House Report: State Dept. Benghazi Probe Unfairly Protected Senior Officials, Hillary Clinton Blamed

The State Department’s probe into last September’s Benghazi attack wasn’t independent and didn’t hold senior officials responsible for the deaths of four Americans, according to a new investigative report from the House Oversight Committee, notes the Daily Beast.

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s chosen Administrative Review Board unfairly blamed the terrorist attack on four midlevel officials while ignoring the roles of very senior officials in Clinton’s State Department for decisions about security in Benghazi, the HOC report, led by Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), says.

Then-U.S.Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, during a hearing on Capitol Hill on January 23, 2013. (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

In addition, Clinton’s departmental structure and culture led to suspicions about the independence and integrity the review, Issa’s committee notes.

More from the Daily Beast:

The report also questions Clinton’s personal awareness and role in the mistakes that contributed to the attacks.

“Did Secretary Clinton have views on the need to extend the Benghazi mission, both in the fall of 2011 and summer of 2012? Was she consulted on these questions and what, if any, influence did her opinion have on the Department’s decisions?” the report asks.

Issa’s investigation also found that the ARB was rushed in its investigation, completing its work in only 10 weeks, undermining claims by Clinton and President Obama that the ARB conducted a full and complete investigation into the attacks. Also, the committee identified several conflicts of interest between the ARB and the people they were investigating. Jones admitted to the committee that she had close personal and professional relationships with both Pickering and the executive director of the ARB staff Uzra Zeya. Pickering also knew Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Liz Dibble, who had a role in Benghazi security decisions but was not punished after the ARB report. Dibble was subsequently named Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in London.

“For some, including the Department itself, this report represented the final word on the internal failures that contributed to the tragedy in Benghazi. For others, however, the report overvalued certain facts, overlooked others, and failed to address systemic issues that have long plagued the State Department,” the report said.

(H/T: The Daily Beast)