A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees.
Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.
In the immediate aftermath of the attack, intelligence about who carried it out and why was contradictory, the report found. That led Susan Rice, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to inaccurately assert that the attack had evolved from a protest, when in fact there had been no protest. But it was intelligence analysts, not political appointees, who made the wrong call, the committee found. The report did not conclude that Rice or any other government official acted in bad faith or intentionally misled the American people.
The House Intelligence Committee report was released with little fanfare on the Friday before Thanksgiving week.
"Little fanfare." Remember, before the current immigration hysteria, before the Ebola hysteria, there was the Benghazi hysteria.
Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi! Fox 'News' brought it up at every opportunity. Congressional Republicans held hearing after hearing. Benghazi was the worst thing to ever happen to our country, and Republicans competed on who could invent the most over-the-top Benghazi conspiracy theory.
Undoubtedly, the Benghazi attack was a tragedy. After all, four Americans died. But more than a thousand times as many Americans were killed in Iraq, because we invaded an innocent country based entirely on a lie pushed by the Bush administration. Where are all the hearings about that?
Now, with "little fanfare," the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has just debunked the Benghazi hysteria. But hey, they won the election. That's what counts, right?
Don't get me wrong. Four American officials died at Benghazi, and we have a duty to keep our diplomatic personnel safe. Whenever we lose people, mistakes have been made - pretty much by definition.
But using such tragedies for political purposes doesn't help us identify and correct any mistakes. Hysteria doesn't help. Politically-motivated conspiracy theories certainly don't help.
But hey, if you care more about political power - and money - than you do about that, those things do seem to work. As I say, Republicans won the election. And Fox 'News' makes money hand over fist.