The Obama administration told two completely different versions of the Benghazi terrorist attack for the sake of political expediency and even began spreading the story of a video triggering the violence while Americans were still fighting for their lives.
That’s the main takeaway of Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, after the special, months-long investigation into Benghazi by a select committee concluded this week.
On September 11. 2012, terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, murdering U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and his subordinate, Sean Smith. Hours later, two former Navy SEALs, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed by terrorist mortars at the CIA Annex near the consulate.
On Tuesday, the Republicans on the committee, led by chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., released its official report, detailing the Obama administration’s failure to provide appropriate security for the U.S. consulate in Benghazi for months before the attack, its failure to launch any response to the attack and its willful deception in blaming the attack on a You Tube video.
But Rep. Jordan and Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas, issued a supplemental report on their own. Jordan says the official account adds great clarity and more information into what happened, where it happened and when. He says the additional report explains why it happened and he says the answer is simple.
“Politics. They were 56 days before an election, eight weeks out from an election. Libya was supposed to be their legacy,” said Jordan.
He says the administration’s actions during and after the attack betray its real priorities.
“What was the motive to stay (in Benghazi) when everyone else was leaving? What was the motive to be talking about whether military should go in military or civilian clothes and making them change clothes? What was the motive for talking about going in unmarked vehicles? And what was the motive to mislead the American people and blame it on a film when everyone knew right from the start, the film had nothing to do with it and there never was a protest?” said Jordan.
Jordan says the troubling answer to all of those questions is the same.
“The evidence clearly shows the motive was political concerns that outweighed everything else, including getting planes off the ground in a timely fashion to maybe get there in time to help Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty,” said Jordan.
Jordan says while the Obama administration ignored multiple warning signs to either pull out or beef up security, the attack itself threatened one of the Obama-Biden campaign’s top talking points, that the U.S. had Al Qaeda on the run.
“(Hillary Clinton) was the one who pushed for Ghaddafi’s ouster a year before. They’re doing victory laps. They’re saying this is how foreign policy works. No boots on the ground. You can oust a dictator as part of the Arab Spring. Then they have 13 months of all kinds of violence, all kinds of dangerous situations, assassination attempts on the British ambassador, the security situation deteriorates and we stay when almost everyone else leaves. And then it happened,” said Jordan.
Most galling for Jordan is the intentional duplicity from Obama, Clinton and other administration officials. He points to a statement issued at 10:08 ET the night of the attack, blaming the mayhem on a protest over a YouTube video defaming Mohammed. Yet an hour later, Clinton emailed her daughter, Chelsea, to say it was a terrorist attack. The next day, Clinton told the Egyptian prime minister via email that the video had nothing to do with it.
Three days later, then-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was continuing to publicly attribute the attack to the video even though State Department officials in the region were saying exactly the opposite.
“They were consistent. Privately, they would tell the truth. Publicly, they would mislead. Privately, it was a terrorist attack and publicly a video-inspired protest that leads to this attack. Every step of the way it was done for political concern,” said Jordan.
He says that mentality left Woods and Doherty to fend for themselves.
“At 10:18, when she issues that statement, Tyrone Woods is still on the roof of the annex fighting for his life. It’s not until an hour and ten minutes later, approximately 11:15, when the mortars hit the CIA Annex building and take the lives of Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.,” said Jordan.
“He’s still fighting. At 10:08, she’s already blaming a video in the official statement from our government that evening,” said Jordan. “They started the political spin right from the get-go.”
Jordan says there are still questions that remain unanswered thanks to constant obstruction of the committee’s work, namely whether there were weapons being funneled from Libya to Syrian rebels and what the president was doing throughout the evening.
“You had Democrats on the committee who really didn’t want to help it and you had an administration that did everything it could to put up impediments and road blocks, blocking us from getting access to certain witnesses and documents and information,” he said.