The following report is a whitewash in some places and babbles in political speak in others.
The CIA and military response to the Benghazi attack was appropriate and though there were lapses, there is no evidence they were deliberate, according to a report by a House-led investigative committee which obviously seeks to exonerate the intelligence community. The White House and State Department did not pressure anyone or keep them from testifying. However, the report did not deal with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton who continued to say it was the result of protests weeks after the attack.
The Benghazi investigation by the House Intelligence Committee released their report Friday. This committee dealt with intelligence only. Another House committee, the Select Committee on Benghazi, is conducting its own investigation. A leading Republican wants to expand the House investigation into the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack by adding a Senate probe.
They found there was no evidence of a stand down order, arms shipments to Syria, people being kept from testifying or intelligence failures.
The investigation also found the security at the diplomatic outpost was weak and it described a “flawed” process used to create talking points for House Intelligence Committee members and then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, whose public statements after the attack incensed critics who said the administration was avoiding calling the attack terrorism.
The changes to the talking points supported the administration narrative, but the report claims intelligence was confused even two years later and there are gaps today.
From the beginning, everyone who testified said they knew they were deliberate terrorist attacks, which begs the question, why did Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton say the attack was the result of protests?
They were never sure however about who led the attacks, whether it was al-Qaida or affiliates.
Motivations of the attackers are still ongoing because of the sophistication of the attackers.
One problem is Mike Morell misled three senators and altered the talking points.
Morell changed the talking points because he didn’t want the CIA to look self-serving by appearing to place the blame on the State Department. Morell said he made further changes to the talking points after a conference call with White House deputies. He later removed the word “Islamic” because he didn’t think it wise to mention any religion. He said the changes had nothing to do with White House or State Department pressure but rather with the poor intelligence they had at the time.
Morell said he took out key words to make certain no sources or methods were compromised.
I. CIA security personnel exhibited bravery and tactical expertise, saving the lives of Americans.
II. There was no specific prior intelligence on 9/11. The CIA was not collecting or shipping arms to Syria.
Finding 1. There was no intelligence failure. IC had no prior specific, tactical warnings, no credible intelligence before the attacks began.
Finding 2. The CIA provided sufficient security personnel, resources and equipment to defend the annex and to enable CIA operations in Benghazi.
Finding 3. State Department personnel did not have the personnel, resources and equipment to defend themselves and required the assistance of the CIA.
Finding 4. The CIA was not shipping arms to Syria by the annex though weapons were being collected by others in Libya and shipped to Syria.
III. There was no stand down order or denial of air support. No American was left behind.
Finding 5. The attackers were a mixed group including Ansaria al-Sharia, AQIM, AQAP, AQI, MJN, and UJB. All al-Qaida except for the last who are Qadafi loyalists.
Finding 6. Appropriate personnel made the decision to rescue the State Department staff.
Finding 7. Some security officers voiced more concern about the urgency of the rescue but no officer at the CIA was told to stand down.
Finding 8. Senior officers made the decision to send CIA officers from Tripoli to Benghazi to attempt the rescue.
Finding 9. The decision to not dispatch to the hospital was based on the best information at the time.
Finding 10. The CIA received all military support available.
IV. Early intelligence assessments and the administration’s narrative was inaccurate. Susan Rice’s talking points were flawed.
Finding 11. Ambassador Rice’s September 16 public statements about the existence of a protest, as well as underlying intelligence reports, were inaccurate.
Finding 12. Deputy CIA Director Morell made significant changes to the talking points.
Finding 13. CIA’s Office of Public Affairs made significant changes to the talking points including removing references to “ties to al-Qaida.”
Finding 14. The CIA could have placed more weight on intelligence from the ground and should have challenged its assessments of a protest earlier.
Finding 15. CIA did not intimidate or prevent any officer from speaking to Congress or otherwise telling their story.
Finding 16. There is no evidence of unusual polygraph tests.
Finding 17. The agencies were slow to respond but eventually the CIA, NCTC, FBI and other executive branches cooperated with the committee’s investigation.