There is a new internecine fight in the GOP based on what happened in the attack in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of four Americans: Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glenn Doherty, and Ty Woods. It seems that the recently released report from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) on Benghazi has some steamed.As reported by Fox News, “South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday criticized a recently released House Republican report that concludes no intelligence lapses in connection with the fatal Benghazi attacks, saying congressional investigators did a “lousy job.” “I think the report is full of crap,” Graham, a Republican, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence report released late Friday concluded the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. The report also found no wrongdoing by Obama administration officials, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria. “This report puts all the blame on the State Department and absolves the intelligence community,” Graham said.”
While it’s well-known to some, many are not aware of the conflict of interest for the Chairman of the HPSCI, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich) — who somehow decided to resign. Rogers’ wife Kristi, who after years of government service in mid-level administrative positions, moved to the private sector and joined the British-based security contractor Aegis Defense Services to help open its U.S. subsidiary. Fox says, “The newsletter Intelligence Online noted that thanks to Ms. Rogers’ efforts, “Aegis won several major contracts with the U.S. administration.” Libya also was an area of activity for Aegis, Ms. Rogers’ company and Ms. Rogers’ rise at Aegis was swift. As reported by the Daily Caller, “Ms. Rogers was a strong advocate for Aegis. In 2010 testimony before the congressionally chartered Commission on Wartime Contracting, she noted that “contractors are a necessary reality of the United States’ missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and perhaps similar, future missions.” Aegis, she said, was a “threat driven and intelligence led” company with “seasoned professionals” and “exceptional performance.” She added that the firm “regularly meets with Members of Congress, their staff and other key decision makers.”And if you’ve been following this episode, you know Aegis has been linked to security detail operations for the State Department in Benghazi. Indeed the plot thickens.
Within the GOP-led House of Representatives there has been some consternation between the House Oversight Committee and the HPSCI on the issue of Benghazi — with the HPSCI under Rogers’ leadership apparently trying to dismiss the issue. And with the appointed House Select Committee you have to wonder why this report has been released on a Friday during a lame duck session when the Chairman has resigned.
And so Senator Graham yesterday took up the cause against the HPSCI report. Fox says, “Graham, among the most outspoken Capitol Hill lawmakers about the administration’s handling of Benghazi, also told CNN the report does not exonerate the administration. He said the House committee is “doing a lousy job policing their own.” Graham suggested the findings are flawed because the information was supplied by former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell and other members of the intelligence community who have already misled Congress.”People in and out of government have alleged that a CIA response team was ordered to “stand down” after the State Department compound came under attack, that a military rescue was nixed, that officials intentionally downplayed the role of Al Qaeda figures in the attack, and that Stevens and the CIA were involved in a secret operation to spirit weapons out of Libya and into the hands of Syrian rebels.”
I don’t believe we shall ever know what occurred in Benghazi in September 2012. There is no doubt that the list of those complicit and accountable for the tragic abandonment of Americans is long and probably one of a bipartisan nature. The families of those who lost their lives deserve the truth, but unfortunately in a town where responsibility is a foreign word, it may never be forthcoming. Everyone is so quick to just say move along, nothing to see here, but tell that to the mother of Sean Smith or the widow of Ty Woods, and his now fatherless young boy (both of whom I’ve met).
This– along with Operation Fast and Furious and the death of US Border Patrol agent Brian Terry — represents a dark moment for America. It’s clear evidence that politics trumps policy and even weighs greater than protecting American lives. I concur with Senator Lindsay Graham.