New Benghazi Report Blames The White House And State Department, Republicans At Forefront Of Criticism
In the latest report investigating the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee pointed the finger at the White House. The committee, particularly its Republican base, shifted the blame from the American military to President Obama's administration, alleging that the White House and the State Department grossly underestimated the severity of the threats on the embassy.
The new report, released Tuesday, says the administration "failed to comprehend or ignored the dramatically deteriorating security situation in Libya," and that the Department of Defense suspected the violence was a terrorist attack “nearly from the outset.”
While the recent findings don't stray much from the initial findings of other panels, it reinforces the belief that the Obama administration was aware of warning signs before last year's incident. American personnel in Benghazi “were woefully vulnerable,” according to Republican members of the committee, due to the lack of sufficient change in military force. One senior committee aide added that there was a “disconnect between the perception of the threat and the failure to make changes in terms of force posture.”
Previous reports have indicated the attack was preventable. But Tuesday's report did agree with a view the administration has held: that military assets were not positioned to make a difference in the response. In short, no U.S. forces could have arrived in time to affect the attack's outcome.
Four Americans were killed in the Benghazi strike, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens. The report gives examples of changes that were made in response to perceived threats in Yemen, and compares them to the situation that occurred in Libya.
"While we identify that discrepancy, we are not fully able to get at why some of those decisions may have been made within the National Security Council or the White House," a senior aide said.
Members of the House Armed Services Committee say this investigation digs deeper into the role played by the Department of Defense when it comes to hypothetical situations — and, now, there is now improved communication when dealing with potential crisis.
Republicans examining the widely controversial incident have been scathing, saying the administration is covering up details of the deadly attack. Meanwhile, Democrats responding to the report say the opposing party has been "obsessively" searching for a scandal, and now it's "time to move forward."
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