One section of the report seems to allege that U.S. officials fundamentally misunderstood who their allies were at the time. The Republican majority’s report found that 35 Americans were saved not by a “quasi-governmental militia” as previous reports concluded, or even a group the U.S. saw as allies. Instead, the report determines that the Americans were saved by the “Libyan Military Intelligence,” a group composed of military officers under the Moammar Khaddafy regime, the Libyan dictator who the U.S. helped topple just one year earlier.
The February 17 Martyr Brigade, “recommended by the Libyan Government and contractually obligated to provide security to the Mission Compound,” had fled, the report found. “In other words, some of the very individuals the United States helped remove from power during the Libyan revolution were the only Libyans that came to the assistance of the United States on the night of the Benghazi attacks,” the report states.
Last fall, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before the Benghazi committee that Stevens had originally chosen to serve in Benghazi because “he understood America had to be represented there at that pivotal time.”
In previously unreported details, the Republican majority of the committee found that Stevens traveled to the U.S. mission that week to both fill a temporary staffing gap and to spearhead an effort to make Benghazi a permanent diplomatic post.
Witnesses told the committee Stevens was laying the groundwork for a visit by Secretary Clinton just one month later and “the hope was to establish a permanent consulate in Benghazi for the Secretary to present to the Libyan government during her trip.”
Discussions were already underway in Washington for how to fund the upgrades, and one month before the end of the fiscal year there was pressure to assemble a package before available funds were lost.
The report highlights the military’s failure to carry out Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s order to deploy forces to Benghazi and the lengthy delay that prevented the military assets from arriving at the embassy in Tripoli until 2 p.m. the day after the Benghazi attack.
“What was disturbing from the evidence the Committee found was that at the time of the final lethal attack at the Annex, no asset ordered deployed by the Secretary had even left the ground,” the report states.