US House Democrats issue Benghazi report to defend Clinton
Washington, June 28 (IANS) The Democrats on the House Select Committee released their own report to refute accusations against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her role in the 2012 terror attack on Libya’s capital Benghazi.
The House Democrats on Monday said they issued the 339-page report because it is “long past time” for the Republican-led select committee investigating the terror attack on the US consulate in Benghazi to conclude its work, Xinhua news agency reported.
Four Americans including US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens were killed on September 11, 2012 when the consulate was attacked by armed militants.
Clinton, now presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has been accused by the Republicans for being responsible for the terror attack as she had denied numerous requests for increased security protection from the US diplomats in Libya.
The Republicans also questioned Clinton’s characterisation of the attack, as she initially said that the attack was only inspired by a controversial anti-Islamic Youtube video rather than a planned terror attack.
The horrid attack triggered several investigations by Congress and the State Department, which faulted some State Department officials for ignoring requests for more guards and safety upgrade for US diplomatic facilities in Libya.
In May 2014, then House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, announced to form a House select committee to conduct further investigation into the Benghazi attack.
But the Democrats have decried the formation of the Republican-led committee as an attempt by the Republicans to conduct a political witch hunt for Clinton, who was then slated to enter the 2016 presidential race.
In the Monday report, the Democrats said nothing uncovered by the select committee will change the underlying narrative about the 2012 attack.
The report revealed transcripts of interviews with dozens of officials from the White House, State Department, Pentagon, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
It also denied reports that Clinton never personally denied requests for additional security from the US diplomats in Libya ahead of the attack.
The Republicans in the House select committee are prepared to release very soon the formal report on the committee’s investigation, which is expected to be very critical of Clinton’s role in the Benghazi attack.
By releasing the report on Monday, the Democrats aimed to counteract the Republicans’ attack as the presidential race kicks into high gear ahead of the national conventions by the two parties in July.