2 Yrs., $7 Mil for 800-Page Benghazi Report Containing Old News
It took two years and a mind-boggling $7 million for House Republicans to finally complete an exhausting 800-page report on Benghazi that largely reiterates a lot of the information Judicial Watch has already released since the 2012 terrorist attacks on the Special Mission Compound in Libya. That amounts to a staggering $8,750 a page for material piled into an insufferable document that doesn’t even contain a smoking gun.
Nevertheless, members of the Benghazi Select Committee released the findings of their tiresome investigation this week with great fanfare, as if they had uncovered earth-shattering information during their lengthy probe. The reality is that most of the material had already been divulged to the public, much of it by Judicial Watch which has litigated in federal court to uncover the truth about Benghazi and published two special reports (read them here and here) on the attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The millions it cost to conduct this particular congressional probe could have been better spent. Not surprisingly, the mainstream media is having a field day pointing out that the two-year investigation produced no bombshells. One national newspaper editorial says that it’s hard to imagine a bigger waste of government resources.
Here’s the spark notes version of the report highlights for those who don’t have the stomach—or time—to go through hundreds of pages; the military was never deployed to help save the victims, the Special Mission Compound didn’t have adequate security and the Obama administration knowingly lied to the American people by claiming the attack was a spontaneous protest ignited by an obscure anti-Muslim internet video. All of this is old news that was unearthed and disseminated long ago. Before the first anniversary of the Benghazi attacks Judicial Watch had obtained records and reported that a group of approximately 150 heavily armed Islamist militia members attacked the U.S. diplomatic mission. Subsequent to that Judicial Watch got ahold of droves of government files showing that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other Obama administration officials knew in real time that the Benghazi attackers were “armed extremists.”
Back in 2014 Judicial Watch reported that the U.S. military had a multitude of forces in the region surrounding Libya when terrorists attacked the Special Mission in Benghazi, but the order from the administration was to stand back as the violent ambush unfolded. A retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, Randall R. Schmidt, provided Judicial Watch with a detailed Navy map pointing the specific locations of all the forces—including dozens of destroyers and amphibious assault ships—that could have responded to the attack. Schmidt got the information after filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Navy while he investigated how the military responded to the Benghazi massacre. Last year Judicial Watch uncovered Department of Defense (DOD) documents that show the U.S. military was poised and ready to respond immediately and forcefully against terrorists in Benghazi. In an email to State Department leadership, then DOD Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash immediately offers “forces that could move to Benghazi” during the attack and reveals that “we have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak.” Years earlier then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta explained the administration’s lack of military response to the nearly six-hour-long attack like this: “Time, distance, the lack of an adequate warning, events that moved very quickly on the ground prevented a more immediate response.”
In 2013 Judicial Watch obtained documents showing that the State Department hired an inexperienced and virtually unknown foreign company to protect American interests in the dangerous North African country long known to be infested with terrorists. The State Department paid the obscure and untested British firm, Blue Mountain Group, $794,264 for nearly 50,000 guard hours to secure the U.S. compound. British government sources said that even they were unfamiliar with Blue Mountain and in fact the Brits used a different—certainly more competent—security company to protect their mission in Libya. It’s not like the State Department wasn’t aware of the eminent dangers in Benghazi. In fact, the agency knew for years that weak security at American embassies and consulates worldwide could result in a tragedy like Benghazi yet senior officials failed to act. Benghazi was simply one of a long string of security failures that date back more than a decade, according to a probe conducted by an independent panel of security and intelligence experts.