The House’s Benghazi Select Committee issued a draft Tuesday of its long-awaited report on the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound and CIA facility in Benghazi, Libya.
The New York Times succinctly summarized the committee’s findings:
Ending one of the longest, costliest and most bitterly partisan congressional investigations in history, the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued its final report on Tuesday, finding no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton in the 2012 attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead.
In a continued embarrassment for the committee’s chairman, South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, one of the principal “new revelations” touted by the committee in an effort to justify its millions of dollars in spending was something that the public has known for years.
The committee reported that an antiterrorism team on its way to Tripoli to respond to the crisis was delayed for three hours as the team changed in and out of military uniforms. Far from a new information, this was raised by Martin Dempsey, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and by then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee in 2013. It was also discussed in the House Armed Services Committees report on Benghazi early the next year.
Other “new” discoveries of Gowdy’s — that Hillary Clinton was considering a trip to Benghazi in October 2012, that the military did not deploy to Benghazi on the night of the attack, and that an anti-Muslim YouTube video was discussed during a secure video conference the night of the attack — had all been publicly reported years ago.
Former House Speaker John Boehner did not create the Benghazi Select Committee to slightly advance our understanding of the 2012 attack. Instead, Republicans created the committee because they were under pressure from the far Right to use the investigative power of Congress to implicate the Obama administration, and Hillary Clinton in particular, in wrongdoing.
It was obvious from the start, despite Gowdy’s protestations to the contrary, that the select committee was simply a political tool of the far Right — one that would finally confirm their worst suspicions and bolster their conspiracy theories about Clinton, thus harming her chances in the upcoming presidential election.
Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy acknowledged this when he told Sean Hannity last year, “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi Special Committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.”
Ultimately, the Benghazi Select Committee will be remembered in history alongside other failed partisan efforts to investigate Clinton.
Whitewater, Travelgate, Vince Foster and now Benghazi. These investigations in total have cost American taxpayers well in excess of $100,000,000, yet produced none of the results that were promised at their outsets. Yet conservatives seem destined to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Rather than being guided by facts, they allow themselves to be driven by the most extreme and conspiracy-oriented members of their party.
The Benghazi Committee report is a final testament to the fact that the supposed “stand down orders,” the charge that Susan Rice lied on Sunday morning talk shows following the attack, and the accusation that the CIA altered talking points “for political reasons” were all are myths. All were debunked by previous investigations whose facts were not contradicted by Gowdy’s committee.
Clearly the results of this investigation will not halt the conservative noise machine. Accuracy in the Media is planning to reveal the results of its own conspiracy-laden Benghazi investigation at a press conference Wednesday. But it is a signal to the press they should stop taking these conspiracy theories seriously.