Seven key findings in the Benghazi report

Getty Images

The House Select Committee on Benghazi’s report about the 2012 terrorist attacks contains new information about the events in Washington and on the ground in Libya.

Here are seven takeaways from the report.

{mosads}Stevens wanted to make the Benghazi facility permanent

Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed along with three other Americans in Benghazi, was in the country with an eye on making the temporary diplomatic facility a permanent outpost, according to the report.

“In his exit interview with Secretary Clinton, she expressed the hope that we could make the special mission in Benghazi a permanent constituent post,” deputy chief of mission Gregory Hicks said. “And Chris said that one of the first things he intended to do after his arrival was develop a proposal to move forward on that project.”

Hillary Clinton was considering visiting Libya in October, the report determined, and officials had hoped to be able to announce the permanent post during her time in the country.

The military never got moving

Not a single one of the U.S. military forces in the region met its deadline for deployment, and none of them ever moved toward Benghazi despite orders from President Obama and then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

“[N]o asset was ever ordered to respond to Benghazi and the decisions made — and not made — coupled with a lack of urgency in Washington D.C. delayed the response even, in some instances, with an ambassador missing,” the report said.

Troops changed clothes four times

As they were waiting at a base in Spain, U.S. Marines were ordered to change in and out of their uniforms four separate times.

At the time, the State Department appeared to be concerned about the image that would be sent by having uniformed troops marching through Benghazi.

The State Department denied that the confusing order about clothing had delayed the deployment of troops.

YouTube video dominated White House meeting

During the course of the attack, the White House convened a two-hour meeting to discuss how to proceed.

That meeting yielded a list of 10 action items, of which half related to an anti-Muslim video on YouTube that had sparked protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

But that video was ultimately proved not to have been a contributing factor to the Benghazi violence.

Americans were transported by Gadhafi loyalists

The Libyan militia that eventually evacuated Americans from the CIA annex to the airport in Benghazi had not been previously allied with U.S. officials.

In fact, it was a group of former loyalists to deposed leader Moammar Gadhafi, whom Washington had sought to oust months earlier.

“Some of the very individuals the United States had helped remove from power during the Libyan revolution were the only Libyans that came to the assistance of the United States on the night of the Benghazi attack,” the report said.

Clinton blamed terrorists in private

In public, Clinton appeared to continue blaming the Benghazi violence on the YouTube video that was stirring up tensions in many Muslim cities.

But in private, she appeared to pin the blame on Islamic terrorists, telling the prime minister of Egypt the next day that it “had nothing to do with the film.”

Republicans jumped on the apparent discrepancy, which they claimed was proof of her intention to deceive the American people.

Rice went ‘off the reservation’

Then-United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice has for years been criticized for her appearances on Sunday talk shows after the attack, during which she called the assaults spontaneous.

But the comments also rankled officials inside the State Department, who were not a part of her preparation. Rice’s remarks, officials said, appeared to be divorced from reality.  

“I think Rice was off the reservation on this one,” a senior Libya desk officer wrote in an email.

“Off the reservation on five networks!” responded another State Department official.

“[White House] very worried about the politics. This was all their doing,” said a third.


The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video