4 Things We Learned From The New Republican Benghazi Report

On Tuesday, House Select Committee Republicans released their Benghazi report — finally. The long-awaited brief was critical of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as expected, but an additional report written by Republican Representatives Mike Pompeo of Kansas and Jim Jordan of Ohio bashed the Democratic presidential hopeful much more than the official GOP report did. While not many new details were outlined, there are some things to be learned from the new Benghazi report.

Clinton’s campaign maintained that the whole investigation was a witch hunt, with campaign spokesman Brian Fallon saying in a statement that the report has “not found anything to contradict the conclusions of the multiple, earlier investigations” and the committee’s goal was to politicize the deadly attack (which committee chairman Trey Gowdy has denied). Similarly, State Department spokesman Mark Toner told CNN that “the official facts surrounding the 2012 attacks in Benghazi have been known for some time.” Despite generating a lot of buzz, Clinton’s marathon questioning in front of the committee in October didn’t reveal any new info, and the nation’s patiently awaited Congress’ report on the topic to put the issue to rest.

The report found major administration failings led to four Americans dying in the 2012 attack, and didn’t focus on Clinton, as Republicans insisted it wouldn’t. Here are four things we can learn from the report’s conclusions.

Clinton Didn’t Technically Do Anything Wrong

Hillary Clinton Testifies Before House Select Committee On Benghazi Attacks
CREDIT: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Although the 800-page report was very critical of how Clinton handled the Benghazi attack while in office, Republicans didn’t find any new evidence that she did anything wrong. The report explains that Clinton and the Obama administration failed to protect American lives in Libya and rebukes Clinton for using a private email server (which is being investigated separately by the FBI), but doesn’t accuse Clinton of any other major missteps.

Lots Of Agencies Fucked Up

Panetta And Dempsey Testify At Senate Hearing On Benghazi Attacks
CREDIT: Win McNamee/Getty Images

While blaming multiple government agencies of royally fucking up, the report says the CIA missed warning signs leading up to the attack and wrote faulty intelligence reports afterwards. It also accuses the Defense Department of failing to meet response times to deploy the U.S. military and ensuring the Americans at risk were rescued.

The report revealed new details about a video conference involving White House chief of staff Denis McDonough and people from various agencies, saying those discussing the attack didn’t know what other agencies were doing. Essentially, there wasn’t communication between different actors responding to the attack, so no one knew what different agencies were doing to save the American lives at risk.

U.S. Military Forces Couldn’t Have Reached Benghazi

USS Stennis Conducts Operations in Philippine Sea
CREDIT: U.S. Navy/Getty Images

The committee didn’t argue with previous investigations’ finding that U.S. military forces in Europe couldn’t have reached Benghazi in time to prevent the four American deaths, as no military troops were deployed. However, it did criticize the delayed response to the attack. “The assets ultimately deployed by the Defense Department in response to the Benghazi attacks were not positioned to arrive before the final lethal attack,” the report reads. “The fact that this is true does not mitigate the question of why the world’s most powerful military was not positioned to respond.”

This Drawn-Out Report Didn’t Accomplish Much

Hillary Clinton Testifies Before House Select Committee On Benghazi Attacks
CREDIT: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Benghazi investigation cost the nation millions of dollars, and the concluding report didn’t really accomplish anything. This wasn’t totally unexpected, but is still disappointing.

Technically, the committee still has to vote to accept this report, but the Republican majority is expected to do so with no problems. Although the report didn’t offer much closure on the subject, at least the extremely costly speculation within Congress will come to an end.