Senate Select Intel Committee Benghazi Report Proves Only a House Select Committee Will Challenge Obama's Obstructionism
January 17, 2014 • 12:07PM

The Democratic-controlled Senate Select Intelligence Committee, chaired by Senator Dianne Feinstein, released its report on Benghazi on Jan. 15. The Democratic majority, in its additional views at the end of the report, not surprisingly exonerates Barack Obama of any responsibility for the attack on the U.S. mission and CIA annex in Benghazi and for his attempted cover-up of the fact that the attack was carried out by his allies in the overthrow of Qaddafi — the al-Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. The additional views of Committee Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss, on the other hand, document the Obama administration's continuing obstruction of the investigation.

In response to the release of the report, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) issued a statement pointing out that "the report ... fails to even broach the subject of just what the CIA was doing in Benghazi" and renewed his call for the creation of a House Select Committee: "We are never going to get all the answers to what happened that night until there is a House Select Committee that can reach across jurisdictional boundaries, compel testimony and documents that the administration continues to withhold from the Congress, and protect those who may want to testify about the events of that evening."

On Jan. 14, two additional Congressmen signed on as cosponsors to Wolf's H. Res. 36 which calls for a House Select Committee. There are now 180 cosponsors, and yet the House Republican leadership under House Speaker Boehner has refused to allow the measure to come to the floor for a vote, thus protecting Obama.

The Senate Report

Although the Senate report includes some interesting new intelligence, it fails to to address the most important issues:

1) the policy of Obama in allying with the al-Qaeda affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in its illegal war to overthrow Qaddafi;

2) the purpose of the CIA annex in Benghazi;

3) the issue of illegal gunrunning both to Libya during the war and from Libya to Syria after the war with the complicity of Obama, both in violation of the UN arms embargo;

4) the fact that the head of al-Qaeda, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, issued a video on Sept. 10, 2012, calling for revenge for the death of Abu Yahya Al Libi, who was killed in Pakistan by a U.S. drone (Did anyone ask the NSA, the CIA, etc. if they were aware of this video?);

5) the report in a hacked email from Sidney Blumenthal to Hillary Clinton on Feb. 16, 2013, that French, Algerian, and Libyan intelligence had information indicating that the attack was funded by wealthy Sunni Islamists from Saudi Arabia.

While failing to address any of these substantive issues, among the important intelligence nevertheless revealed in the report are the following:

1) A July 6, 2012 CIA report stated: "This year, Muhammad Jaymal's Egypt-based network, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have conducted training, built communication networks, and facilitated extremist travel across North Africa from their safe haven in parts of Eastern Libya."

2) An August 15, 2012 cable reported that a CIA officer "briefed the EAC (Emergency Action Committee) on the location of approximately ten Islamist militias and AQ training camps within Benghazi."

3) "Individuals affiliated with terrorist groups, including AQIM and the Mohammad Jamal Network, participated in the September 11, 2012 attacks."

4) "Although it did not reach the U.S. Intelligence Community until after the attacks, it is important to note that a former Transitional National Council (TNC) security official in Benghazi had received information of a possible imminent attack against the Mission facility in advance. The official said that approximately four hours prior to the attack, he attempted to notify the Libyan Intelligence Service (LIS) that an attack was expected, but he was unable to reach two contacts he had in the LIS as they were out of the country."

5) "According to U.S. AFRICOM, neither the command nor its Commander were aware of an annex in Benghazi, Libya. However, it is the Committees understanding that other DOD personnel were aware of the Benghazi Annex."

"Additional Views"

The report is accompanied by three "Additional Views," those of the Democratic Majority; those of Vice Chairman Chambliss and Senators Burr, Risch, Coats, Rubio, and Coburn; and, finally, those of Senator Collins.

The "Additional Views" of Chambliss, et al. are the most significant, because they actually underscore the need for a Select Committee without making that argument explicitly.

In this section of the report, Chambliss et al. stress that "important questions remain unanswered as a direct result of the Obama Administration's failure to provide the Committee with access to necessary documents and witnesses." They argue that the "Administration's lack of cooperation is directly contrary to its statutory obligation." They also point out that the committee under Feinstein never held a vote to exercise its subpoena power to end this "obstruction." They also point to the fact that the administration has "made repeated and spurious claims of the 'executive' and 'deliberative process' privileges, serving to deny information to the Committee."

While Feinstein et al. argue that the reference in the talking points to al-Qaida "included in early drafts of the talking points was removed by CIA staff, not by the White House," Chambliss et al. correctly point out an email from then-CIA Director David Petraeus on September 15, 2012, in which he stated that the final content of the talking points was the "[National Security Staff's] call, to be sure."

Chambliss et al. state in this respect that "we believe the role of the White House must be fully explored. As we write these Additional Views, we are still without a full understanding of the substance of the Deputies Committee meeting that resulted in the final changes to the talking points, and we have yet to receive a clear explanation of the specific interactions among the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of State on the night of the attacks."