had Clinton not kept her email on her own server and then been given the opportunity to delete email messages before allowing investigators to peruse them. The FBI continues to investigate the email issue, one of the most potentially explosive revelations to come out of the committee’s investigation.
Democrats on the committee stonewalled the investigation at every turn, and the Obama Administration prevented Republicans from questioning everyone they wanted in their investigation.
In the end, four Americans died in Benghazi. Secretary of State Clinton lied to their families, wondered “what difference does it make,” and told the world to move on when the report of her department’s shortcomings was released. If none of this rises to the level of criminality, it doesn’t speak well for Clinton’s competence, honesty, compassion, or her ability to take responsibility for her actions.
We might expect glib callousness from a career politician like Clinton, but we might also expect journalists—people like Dana Bash—to take passing interest in the lack of accountability for this type of government incompetence.