Benghazi Conspiracy Theory Collapses (Again)

Benghazi Conspiracy Theory Collapses (Again)

For years, conspiracy-minded Republicans have insisted that someone in the Obama administration — usually, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — issued a “stand-down order” to the U.S. military on the night of the 2012 attack at the U.S. mission in Benghazi, preventing a Special Operations team from intervening and saving the lives of the four Americans who died in the assault.

According to newly released testimony, they are flat-out wrong.

As the Associated Pressreported on Friday, transcripts of hours of testimony from nine military officers were made public this week, completely disproving the conspiracy theory:

The “stand-down” theory centers on a Special Operations team — a detachment leader, a medic, a communications expert and a weapons operator with his foot in a cast — that was stopped from flying from Tripoli to Benghazi after the attacks of Sept. 11-12, 2012, had ended. Instead, it was instructed to help protect and care for those being evacuated from Benghazi and from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli.

The senior military officer who issued the instruction to “remain in place” and the detachment leader who received it said it was the right decision and has been widely mischaracterized. The order was to remain in Tripoli and protect some three-dozen embassy personnel rather than fly to Benghazi some 600 miles away after all Americans there would have been evacuated. And the medic is credited with saving the life of an evacuee from the attacks.

The report goes on to note that “despite lingering public confusion over many events that night, the testimony shows military leaders largely in agreement over how they responded to the attacks.”

This is not the first time the “stand-down order” myth has been debunked; Lt. Colonel S.E. Gibson and General Martin Dempsey had already told Congress as much. But the report’s timing could prove particularly problematic for the congressional Republicans who have repeatedly pushed the myth.

It arrives as the House Select Committee tasked with probing the attack for the eighth time is “ramping up” its investigation. And as the National Journal’s Lucia Graves points out, the panel happens to be filled with Republicans who have eagerly pushed the conspiracy.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the committee chairman, suggested that the Benghazi attack “kinda undercuts” the principle that “we’re not gonna send anybody into harm’s way under our flag without adequate protection, and if they get in trouble we are gonna go get ’em. We’re gonna save ’em. Or at least we’re gonna make a heck of an effort to do it.”

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) has said that the military “had the opportunity” to take action, but didn’t.

Rep. Jim Jordan wondered, “Why weren’t we running to the sound of the guns?”

Well, now their questions have been answered — again — yet the panel is still planning to spend up to $3.3 million to relitigate them. And the task of explaining why they need to spend more than the yearly budget of the House Veterans Affairs Committee or the House Ethics Committee to keep asking questions that have already been answered just got a lot harder.

Photo: Speaker Boehner via Flickr

Want more political news and analysis? Sign up for our daily email newsletter!

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Sucking Up: House Republicans Want To Give Trump A Gold Medal

Rep. Matt Gaetz outside the New York Supreme Court for Trump trial on May 15, 2024

Donald Trump

The first Congressional Gold Medal was struck in 1776 as a way of saying thanks to George Washington. Since then, the medal has been awarded just 184 times to hallowed figures including Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama. Compared to the 647 civilian Presidential Medals of Freedom or the 3,517 military Medals of Honor, the Congressional Gold Medal is the rarest of the great honors awarded in America.

Keep reading...Show less
Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani's efforts to help Donald Trump overturn the 2020 presidential election results have resulted in both civil lawsuits and two criminal indictments for the former New York City mayor. Giuliani is among Trump's co-defendants in Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis' election interference case, and in late April, he was indicted by a grand jury in a separate election interference case being prosecuted by State Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat, in Arizona.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}