The much anticipated Benghazi Select Committee report released early Tuesday morning reveals former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta order military assets to be deployed to Benghazi, but they never arrived. Two unarmed drones, showing a live feed of the attack, did.
Military assets sat for hours while Americans were under attack and while President Obama's team at the White House debated getting YouTube to take down a video offensive to Muslims, which was of course used as an excuse for the attack.
"You can read this report in less time than our fellow Americans were under attack in Benghazi" Select Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy said during a press conference Tuesday.
Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed eight hours into the attack. Doherty self-deployed with a small team to Benghazi from Tripoli after hearing about the attack.
"Team Tripoli, which included military personnel based at the Tripoli Annex, acted with purpose, precision and ingenuity that night. The Secretary and the Joint Staff did not know those personnel were in Tripoli, much less were they considered as one of the potential assets to respond to the events in Benghazi," the report states. "In fact, they represent the only military 'asset' to reach Benghazi during the attacks. They deployed themselves because fellow Americans needed them."
The question remaining is why the assets never made it. According to the report, President Obama said during the attack to "do everything possible to help our people."
"When the attacks in Benghazi began, the Defense Department was unprepared to respond. Despite there being a missing U.S. Ambassador, its response—from the start of the attack at 9:42 p.m. in Libya, to the amount of time it took for the forces to actually deploy until late the next morning in Libya at best illustrates a rusty bureaucratic process not in keeping with the gravity and urgency of the events happening on the ground. The decisions made earlier in the year by senior State Department officials to maintain a presence in Benghazi without adequate security forces and an inadequately fortified Mission compound contributed to what amounted to a worst case scenario of circumstances that would test the military’s preparedness and ability to respond," the report states. "Nevertheless, the Defense Department did not pass the test. Whether this failure is shouldered by it alone, or rests in part on decisions made by the State Department in Washington D.C. or with the White House who presided over a two hour meeting where half of the action items related to an anti-Muslim video wholly unconnected to the attacks, is one of the lingering questions about Benghazi."
"What is clear is the Secretary of Defense testified he was clear on both what the President ordered and what he ordered subsequent to the initial attack. Yet, no asset was ever ordered to respond to Benghazi and the decisions made and not made coupled with a lack of urgency in Washington D.C. delayed the response even, in some instances, with an Ambassador missing," the report continues.
UPDATE: Could it be that military assets never left the ground because the State Department was arguing about which uniforms the Marines should have been wearing on their rescue missing? Wow.
Most damning part of the Benghazi report for Clinton (via NBC) pic.twitter.com/ELb2dW3fUU— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) June 28, 2016
The report is nearly 900-pages long. We will post additional reporting as we get through it.
This post has been updated with additional information.