On July 31, when all eyes were focused on the Ted Cruz-stoked chaos unfolding in the House chamber over the border bill, the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee did something rather remarkable. It voted to declassify its Benghazi report. After two years of investigation, it found no evidence to buttress any of the conspiracy theories surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans.
We didn’t get this news from committee chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.). Nope. There was a story in the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday. A press release from Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, spelled out the details. The key information is below.
This report shows that there was no intelligence failure surrounding the Benghazi attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other brave Americans. Our investigation found the Intelligence Community warned about an increased threat environment, but did not have specific tactical warning of an attack before it happened, … which is consistent with testimony that the attacks appeared to be opportunistic. 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. 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.
The report also shows that the process used to develop the talking points was flawed, but that the talking points reflected the conflicting intelligence assessments in the days immediately following the crisis. Finally, the report demonstrates that there was no illegal activity or illegal arms sales occurring at U.S. facilities in Benghazi. And there was absolutely no evidence, in documents or testimony, that the Intelligence Community’s assessments were politically motivated in any way.
In short, all of the things that were alleged to have happened didn’t happen. Ruppersberger called the report “a bipartisan, factual, definitive report on what the Intelligence Community did and did not do.” And here’s the kicker: It was “adopted unanimously and sent to the Intelligence Community for a declassification review.” Unanimously, by a committee made up of 12 Republicans and nine Democrats.
Of course, this will most likely have no bearing on that special Benghazi committee authorized three months ago by the House and headed by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.). As Steve Benen at msnbc.com reports, there have been eight separate investigations into the Libyan attacks. Not one has uncovered the rumored (and hoped-for) cover-up. That’s because there isn’t one.
Please proceed, Rep. Gowdy.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj