White House rips Benghazi report as an effort 'tear down' Clinton
© Greg Nash

The White House on Tuesday dismissed a new House Republican report that faults the Obama administration for a series of security lapses that led up to the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.


Press secretary Josh Earnest characterized the report, which capped off a two-year, $7 million investigation into the attack, as a politically motivated effort to "tear down Secretary [Hillary] Clinton's poll numbers.”

"Is the [Republican National Committee] going to disclose the in-kind contribution they received from House Republicans today?” Earnest quipped.

He cited comments made last year by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) that the aim of the investigation was to hurt Clinton, now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. McCarthy later walked back those remarks.

While damaging Clinton “was their goal,” Earnest said Tuesday, he asserted that “it remains to be seen if that’s what they accomplished.”

He said the report revealed nothing new about the attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others dead, claiming the report’s findings have “been previously debunked by Republican-led investigations in the Congress.”

Earnest also voiced exasperation that the GOP-controlled Congress has conducted eight investigations into the Benghazi attack.

“They are cynically trying to capitalize on the death of four innocent Americans," he said. "The degree to which Republicans are willing to play politics with their death and this tragedy is astounding.”

Earnest’s comments echoed criticism from Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic insiders stay on the sidelines in 2020 race Hillicon Valley: Twitter falling short on pledge to verify primary candidates | Barr vows to make surveillance reforms after watchdog report | DHS cyber chief focused on 2020 The Hill's Campaign Report: High stakes at last Democratic debate before Super Tuesday MORE’s presidential campaign that the report is full of “discredited conspiracy theories."

The 800-page report does not contain smoking gun evidence proving that Clinton, who was secretary of State at the time, was responsible for the attack, which has stirred controversy throughout President Obama’s time in office and roiled Clinton’s presidential campaign.

But Republicans on the House Select Committee on Benghazi said the report offers new details and concludes that the Clinton and other administration officials should have done more to protect the nation’s diplomatic facilities in Libya in the weeks and months leading up to the attack.

They also fault Clinton for not adequately heeding concerns about growing extremist activity in Benghazi.

“It is not clear what additional intelligence would have satisfied either [Undersecretary of Management Patrick] Kennedy or the secretary in understanding the Benghazi Mission compound was at risk—short of an attack,” the report claims.

The report also renews criticism that the administration mislead the public about the causes of the attack and later stonewalled the investigation.

Citing a conversation with Egypt’s prime minister, the report accuses Clinton of knowingly obscuring the fact the attack was carried out by local extremist groups and not a mob incited by an anti-Muslim video, as was first reported.

This report was updated at 1:57 p.m.