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Select Committee On Benghazi Releases Final Report


House Republicans investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, have come to a conclusion. The Obama administration did not understand the dangers on the ground or do enough to save the lives of the four Americans who were killed. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Two years, 81 new witnesses, an estimated cost of $7 million. But the final report by the House Select Committee on Benghazi doesn't appear to have uncovered major new facts about the role of Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, now the presumptive Democratic nominee for the White House. The Benghazi panel's chairman, Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, insists targeting Clinton wasn't his job.


TREY GOWDY: Look at the resolution. The resolution doesn't mention Secretary Clinton. Speaker Boehner nor Speaker Ryan have ever asked me to do anything about 2016 presidential politics. Speaker Boehner asked me to find out what happened to four of our fellow citizens, and I believe that that is what I have done.

JOHNSON: The 800-page report cites failures across the Obama administration for ignoring dire warnings about security lapses in Benghazi before the attacks, and for allegedly spending more energy on damage control with the media than trying to rescue the Americans under siege. Jim Jordan is a Republican lawmaker from Ohio.


JIM JORDAN: Publicly telling the American people it was a video-inspired protest, privately telling the truth that it was a terrorist attack.

JOHNSON: Jordan and his fellow conservative, Mike Pompeo of Kansas, took the unusual step of releasing their own conclusions. Their report criticizes the Obama administration for allegedly stonewalling congressional investigators. And it blasts Clinton directly for promoting U.S. intervention in Libya and other leadership failures. Congressman Pompeo.


MIKE POMPEO: If it was your son or your daughter or one of your family members or friends who were on that ground that night and you watched the actions in Washington, D.C., you'd have every right to be disgusted.

JOHNSON: White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the entire effort was designed to tear down Clinton's poll numbers.


JOSH EARNEST: It's pretty clear what their motives are. That's why I guess the only question that remains is whether or not this $7 million in-kind contribution will be correctly reported on the next month's FEC campaign finance disclosure by the RNC.

JOHNSON: At a technology event in Colorado, Clinton says she regrets the tragedy has turned partisan.


HILLARY CLINTON: The best way to honor the commitment and sacrifice of those we lost is to redouble our efforts to provide the resources and support that our diplomats and our development experts deserve.

JOHNSON: Clinton says after multiple investigations by Congress and the State Department, it's time to move on. But her assessment may be optimistic. The Benghazi Committee's most significant legacy may be its work uncovering Clinton's use of a private email server to conduct government business at the State Department. That issue remains under investigation by the FBI. Carrie Johnson, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Carrie Johnson
Carrie Johnson is NPR's National Justice Correspondent.