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GOP blasted for 'punting' on Benghazi investigation

Benghazi, Libya, Sept. 11, 2012

NEW YORK – U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., is being criticized for failing to blame President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton enough in the 800-page final majority report of the Benghazi Select Committee he chaired.

The committee looked into the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, in a terror attack on U.S. facilities – just a few weeks prior to an election in which Obama had been campaigning on the claim that al-Qaida was in retreat.

Conservative critics were quick to speculate that Gowdy may have risked his career allowing to be published a majority report described as a “whitewash” that allowed Democrats to press claims the GOP had wasted millions of taxpayer dollars producing nothing that had not been previously reported.

“I simply ask the American people to read this report for themselves, look at the evidence we have collected, and reach their own conclusions,” Gowdy insisted at a press conference held by the GOP members of the committee, confirming the unwillingness of the GOP majority to place blame on the Obama administration, either president or secretary of state, over the Benghazi terrorist attack.

Jordan and Pompeo speak out

As WND reported, two Republican members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued a separate report in which they concluded both Clinton and Obama lied and covered up to protect themselves politically from voter resentment over the terror attack that killed Stevens and the others.

While not criticizing Gowdy or the majority report directly, Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., submitted their own statement, identified as “Additional Views,” in an obvious attempt to correct what the two GOP congressmen saw as a failure of the majority report to draw conclusions critical of Obama and Clinton in an election year.

“Officials at the State Department, including Secretary Clinton, learned almost in real time that the attack in Benghazi was a terrorist attack,” wrote Jordan and Pompeo in their 51-page separate opinion that charged Obama and Clinton with what amounts to dereliction of duty for their failure to provide sufficient security at Benghazi, their refusal to deploy any military resources that could have arrived in time to launch a rescue mission, and their political decision to characterize the event as a protest over an anti-Islam Internet video when real-time intelligence clearly established the attack was a terrorist attack.

Gowdy’s majority report ‘a disgrace’

Brent Bozell, president of the Washington-based Media Research Center, was quick to object to the report, arguing Gowdy’s failure to produce a majority report as strong as the separate opinion filed by Jordan and Pompeo reflected the extent to which the GOP establishment leadership in Washington was willing to cave into pressure from the Obama White House.

“I am stunned by the GOP’s unwillingness to accomplish anything in Congress, which now extends to resolving investigations,” Bozell said in a statement released to the press after the publication of the select committee’s final majority report.

“Trey Gowdy’s continued admonition that it’s up to the American people to reach their own conclusions about Benghazi is an obfuscation,” Bozell continued. “It was up to him to get to the truth, and he punted.”

Bozell compared Gowdy’s failure to the failure of the GOP majority in Congress to take action against the IRS despite disclosures the IRS had complied with Obama administration wishes to delay or deny tea party applicants 501(c) tax-exempt status in a politically discriminatory fashion.

“Just as with the IRS investigation, the Republicans lacked the fortitude to confront those responsible,” Bozell continued. “Who denied the multiple requests for additional security for the compound? No answer. Who is being held responsible for the deaths of these men? No answer. Why did this administration deliberately lie about the video? No answer.”

Clearly, Bozell argued, the failure of the Obama administration to protect or save the four Americans in the organized terror attack by Islamists cried out for the identification and punishment of the Obama administration officials, including Clinton, who were responsible for the failure.

“Should the commander-in-chief be held responsible for the multiple failures of the military?” Bozell asked. “Should the secretary of state be held responsible for the disastrous consequences of State Department decisions?

“Not according to this report,” he concluded. “They wouldn’t even state that Hillary Clinton lied about the video though her own emails, read by committee members, prove she had! But they did blame a ‘rusty bureaucratic process.’ It doesn’t get more Washington than that. Everyone involved in this charade disgraced himself.”

Gowdy ‘sold out’

The danger Gowdy faces, given the sharp reaction of well-respected conservative media analysts such as Bozell, is that core constituencies within the GOP will conclude Gowdy has “sold out” to Washington-based GOP leaders including former House Speaker John Boehner, current House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, by being unwilling to challenge Obama supporters, including Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the ranking member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

As WND reported just hours after the final majority report was released, the five Democrats on the House Select Committee on Benghazi, along with ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, put out a stern statement against Gowdy, saying the former prosecutor who chaired the panel mishandled the entire investigation.

“In our opinion, Chairman Gowdy has been conducting this investigation like an overzealous prosecutor desperately trying to land a front-page conviction rather than a neutral judge of facts seeking to improve the security of our diplomatic corps,” the Democrats claimed in a letter reported by the Hill.

On Monday, the Democrats on the Benghazi select committee captured headlines by releasing a minority report exonerating Clinton. They charged the committee was formed by Republicans only to keep the former secretary of state from winning the White House.

On Jan. 18, 2015, WND reported that in exclusive interviews conducted with 11 of the 17 members of the Citizens Commission on Benghazi, which included military leaders, Special Forces operatives, former CIA officers, experts in international terrorism and others, members were enthusiastic to work with Gowdy and the select committee – hopeful at that time that then House Speaker Boehner was serious about the investigation. But the members of the CCB, speaking on their own behalf and not as spokesmen for the commission, expressed their concerns, wanting to make sure the Gowdy investigation is not compromised by elements within the GOP.

In that article, WND reported it was a lack of trust in the congressional investigation of Benghazi that prompted the formation of the CCB in 2013. The founding members of the CCB were U.S Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, U.S. Navy four-star Adm. James Lyons, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney (all retired) and Accuracy in Media Editor Roger Aronoff.

Vallely told WND that he believes Gowdy “has received much pressure not to get to the truth, and we are now coming to the conclusion that there is no longer any intention in Washington, by the leadership of both the Democratic and Republican Parties, to get to the truth.”

“An honest investigation into Benghazi would prove treasonous acts at the very top of the White House and the State Department, and a continuing cover-up in Congress that now involves the Republican leadership and especially House Speaker John Boehner,” Vallely said.