Benghazi Chairman’s Own Counsel Undercuts Conservative Myth That Benghazi Response Was Willfully Negligent
The former chief counsel to Benghazi committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) reportedly “repeatedly commended the military’s actions” responding to the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks, undercutting conservative media claims that there were additional assets the military could have deployed to save more lives as the attacks unfolded.
Conservative media, led by Fox News, have for years attempted to scandalize the Obama administration’s response to the 2012 Benghazi attacks, often claiming — in the face of numerous investigations and testimony to the contrary — that CIA and military personnel were prevented from taking actions that could have saved the Americans who were killed during the attacks. As recently as last week, Fox hosted two anonymous witnesses who claimed that there were actions the military could have taken to save more lives.
On May 16, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Ranking Member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, released a letter sent to Gowdy detailing that his “own former Republican Chief Counsel … repeatedly commended the military’s actions” during the attack. The counsel allegedly told Leon Panetta, who was secretary of defense at the time of the attack, “I think you ordered exactly the right forces to move out and to head toward a position where they could reinforce what was occurring in Benghazi,” and, “I don’t mean to suggest that anything could have been done differently to affect the outcome in Benghazi, and I think you would agree with that.” Gowdy’s former counsel also reportedly told the Defense Department’s former chief of staff, Jeremy Bash, “I would posit that from my perspective … we could not have affected the response to what occurred by 5:15 in the morning on the 12th of September in Benghazi.”
Cummings noted, “The conclusions of your former Republican Chief Counsel match almost exactly the findings” from previous investigations into the attacks, which found that all available resources were deployed in response to the attack. Cummings also lambasted Gowdy for “damag[ing] the credibility of the Select Committee beyond repair” by “dragging out the investigation so close to the presidential election” and “demanding that the Defense Department waste countless hours and taxpayer funds” in pursuit of a non-existent smoking gun.