The House Select Committee on Benghazi concluded its multi-year investigation into the terrorist attack on the United States Diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. The attack resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith. After reviewing evidence and conducting countless interviews, the committee released its findings at the end of June.
There has been controversy surrounding the committee since its creation in 2014. Democrats have accused Republicans as using the attacks in Benghazi as a way to harm Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations. Its critics point to the endless investigations, many of which concluded before the committee was created in 2014. Because of this, the Republican majority and the Democratic minority of the committee have agreed on little. In fact, they even have separate websites covering the investigation. These divisions were made more apparent when Clinton testified for over 10 hours before the committee in October 2015.
On June 27, the minority members of the committee released their findings in a report led by Representative Elijah Cummings. In the report, the minority members focus on the way the committee has acted and the cost to tax payers for an investigation that ultimately yielded no new findings. They also complained that they were largely left out the process of writing the primary report that was released the next day. The report, which consists of 340 pages, is primarily a criticism of the handling of the investigation by the Republicans on the committee and their limited focus on Clinton.
The Republicans released their final report on June 28, a day after the Democrats. In 869 pages, the committee’s Republicans, led by Representative Trey Gowdy, harshly criticized the State Department, Defense Department, and CIA for failing to fully understand the situation that led to the attack in Benghazi. The report criticizes the delayed action by the Obama administration following the attacks. Overall, the committee failed to find any new evidence that changed the narrative of the attack nor could they prove that Clinton was in any way negligent. Instead, the report largely blames systemic issues for the poor response to the attack.
While the committee is responsible for discovering that Clinton used a private email server as Secretary of State, the findings of the committee largely echo that of an investigations conducted by the State Department in 2012 and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2013. During the Senate hearings in January 2013, Clinton accepted full responsibility for the State Department’s failures leading up to and following the attack. She also spoke about security funding that was cut by Congress arguing that those cuts have made United States diplomatic posts less secure around the world and she urged Congress to increase funding to ensure the safety of diplomats.
Since the release of the report early this week, Clinton has been asked for her thoughts. While she has not had much to say, she did offer a comment late this week saying, “I’ll leave it to others to characterize this report, but I think it’s pretty clear it’s time to move on.”
While many agree that it is time to move on, we want to ensure that the report, and every other report released on the Benghazi investigation are fully available to readers in the interest of full transparency. Therefore, we have gathered all the internal investigations and reports into the Benghazi attack into one place. Below, you will find a collection of websites for each the investigative committees as well as a collection of hearings and reports released by Congress and the State Department.
- House Select Committee on Benghazi Majority Website
- House Select Committee on Benghazi Minority Website
- House Republican Investigation of Benghazi Website
- U.S. State Department Accountability Review Board