NEW YORK – On Tuesday, two Republican members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued a separate report in which they concluded Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama lied and covered up to protect themselves politically from voter resentment over the terror attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi.
“Officials at the State Department, including Secretary Clinton, learned almost in real time that the attack in Benghazi was a terrorist attack,” wrote Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., in a report supplementing the majority report.
WND reported yesterday the committee Democrats minority report exonerated Clinton, charging the committee was formed by Republicans only to keep the former secretary of state from winning the White House.
But Jordan and Pompeo write that in 2012, with the presidential election just 56 days away, “rather than tell the American people the truth and increase the risk of losing an election, the administration told one story privately and a different story publicly.”
“They publicly blamed the deaths on a video-inspired protest they knew had never occurred,” the lawmakers said.
The lawmakers charge Clinton with “dereliction of duty” for ordering Ambassador Chris Stevens to Benghazi while failing to honor his repeated urgent pleas for an immediate and serious increase of security at the Benghazi facility.
Even more serious for Clinton’s political aspirations this year, Jordan and Pompeo document that U.S. military assets that might have saved lives were available and capable of reaching Benghazi during the attack. But neither Clinton nor Obama gave the green light authorizing the urgent deployment of those military resources to Benghazi, they said.
“The American people expect that when the government sends our representatives into such dangerous places they receive adequate protection,” Jordan and Pompeo wrote.
“The American people expect their government to make every effort to help those we put in harm’s way when they find themselves in trouble,” the two congressmen continued. “The U.S. military never sent assets to help rescue those fighting in Benghazi and never made it into Libya with personnel during the attack. And, contrary to the administration’s claim that it could not have landed in Benghazi in time to help, the administration never directed men or machines into Benghazi.”
Obama and Clinton MIA
One of the most startling conclusions of the Jordan-Pompeo report is that on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, while the attack was in progress, through the morning of Sept. 12, when the attack ended, Obama and Clinton were largely missing in action.
At approximately 6 p.m. Eastern Time on Sept. 11, 2012, after the terror attack at Benghazi had begun, Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta had a meeting that lasted less than 30 minutes. After the meeting, the commander-in-chief and defense secretary had no further contact until after the attack was over.
Clinton and Panetta never spoke with one another during the entire time of the Benghazi terror attack. Clinton spoke to CIA Director David Petraeus at approximately 5:38 p.m. Eastern Time but not again that night.
Clinton did not speak with President Obama until approximately 10:30 p.m. Eastern that night, more than six hours after the terrorist attack began and approximately five hours after Ambassador Stevens was killed.
“We cannot help but contrast the picture painted by the above with the all hands on deck depicted in the now-famous photo of the president, Secretary Clinton, Defense Secretary Gates, Director of National Intelligence Clapper, and other officials huddled in the Situation Room during the Obama bin Laden raid,” Jordan and Pompeo noted. “Benghazi should have merited the same level of attention and urgency.”
A terrorist attack, not a protest
Jordan and Pompeo concluded the State Department and Clinton knew as the Benghazi attack began at 9:42 p.m. local time on Sept. 11, 2012, that it was a well-organized terror attack. But with the presidential election just 56 days away, rather than tell the American people the truth and increase the risk of losing the election, the Obama administration decided to tell “one story privately and a different story publically,” blaming the deaths on “a video-inspired protest they knew had never occurred.”
Among the various documents Jordan and Pompeo reference as evidence for this point, Clinton emailed her daughter, Chelsea, at 11:23 p.m. Eastern, saying: “Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Qaeda-like [sic] group [.]”
Yet in her remarks to the nation on Sept. 12, 2012, Clinton said the following: “We are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those who carried out the assault. Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”
Jordan and Pompeo note that Obama and Clinton possessed detailed information about the sophisticated nature of the attack, the weapons used, the complexity of the terrorists’ plans, and the hours-long duration of the siege, which spanned two locations, including intelligence from an eyewitness in Benghazi testifying the attackers firing mortars at the end of the 14-hour assault were well trained, “not just people off the street lobbing in mortars.”
But the lie blaming the Benghazi attack on a protest over an anti-Islam Internet video was born out of partisan political concerns, they said.
“The terrorist attack in Benghazi came during a critical time for the president,” Jordan and Pompeo insisted. “He faced an increasingly difficult re-election bid as polls showing his lead over Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney narrowing.”
Obama was advancing the argument for his re-election that during his four years in office, no major terrorist incident had occurred at home or abroad, with the success in killing Osama bin Laden signaling that al-Qaida was under retreat, allowing Obama to campaign under the theme, “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.”
Telling the truth that Benghazi was a terrorist attack would create a re-election problem for Obama by challenging this national security narrative.
“And so on this highly charged political stage – just 56 days before the presidential election – events forced the administration to make a choice about what to tell the American people: Tell the truth that heavily armed terrorists had killed one American and possibly kidnapped a second – and increase the chance of losing the election,” Jordan and Pompeo argued.
What the Obama administration chose to blame was “a video-inspired protest that never occurred in Benghazi to what had occurred earlier that day in Cairo” – a choice Jordan and Pompeo characterized as an explanation “with the least factual support,” but one that “resulted in helping the most politically.”
Clinton ‘left Stevens to die’
In another politically charged allegation, Jordan and Pompeo document that Clinton placed Stevens in Benghazi after ignoring repeated pleas from the ambassador that Benghazi was increasingly unsafe and the State Department needed to take immediate steps to increase security.
“Security in Benghazi was woefully inadequate and Secretary Clinton failed to lead,” Jordan and Pompeo concluded.
“In August 2012, however, it did not take an expert to see that the State Department facility in Benghazi should have been closed if additional security was not to be provided,” the two congressmen continued. “The location and the risk demanded Secretary Clinton’s attention. The Benghazi facility was wholly unique and there is no evidence that Secretary Clinton asked her experts – let alone Ambassador Stevens who she personally chose for the position – the hard questions.”
Jordan and Pompeo argued that escalating violence against the Benghazi compound and Western interests in Libya, with 230 terror incidents since June 2011, made the attack on Benghazi “inevitable.”
“These were the facts known in August 2012. And in 2012 Secretary Clinton had the last, clear chance to provide adequate protection or, failing that, to close the facility and pull our people out,” Jordan and Pompeo concluded. “She did neither.”
Jordan and Pompeo detail the various U.S. military assets that could have reached Benghazi in time, including Department of Defense armed drones similar to the drones over Benghazi that sent images of the terrorist attack back to the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., in real time, virtually from the time the terrorist attack began.
“Until now the administration has led us to believe that the military did not have assets – men or machines – close enough or ready enough to arrive in Benghazi in time to save lives,” Jordan and Pompeo wrote.
The critical failure, the two congressmen charge, was that the administration never even made the attempt, not the White House under President Obama, not the Defense Department under Secretary Panetta, and not the State Department under Secretary Clinton.
“It is one thing to try and fail; it is another not to try at all,” Jordan and Pompeo insisted. “In the end the administration did not move heaven and earth to help our people in Benghazi as Americans would expect. The contrast between the heroic actions taken in Benghazi and the inaction in Washington – highlights the failure.”