A bombshell report by the House Select Committee on the Benghazi, Libya terrorist attack, where four Americans were killed, slammed Hillary Clinton’s State Department for its lack of a response during the attack.
The report, according to Fox News, found that “rusty bureaucratic process” was largely to blame in the wake of the attack, where it took more than 13 hours for the first military force to be deployed to the scene.
The report said one anti-terrorism security team known as the FAST unit sat waiting for three hours in Rota, Spain, as Marines changed “in and out of their uniforms four times,” and even debated whether they should carry personal weapons, according to one witness. All together, the report said, “it would take nearly 18 hours” for that team to move.
The report described a web of internal debates and hold-ups, including apparent State Department guidance that “Libya must agree to any deployment,” though Panetta would later say Libya approval was not necessary.
While various officials debated how to proceed, U.S. personnel were under attack at two sites in Benghazi.
And while the attack was taking place and Ambassador Chris Stevens was missing, President Obama, White House officials and Clinton were discussing an internet video which they first blamed the attacks on, though no eyewitnesses to the attack had given intelligence that linked the video to the attack.
The committee report identified for the first time a White House meeting that was convened roughly three hours into the attack and included deputies to senior Cabinet members and Clinton.
Stevens was missing at the time. But the report found “much of the conversation focused on the video (which) is surprising given no direct link or solid evidence existed connecting the attacks in Benghazi and the video at the time.”
The report found that “five of the 10 action items from the rough notes of the 7:30 pm meeting reference the video.”
The report also showed that there were top-level calls to have the video removed from the Internet, before any of the forces that were ordered deployed “had actually moved.”
The report, meanwhile, found the video narrative was crafted in Washington by Obama administration appointees and reflected neither eyewitness nor real-time reports from the Americans under attack.
Even more alarming in the report, is that the US government was not aware of the Libyan military team that helped save dozens of people in the attack.
In a stunning detail, the report said the security force that helped evacuate U.S. personnel from the so-called “annex” in the end – “likely saving over two dozen lives,” according to the report – was a unit known as Libyan Military Intelligence composed of former military officers under the Qaddafi regime, which the U.S. helped topple.
The CIA did not know that unit existed. “In other words, 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 attacks,” the report said.
Read the full report here.
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