(Video above: Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL2) discusses Benghazi Committee’s report)
WASHINGTON — A report two years in the making on the 2011 terrorist attack in Benghazi provides conclusive evidence that the United States government “failed its people and lied to the public,” according to U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL2), one of the members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
“This investigation has uncovered a ton of new information, which leads to a much clearer understanding of the events before, during, and after the terrorist attack in Benghazi,” said Roby. “While our guys were on the ground taking gunfire and mortar attacks, Washington was moving at a snail’s pace.”
Roby, who focused on aspects of the committee’s investigation related to the Department of Defense, said the Obama administration was “more concerned about diplomatic sensitivities with the Libyans and promoting its policy agenda as successful than it was about the safety of the Americans it sent there.”
In particular, the Benghazi Committee’s investigation found that a “Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) sat on a plane in Rota, Spain, for three hours, and changed in and out of their uniforms four times.” The numerous uniform changes were the result of a political debate over whether it would upset the Libyans for U.S. armed forces to arrive wearing their gear rather than civilian clothes.
“At the end of the day, no military assets directed by Washington ever moved toward Benghazi,” said Roby. “The bottom line is that Washington failed to have our guy’s back when they needed it. From my perspective, this lack of urgency demonstrates either incompetence or indifference, or both.”
The committee’s investigation also found that it was the militia of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi — who U.S. armed forces had previously helped oust from power — that escorted the Americans on the ground in Benghazi to the airport and allowed them to escape the country.
“We know now that but for the bravery of a few Americans and the unexpected response of Gaddafi’s underground militia, there would have been an even greater loss of American life that night,” said Roby.
In the aftermath of the attack, the Obama administration at first insisted that the genesis of the conflict was a YouTube video that led to a spontaneous protest that turned violent.
According to the Benghazi Committee’s final report, “there was no mention of the video from the agents on the ground. Greg Hicks—one of the last people to talk to (Ambassador) Chris Stevens before he died—said there was virtually no discussion about the video in Libya leading up to the attacks.”
In fact, “(then UN Ambassador) Susan Rice’s comments (about the YouTube video) on the Sunday talk shows were met with shock and disbelief by State Department employees in Washington. The Senior Libya Desk Officer, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, State Department, wrote: ‘I think Rice was off the reservation on this one.’ The Deputy Director, Office of Press and Public Diplomacy, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, State Department, responded: ‘Off the reservation on five networks!'”
“In this case, the American government failed its people and lied to the public in the aftermath,” Roby concluded. “This is unacceptable, and I know that our report shines a bright light on these events so we can prevent this from ever happening again.”