On Tuesday, the House Select Committee on Benghazi released its final report on the 2012 attacks in Libya, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. According to the New York Times, the 800-page report found "no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing" on Clinton's part. However, the report offers new details on the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound that could potentially hurt Clinton and the Democrats in the November elections.
The report, which was compiled from more than two years of investigating and an estimated $7 million, provides some new insight into the security breakdown in Benghazi and the mistakes the government made. The report shined a light on the failure to execute Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's order to deploy forces to Benghazi, NBS News reported. "What was disturbing from the evidence the Committee found was that at the time of the final lethal attack at the Annex, no asset ordered deployed by the Secretary had even left the ground," the Benghazi report noted. Other disturbing details have come to light from the report, such as one commander stating that while the Benghazi attack was occurring, "during the course of three hours, he and his Marines changed in and out of their uniforms four times."
While the report concludes that U.S. forces stationed in Europe couldn't have made it to Benghazi in time to rescue Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and other Americans during the attack, it strongly criticized the government for not being better prepared overall. “The assets ultimately deployed by the Defense Department in response to the Benghazi attacks were not positioned to arrive before the final lethal attack,” the report noted, but added, “The fact that this is true does not mitigate the question of why the world’s most powerful military was not positioned to respond.”
Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, who led the investigation, has accused the Obama administration of trying to obstruct the investigation and withhold documents. Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mike Pompeo of Kansas wrote an addendum to the report, slamming the Obama administration: “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.”
Gowdy also said the United States took too long to respond “because of an obsession with hurting the Libyans’ feelings.”
While Clinton has faced criticism throughout her campaign for her role in Benghazi, the new details from this report could potentially be used to raise concerns about her tenure as Secretary of State and be fuel for opponents questioning her record on international security.