Do you believe that Hillary Clinton Lied, And Four In Benghazi Died?
Scandal: A congressional report shows security cuts before the Benghazi attack were approved by the secretary of state and that White House talking points describing the events were edited to protect the State Department.
The "progress" report by House Republicans will no doubt be dismissed as a partisan political document. But it effectively records administration efforts to ignore the threat of terrorism before the attack on our diplomatic mission in Benghazi, to cover up administration culpability afterward and to sweep aside responsibility for the deaths of four Americans to make the administration look caring and competent.
Despite then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's denials that pleadings from Ambassador Chris Stevens, killed in the terrorist attack, never reached her desk, the interim Benghazi report concludes that:
"Reductions of security levels prior to the attacks in Benghazi were approved at the highest levels of the State Department, up to and including Secretary Clinton. This fact contradicts her testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on January 23, 2013."
Indeed it does. On that date, Clinton testified:
"I have made it very clear that the security cables did not come to my attention or above the assistant secretary level where the ARB (Accountability Review Board) placed responsibility."
The 46-page report by the five committees of jurisdiction cites an April 19, 2012, cable bearing Clinton's signature acknowledging a formal request dated March 28, 2012, from then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz for additional security assets but ordering the withdrawal of security elements to proceed as planned.
After the attack, the talking points that became the administration's version of events were drafted. But contrary to administration rhetoric, changes to the talking points were not made to protect classified information. Concern for classified information is never mentioned in email traffic among senior administration officials.
According to the report, when then-CIA Director David Petraeus briefed the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Sept. 14 about the Benghazi attack, the CIA notes for that briefing included:
• Information about five previous attacks on foreign interests in Benghazi since April 2012.
• Potential links to the al-Qaida connected Libyan militia, Ansar al-Sharia.
• Previous CIA assessments of groups linked to al-Qaida in eastern Libya.
• Information suggesting Islamic extremists participated in the attack.
After Petraeus' testimony, the report states that once the editing process began, "draft talking points were sent to officials throughout the Executive Branch, (and) senior State Department officials requested the talking points be changed to avoid criticism for ignoring the threat environment in Benghazi.
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