By Guy Benson:
You can file these developments in the “we sort of already knew this” category, but the additional confirmation is welcome. Remember, the administration-backed probe into the Benghazi massacre led to (since rescinded) sanctions against four mid-level scapegoats — one of whom clearly deserved some blame — while letting higher-level officials off the hook. Indeed, the “Accountability” Review Board declined to even interview the Secretary of State. Yet the White House insisted that its report was comprehensive and closed the door on the matter. In advance of Thursday’s fresh round of hearings, these details indict ARB’s process and conclusions, as well as State’s response:
The State Department’s investigation into the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi was not independent and failed to hold senior State Department officials accountable for the failures that led to the death of four Americans, according to a new investigative report compiled by the House Oversight Committee. The Administrative Review Board, chosen by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, unfairly placed the blame for the terrorist attack on four mid-level officials while ignoring the role of very senior officials in Clinton’s State Department for decisions about security in Benghazi, according to the new report led by Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA). Also, the structure of the ARB and the culture in Clinton’s State Department raised questions about the independence and integrity of the review, according to Issa’s committee.
The Oversight Committee report includes specific names:
Although former Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering, the head of the ARB, said that responsibility should be placed at the assistant secretary level, top officials including Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Beth Jones were never disciplined. The new report by Issa’s committee questions why Under Secretary of State Patrick Kennedy, who admitted to having a role in overseeing the decision to reject requests for more security in Benghazi before the attack, was never blamed or disciplined by the ARB. Moreover, Kennedy played a key role in selecting the members of the ARB and the staff that helped the ARB do its works, Issa’s report revealed. Several officials told Issa’s committee that Kennedy was deeply involved in security decisions and would have been directly involved in the decision not to approve requests for more security in Benghazi before the attacks. “The ultimate decision maker is Under Secretary Kennedy,” testified Eric Boswell, the Assistant Secretary of Diplomatic Security, who was punished by the ARB…The report also questions Clinton’s personal awareness and role in the mistakes that contributed to the attacks.
Beth Jones is the woman who turned her wrath against whistleblower Gregory Hicks after he began questioning the administration’s counter-factual Benghazi talking points. As for Clinton, we know that Amb. Chris Stevens was operating out of the egregiously under-protected diplomatic mission in Benghazi at her behest, and that her signature appeared on the memo that ordered security reductions — despite pleas for beefed up measures.
Read more at Town Hall
Upcoming Benghazi hearings:
- Wednesday, September 18, 10:00am Benghazi: Where is the State Department Accountability? (House Foreign Affairs Committee)
- Thursday, September 19, 3:30pm Defense Department’s posture for September 11, 2013: What are the Lessons of Benghazi? (House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations)
- Thursday, September 19, 9:30am Reviews of the Benghazi Attack and Unanswered Questions (House Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
- DID THE ARB WHITEWASH BENGHAZI? (sofmag.com)
- State Department Benghazi review let top officials off the hook, report says (foxnews.com) Catherine Herridge
State Department Staffers Forced To Mark Benghazi Anniversary On Their Own (tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com)