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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Republicans who won’t stop trying to turn the 2012 Benghazi attack into the second coming of Watergate now have even less credibility. The House Intelligence Committee is preparing to release a report that states that the Benghazi scandal is — surprise! — not a scandal at all.

“The House Intelligence Committee, led by Republicans, has concluded that there was no deliberate wrongdoing by the Obama administration in the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans,” Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), the second-ranking Democrat on the committee, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

The committee voted last week to declassify the report, and it will become available to the public once U.S. intelligence agencies approve.

According to Rep. Thompson, the report also “confirms that no one was deliberately misled, no military assets were withheld and no stand-down order (to U.S. forces) was given.”

The committee also found that while intelligence agencies knew there was an increased threat of violence, they “did not have specific tactical warning of an attack before it happened.”

Thompson added that “there was no ‘stand-down order’ given to American personnel attempting to offer assistance that evening, no illegal activity, or illegal arms transfers occurring by U.S. personnel in Benghazi, and no American was left behind.”

So Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) claims that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to “stand down” are completely unfounded.

The report also found that a “mixed group of individuals” was responsible for the attack, and that while the administration’s talking points in the following days were “flawed,” they “reflected the conflicting intelligence assessments in the days immediately following the crisis.”

So although the Obama administration could have been more careful in developing Susan Rice’s talking points, there is no evidence that the administration actually knew who was behind the attacks right away. At the time, the administration stated that the attack was motivated by an anti-Islam video posted on YouTube. The chief suspect in the attack, the recently-arrested Abu Khattala, has even said that he was motivated by the video.

In a press release sent out on Monday, the Democratic National Committee noted, “There have already been seven investigations, 13 hearing, 50 briefings, and 25,000 pages of documents have been released. But that won’t stop Republicans from re-re-re-investigating Benghazi as a part of a crass partisan ploy to turn out the far-right base in November.”

As MSNBC’s Steve Benen notes, Benghazi has already been investigated by the Senate Intelligence Committee, the independent State Department Accountability Review Board, the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

But the investigations aren’t going to stop. The House Select Committee, spearheaded by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), is planning on spending more than $3 million to continue to investigate this incident. And if Clinton runs for president in 2016, the Benghazi conspiracy theories may never end.

Photo via WikiCommons

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