I’m not at all sure most people will care, because the left has succeeded in making just the word “Benghazi” a big yawn for way too many people. But for what it’s worth, the Senate Intelligence Committee has issued a fairly blistering report on the Benghazi debacle.
Aside from some all-important pre-2016 minimizing of Hillary Clinton’s role by the majority Democrats, who claim that the early “it was a video” emphasis was the result of poor communication by US intelligence rather than an administration coverup, here are the some of the highlights (or lowlights, depending how you look at it) of the report’s findings, as described by Ed Morrissey at The Fiscal times:
The committee found that a string of terrorist attacks in Benghazi against Western targets, especially one three months before the final attack on the US facility itself, should have alerted State to the danger it faced. Furthermore, the committee questioned how State could have ignored its own security standards to approve the use of the building, a decision reapplied in July when State renewed the lease – just weeks after the previous attack.
These two issues – of the terrorist activity and the inexplicable waivers for proper security – drive most of the bipartisan condemnation of the report. The committee pointedly notes that the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) warned the Obama administration in June 2012 of the growing threat against Western interests in Benghazi in a report with a title that should have grabbed attention: “Libya: Terrorists Now Targeting U.S. and Western Interests.”…
The CIA did not formally share knowledge of the existence of their annex with the Department of Defense. The commander of US Africa Command, General Carter Ham, had no idea that there were more personnel to protect until the attack, leading the Republicans to muse: “We are puzzled as to how the military leadership expected to effectively respond and rescue Americans in the event of an emergency when it did not even know of the existence of one of the U.S. facilities.”…
It’s as if the Pentagon, CIA, and State Department set out to ignore the red flags they themselves had been raising all year long. No one was prepared on the anniversary of 9/11 for an attack in the region where everyone knew al Qaeda to be “establishing sanctuary,” openly operating, and where the US predicted attacks would escalate.
The State Department in particular didn’t take action to bring its facility into compliance with its own security requirements, purposefully waiving them, in a city where terrorist attacks had already begun to escalate – including one on the facility itself – nor took action to get Americans out of harm’s way, despite the departure of other Western nations from Benghazi earlier in the year.
One does not need a name at the top of this report to know where responsibility rests for this massive failure. Hillary Clinton ran State, Leon Panetta ran Defense, and David Petraeus ran the CIA. But the distributed nature of the failure indicts the Obama administration and Barack Obama himself, too. The White House is responsible for interagency coordination, for one thing, especially when it comes to national security and diplomatic enterprises.
However, Obama’s responsibility extends farther and more specifically, too. The reason that eastern Libya had transformed into a terrorist haven in the first place was because of the Obama-led NATO intervention that deposed Moammar Qaddafi without any effort to fill the security vacuum his abrupt departure created.
Americans, who should care, seem to be sleepwalking through all of this. The fact that the Democratic majority on the committee signed off on it is unusual enough to be worthy of note and should be significant. But unless both parties are prepared to make a big stink about it, I’m afraid that nothing will happen as a result.