WASHINGTON – Republicans today are calling for an investigation into the GOP-led House Intelligence Committee, which released a unanimously-adopted, bipartisan report clearing the Obama administration from any intentional wrongdoing in the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Lybia. The result of two years of investigation, the report on the attack which left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, shows that all 21 committee members (12 Republicans and 9 Democrats) came to the conclusion that no one was deliberately misled, no military assets were withheld and no stand-down order to U.S. forces was given. Republicans were quick to cry foul.
“This report is nothing but an attempt by government officials to cover up for White House crimes,” said Republican Representative Darrell Issa, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “The fact that the cover up encompasses every member of the committee is further proof of just how far-reaching this scandal truly is.”
“The Committee spent thousands of hours in the course of the investigation, which included pouring over pages of intelligence assessments, cables, notes and emails,” said Ranking Democratic member, Representative Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland. “The Committee held twenty briefings and hearings and conducted detailed interviews with senior intelligence officials and eyewitnesses to the attacks, including eight security personnel on the ground in Benghazi that night. The result is a bipartisan, factual, definitive report on what the Intelligence Community did and did not do.”
GOP Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, who in May was appointed by House Republican leaders to head a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attacks, has said that in light of the report from the House Intelligence Committee, he is moving forward with plans for additional hearings on the subject. “I’m especially looking forward to calling the Chairman of this committee [Republican Mike Rogers of Michigan] in to testify,” said Gowdy. “We need to find out why he obviously steamrolled his committee into clearing the White House.”
According to Ruppersberger, the Intelligence Committee’s investigation uncovered no intelligence failure leading up to the attack. “It also found that a mixed group of individuals including those associated with Al-Qaeda, Qadafi loyalists and other Libyan militias participated in the attack,” he said. “Additionally, the report shows there was no ‘stand down order’ given to American personnel attempting to offer assistance that evening, and no American was left behind.”
Though House Speaker John Boehner has expressed every confidence that Representative Gowdy’s committee will be able to get to the truth, he refused to rule out the possibility of forming a special GOP-led House select committee with instructions to investigate the GOP-led House Intelligence Committee, saying, “Four Americans died on September 11, 2012. Americans deserve to know why Republican Representative Rogers and his committee refused to blame the Obama administration for their deaths.”