On right, some Benghazi panel members wanted to get tougher with Clinton

On right, some Benghazi panel members wanted to get tougher with Clinton
© Greg Nash

Two Republican members of the House Benghazi panel appear to have wanted to go further in criticizing the Obama administration over the attack.

Reps. Mike Pompeo (Kan.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio) released their own 48-page addendum to the GOP majority’s 800-page report released by the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Tuesday.

While the main report is critical of the Obama administration’s response to the terror attack, the addendum is more scathing of former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe road not taken: Another FBI failure involving the Clintons surfaces DHS cyber agency to prioritize election security, Chinese threats ABC chose a debate moderator who hates Trump MORE, in particular. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“Officials at the State Department, including Secretary Clinton, learned almost in real time that the attack in Benghazi was a terrorist attack,” the two wrote. “With the presidential election just 56 days away, rather than tell the American people the truth and increase the risk of losing an election, the administration told one story privately and a different story publicly.

“They publicly blamed the deaths on a video-inspired protest they knew had never occurred.”

The two Republicans, who are known for firing off jabs at the administration, offered pointed allegations that Clinton, now the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, clearly ought to have understood the security risks in Benghazi but ignored them for political purposes.

“Secretary Clinton paid special attention to Libya. She sent Ambassador [Chris] Stevens there,” they wrote. “Yet, in August 2012, she missed the last, clear chance to protect her people.”

The additional pages suggest that both lawmakers were unsatisfied with the claims made by Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyRising star Ratcliffe faces battle to become Trump's intel chief Cummings announces expansion of Oversight panel's White House personal email probe, citing stonewalling Pelosi says it's up to GOP to address sexual assault allegation against Trump MORE (R-S.C.) in the main GOP report and instead wanted their analysis to offer a more robust attack on the administration’s oversights in Libya.

The Republican-led committee’s report is generally critical of the administration's actions up to, during and after the 2012 violence, which left Stevens and three others dead. But it declined to offer up a smoking gun proving that Clinton or other senior officials had willfully ignored security concerns to boost their political careers.

During a press conference Tuesday morning, Gowdy repeatedly declined to address Clinton’s culpability in particular. The report was not about Clinton, he insisted, but instead the four casualties of the 2012 violence.

Pompeo and Jordan were less silent.    

Clinton’s behavior is “absolutely” “morally reprehensible,” Pompeo said.   

When asked whether Clinton had lied to the American public, Jordan came close to saying yes. 

“When you look at the private statements compared to what they told the American people, a stark contrast,” he said.

 The narrative pushed by Pompeo and Jordan is that the Obama administration made decisions to protect its belief that Libya could offer a prime example of a light-touch military intervention, despite the fact that it was becoming consumed by chaos.

The State Department, they wrote, was “seemingly more concerned with politics and Secretary Clinton’s legacy than with protecting its people in Benghazi.”

The Obama administration, they wrote, “concealed” the truth, both in the immediate aftermath of the attacks — when officials blamed an anti-Muslim video on YouTube — and in the years since, as multiple arms of government have appeared to stonewall the committee’s investigation.

“And in doing so it misled the American people for political gain,” they wrote.

Outside of Congress, other conservatives also wanted the committee to be more aggressive.

David Bozell, the president of activist group ForAmerica, accused the panel leaders of “lacking the courage to bring those responsible to justice” and in doing so “wasted everyone’s time and money, plain and simple.”

“The American people put their resources and faith in the Benghazi Select Committee and they failed,” Bozell added.

“Hillary Clinton is sure to take a victory lap today due to the fecklessness of the majority on this committee."

- Updated at 11:08 a.m.