On April 23, "An Interim Progress Report for the Members of the House Republican Conference on the Events Surrounding the September 11, 2012 Terrorist Attacks in Benghazi, Libya" was released by the chairmen of the House Committee on Armed Services, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Committee on the Judiciary, Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
The report was issued weeks after a meeting in House Speaker John Boehner's office with the committee chairmen and Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Boehner has been under pressure for form a select committee to investigate Benghazi as proposed by Rep. Frank Wolf. Wolf's resolution, H.Res. 36, now has 120 cosponsors, which is more than the Republicans in the House. This "interim progress" report was rushed into publication to head off the formation of the the select committee.
Unfortunately, the report fails to break any significant new ground in the investigation, primarily because the committees refused to address the fundamental issue of the alliance of the Obama administration with the al-Qaeda affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group to overthrow Qaddafi and to attempt the overthrow of Assad government in Syria. The report does not address the illegal arming of the LIFG by Qatar and the UAE with the approval of Obama. It does not address the trafficking of those same weapons to al-Qaeda in Syria and Mali. It does not address the role of Saudi Arabia in funding the attack.
Instead, the report focuses its line of attack not on Obama, but rather on Hillary Clinton and the State Department, whose decisions were undoubtedly shaped by the policy orientation of Obama, which the report does not address.
In respect to Hillary Clinton, the committees are in possession of a State Department cable (12 STATE 38939) dated April 19, 2012, which bears the signature of Hillary Clinton. The cable acknowledges the March 28, 2012 request from the U.S. Ambassador Cretz, the Ambassador to Libya prior to Ambassador Chris Stevens, for additional security assets, but instead articulates a plan to scale back security assets for the U.S. Mission in Libya, including the Benghazi Mission. This cable contradicts Hillary Clinton's sworn testimony on January 23, 2013 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where she said that the issue never came to her attention. "And I was not aware of that going on, it was not brought to my attention."
With respect to Obama, its criticism is that he failed to proactively anticipate the significance of September 11 and provide the Department of Defense with the authority to launch offensive operations beyond self-defense. It also criticizes the Administration for its failure to properly account for the generalized threat posed by al-Qaida-affiliated groups and other extremists. "The Administration was willing to provide necessary force to expel Gadhafi in support of the Libyan opposition, yet it simply failed to provide sufficient protection for the U.S. personnel and interests that remained."
With respect to the talking points used by Susan Rice, it concludes that the talking points were altered by the Administration to protect the State Department. On Friday September 14, senior State Department officials requested that the talking points be changed. "State Department emails reveal senior officials had 'serious concerns' about the talking points, because Members of Congress might attack the State Department for 'not paying attention to Agency warnings about the growing threat in Benghazi." Slight changes were made, but a senior State Department official again responded that "the edits did not 'resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership,' and that the Department's leadership was 'consulting with [National Security Staff].'" The issue was then brought to the Deputies Committee Meeting on September 15, 2012, to be resolved. The report states: "The actual edits were made by a current high-ranking CIA official. These edits struck any and all suggestions that the State Department had been previously warned of threats in the region, that there had been previous attacks in Benghazi by al-Qaida-linked groups in Benghazi and eastern Libya, and that extremists linked to al-Qaida may have participated in the attack on the Benghazi Mission. The talking points also excluded details about the wide availability of weapons and experienced fighters in Libya, an exacerbating factor that contributed to the lethality of the attack."
The committees also report that on Sept. 15, the day prior to Ambassador Rice's TV appearances, a senior official on the ground in Libya informed senior leaders at the State Department that there was no demonstration prior to the attack.
The report concludes that the attack was conducted by Ansar al-Sharia and Al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Magreb. In reaching this conclusion it cites the report of the Library of Congress issued in August 2012, "Al-Qaeda in Libya: A Profile." It also reports that "numerous reports have indicated that the February 17 Martyrs Brigade, which was hired to protect the Benghazi mission, had extremist connections, and it had been implicated in the kidnapping of American citizens as well as in the threats against U.S. military assets. It also reports that days before Stevens arrived in Benghazi, the February 17 Martyrs Brigade told State Department officials that it would no longer support U.S. movements in the city, including the Ambassador's visit."
The report concludes by indicating what each of the committees has done and intends to do in completing the investigation.
However, as stated above, the report fails to address the fundamental policy issues raised by LPAC and EIR.