Republicans fault US military, Clinton response to Benghazi

Congressional report faulted the military for not providing required deployment for the US compound in Benghazi, State Department officials and the CIA for failing to properly evaluate the threat.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The US Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during a protest by an armed group

Congressional Republicans accused the US State Department of failing to protect four Americans killed in an attack on a US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012.

The panel on the Benghazi incident released an 800-page report that is not very different from previous investigations. While taking a partisan approach, the panel termed the incident as failure of Democratic administration, CIA and Pentagon.

A special congressional committee led by Republican Representative Trey Gowdy released the report on the culmination of two years since the incident. Gowday also addressed a press conference at Capitol Hill and highlighted procedural lapses.

The report faulted the military for not providing the required deployment for the US compound in Benghazi, State Department officials and the CIA for failing to properly evaluate the threat to US personnel on the ground, and the Pentagon for not being in position to aid the Americans under siege.

Clinton's campaign dismissed the committee's report, saying it had not found anything that had not been discovered by previous congressional probes. White House press secretary labeled the effort a "political exercise."

Josh Earnest

Democrats on the Benghazi committee issued their own report a day before Tuesday's release, accusing Republicans of conducting an overzealous investigation. According to a website maintained by committee Democrats, the investigation cost more than $7.1 million.

Interestingly, seven other congressional panels have also investigated the same incident. The total expenditures on these seven probes is not yet known.

The latest 800-page investigation report says Clinton and her staff didn’t cooperate and showed a ‘shameful’ lack of response to congressional investigators.

Professor Julian Zelizer a political analyst at Princeton University, called the report "old news" but said that would not stop Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump from trying to exploit the issue going forward.

Donald Trump has repeatedly charged that Clinton is personally responsible for the deaths of a US ambassador and three other Americans killed by militia groups.

Donald Trump

During election campaign in Denver, Colorado, Clinton said that it was crucial to "learn the right lessons" from the Benghazi tragedy. "No one has thought more about or lost more sleep over the lives that we lost - the four Americans - which was devastating," she said.

Trump waited until hours after the report's release to comment. "Benghazi is just another Hillary Clinton failure," he said on Twitter. "It just never seems to work the way it's supposed to with Clinton."

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Clinton's actions as secretary of state were "disqualifying."

"Hillary Clinton was in charge, knew the risks, and did nothing" to protect personnel on the ground in Libya," he said.

TRTWorld and agencies