WASHINGTON— Today, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith and the other Democratic Members of the Select Committee on Benghazi issued a 339-page report entitled, “Honoring Courage, Improving Security, and Fighting the Political Exploitation of a Tragedy.” Democrats also released all of the unclassified interview transcripts in their possession so the American people can read them for themselves.
“Decades in the future, historians will look back on this investigation as a case study in how not to conduct a credible investigation,” the Members wrote. “They will showcase the proliferation of Republican abuses as a chief example of what happens when politicians are allowed to use unlimited taxpayer dollars—and the formidable power of Congress—to attack their political foes.”
The Democratic report’s overarching conclusion is that the evidence obtained by the Select Committee confirms the core findings already issued by many previous investigations into the attacks in Benghazi. Although the Select Committee obtained additional details that provide context and granularity, these details do not fundamentally alter the previous conclusions.
The report finds:
- U.S. personnel in Benghazi and Tripoli conducted themselves with extraordinary courage and heroism and at grave personal risk to defend and rescue their fellow Americans.
- The Defense Department could not have done anything differently on the night of the attacks that would have saved the lives of the four brave Americans killed in Benghazi, and although the military’s global posture prevented it from responding more quickly that night, improvements were made years ago.
- The State Department’s security measures in Benghazi were woefully inadequate as a result of decisions made by officials in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, but Secretary Clinton never personally denied any requests for additional security in Benghazi.
- The Intelligence Community’s assessments evolved after the attacks as more information became available, but they were not influenced by political considerations.
- Administration officials did not make intentionally misleading statements about the attacks, but instead relied on information they were provided at the time under fast-moving circumstances.
The Democratic report also documents the grave abuses Republicans engaged in during this investigation—from A to Z. Republicans excluded Democrats from interviews, concealed exculpatory evidence, withheld interview transcripts, leaked inaccurate information, issued unilateral subpoenas, sent armed Marshals to the home of a cooperative witness, and even conducted political fundraising by exploiting the deaths of four Americans.
“In our opinion,” the Members wrote, “Chairman Gowdy has been conducting this investigation like an overzealous prosecutor desperately trying to land a front-page conviction rather than a neutral judge of facts seeking to improve the security of our diplomatic corps.”
“We are issuing our own report today because, after spending more than two years and $7 million in taxpayer funds in one of the longest and most partisan congressional investigations in history, it is long past time for the Select Committee to conclude its work,” they wrote. “Despite our repeated requests over the last several months, Republicans have refused to provide us with a draft of their report—or even a basic outline—making it impossible for us to provide input and obvious that we are being shut out of the process until the last possible moment.”
The Democratic report makes 12 recommendations. Because the fundamental goal of the Democratic Members has always been to improve the security of our diplomatic corps and Americans serving our country overseas, the report makes nine recommendations to improve security measures, security training, risk management processes, and support for survivors and their families. The report also makes three recommendations for Congress to consider before establishing any future select committees.
Click below to read each section:
- Executive Summary
- Courage and Heroism of First Responders
- The Department of Defense
- The Department of State
- The Intelligence Community
- No Intentionally Misleading Public Statements
- Republican Abuses
- Interview Transcripts
The Democratic Members of the Select Committee are Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings, Rep. Adam Smith, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Linda Sanchez, and Rep. Tammy Duckworth.