Originally appeared at DWN, translated by John T. Sumner exclusively for SouthFront; Edited by Alexandros Spiliotis
A new report, regarding an incident among the utter chaos in Libya, is putting Hillary Clinton under heavy pressure. The report reveals that the State Department under Clinton leadership was proven unable to liberate a number of its own citizens, when the latter found themselves in a hostage situation. Instead, Clinton relied on local militias to resolve the crisis; the situation ended with the US citizens rescued by a group of soldiers loyal to the ousted President Ghaddafi, who moved the citizens out of harm´s way.
The Republicans in the US Congress accused the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton of “serious omissions” in connection with the deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya in 2012. The 800-page report, presented on Tuesday, is likely to put Clinton under further pressure, as she then was the United States Secretary of State.
On Tuesday, Congressman and committee chairman Trey Gowdy published the report, accompanied by an appreciation of the four US citizens who were killed in those days. Among those killed was Ambassador Chris Stevens.
In the investigation report, the members of the (Republican-dominated) committee are accusing current presidential contender Clinton of misunderstanding and underestimating the extremist threat. In essence, the point is that the US government admitted the reality of a terror attack only after days of hesitation. Earlier, the attack had been presented as the spontaneous reaction of a random crowd to an anti-Islamic video produced in the US.
“We expect our government to do everything to ensure the safety of American citizens”, congressman Mike Pompeo said. “That has not happened in Benghazi”. The report implies that political considerations were valued higher than the lives of US citizens, since it suggests that many officials in the US government would have rated the incident to be a planned “terrorist attack” already early on; the political decision to officially rate it as such, though, was not immediately taken.
Many of the facts presented in the report were already known. The new element is the acknowledgement of the inability of the US Army to protect Americans in Libya. When the incident broke, despite express orders from US President Barack Obama, no US military forces were deployed to evacuate the American citizens from Benghazi. Under Clinton leadership, it was common practice for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to cooperate with local militias, who nevertheless were unwilling to free the hostages at the time, even though they were under contract with the Foreign Ministry. In the end, the US citizens were liberated by a unit of former Qaddafi troops, who evacuated them from the besieged embassy, under CIA guidance.
Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton stated that the report contained nothing new, and as such it would be time to end the debate on this issue.
In October, Clinton herself testified before the inquiry committee, claiming full political responsibility for those operations. However, she rejected all accusations, which were made by Republicans, and are found in the recently published report. In her defense, she claimed not to have been personally involved in the security arrangements for the consulate at the time.
In its investigation report, submitted in January 2014, the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that the attack could have been prevented, if the necessary measures were taken.