The Latest: State Dept: Benghazi outpost was no mistake

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Posted: Jun 28, 2016 2:55 PM
The Latest: State Dept: Benghazi outpost was no mistake

WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest on the House GOP Benghazi report, released Tuesday (all times local):

2:15 p.m.

The State Department says it was not a mistake to have the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi and that it hopes to be back in Libya.

Department spokesman Mark Toner says Benghazi was an important outpost during the civil war and nobody believed in the importance of being there more than Chris Stevens did. Toner says Stevens was not alone in thinking that it was important for the U.S. to have representation there.

Toner also disputed one of the report's claims that a security team sat on a plane in Rota, Spain, for three hours and that team members changed in and out of their uniforms four times. He says the implication that there was a delay in responding because of debate over whether they should go in wearing uniforms or not.

He says that at no point did that consideration caused any delay in the deployment of military assets.

The U.S. left Benghazi after the attack. It pulled out of Libya altogether in July 2014.

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2:10 p.m.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says a House committee's assertion that the military was too slow to respond to the attack on the consulate in Benghazi has already been "debunked."

Earnest says a separate investigation led by the House Intelligence committee has concluded those charges are not true. He says: "There's just no there there."

After Republicans unveiled their findings Tuesday, Earnest derided the House probe as an expensive stunt aimed solely at damaging former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's presidential prospects.

He says the investigation is so politically motivated that the Republican party should disclose it as an "in-kind contribution."

He says this is a Republican attempt to seek "political advantage out of a terribly tragedy."

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1:50 p.m.

Hillary Rodham Clinton says the House Benghazi committee found nothing different than previous investigations into the 2012 attack that killed four Americans.

Clinton says no one has lost more sleep than she has over the attack which occurred while she was secretary of State

She said at a campaign stop in Denver that after more than two years, the committee "found nothing, nothing, to contradict the conclusions of the independent accountability board," that previously investigated the attack.

The committee faulted the Obama administration Tuesday for lax security and a slow response to the attacks, but it produced no new allegations about Clinton.

Clinton's campaign has slammed the report as partisan. She said, "I'll leave it to others to characterize this report, but I think it's pretty clear it's time to move on,"

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10:45 a.m.

Republicans on the House Benghazi Committee are divided over whether to directly blame then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the events that killed four Americans in Libya in 2012.

One committee member, Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas, calls Clinton's actions "morally reprehensible" and says "you have every right to be disgusted" by the response from her and others. Republicans have accused Clinton of deliberately misleading the public about the reasons for the attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

But the panel's chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, says he's not "in the business of apportioning culpability."

Pressed on whether he endorses the GOP bumper-sticker slogan that "Hillary Lied, People Died" Gowdy says: "You don't see that T-shirt on me, you haven't seen that bumper sticker on any of my vehicles."

And Gowdy demurred when asked directly whether Clinton lied. "That's a word you couldn't use in a courtroom" the former prosecutor says.

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10:15 a.m.

House Benghazi committee Republicans are imploring Americans to read their report as they unveil it at a news conference at the Capitol.

Chairman Trey Gowdy insists the report contains new information that should reshape views of the attacks in Benghazi, Libya in 2012 that killed four Americans. He says reading it "pillar to post" would take less time than Americans spent fighting for their lives that night.

The 800-page report faults the military for its slow response sending resources to Benghazi despite clear orders from the president on down.

But Democrats, who released their own report on Monday to pre-empt the GOP version, say Republicans have been on a political witch hunt against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton without uncovering anything new.

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10:10 a.m.

Hillary Clinton's campaign is slamming Republicans in Congress over the final report of their investigation of the deadly 2012 attacks on a U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya.

Spokesman Brian Fallon says in a statement the report has "not found anything to contradict the conclusions of the multiple, earlier investigations."

Fallon says that's evidence the House Benghazi Committee's chief goal was to politicize the deaths of four people killed in the attack "in order to try to attack the Obama administration and hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign."

Fallon says the way in which the committee released the report shows the GOP members of the committee "are clearly seeking to avoid any fact-checking of their discredited conspiracy theories."

Republicans on the panel released the report a day after Democrats presented their own version, highlighting the deeply partisan nature of the inquiry.

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10 a.m.

A report by the House Benghazi panel is faulting the military for its slow response sending resources to Benghazi, Libya, during deadly 2012 attacks on a U.S. outpost — despite clear orders from President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

Republicans on the Benghazi committee released the 800-page report Tuesday on the attacks that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

The panel's chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, says "nothing was en route to Libya at the time the last two Americans were killed almost eight hours after the attacks began."

Gowdy says the Libyan forces that evacuated Americans from the CIA annex in Benghazi were not affiliated with any of the militias the CIA or State Department had developed a relationship with during the previous 18 months.