Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday unveiled a report on last’s year attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that blames then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for lapses in security.
The 46-page report by the five committees of jurisdiction concludes that reductions in security levels prior to the attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were approved at the highest levels of the State Department, including by Clinton herself.
The report also concludes that talking points from the intelligence community were altered to protect the State Department from criticism of inadequate security levels.
After the attacks, the Administration perpetuated a deliberately misleading and incomplete narrative that the violence grew out of a demonstration caused by a YouTube video. The Administration consciously decided not to discuss extremist involvement or previous attacks against Western interests in Benghazi.
The U.S. government immediately had information that the attacks were conducted by al-Qa’ida-affiliated terrorists, yet Administration officials downplayed those connections, and focused on the idea that provocation for violence resulted from a YouTube video.
Contrary to Administration rhetoric, the talking points were not edited to protect classified information. Concern for classified information is never mentioned in email traffic among senior Administration officials.
Repeated requests for additional security were denied at the highest levels of the State Department.
The report suggests that the President, as Commander-in-Chief, failed to proactively anticipate the significance of September 11 and provide the Department of Defense with the authority to launch offensive operations beyond self-defense.
Defense Department assets were correctlypositioned for the general threat across the region, but the assets were not authorized at an alert posture to launch offensive operations beyond self-defense, and were provided no notice to defend diplomatic facilities.
For example, an April 2012 State Department cable bearing Secretary Hillary Clinton’s signature acknowledged then-Ambassador Cretz’s formal request for additional security assets but ordered the withdrawal of security elements to proceed as planned.
But on January 23, 2013 Secretary Clinton testified that security requests had not been brought to her attention.