As analysts widely suspected prior to its release, the official report by the U.S. government's Accountability Review Board about the attack on the U.S. compound in the Libyan city of Benghazi ignored the most explosive “BenghaziGate” scandals: the Obama administration’s lawless arming of jihadists in Libya and Syria, as well as the blatant falsehoods parroted by White House officials for days after the killing of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Instead, the “investigation,” discussed by the State Department at a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, focused on the obvious fact that security was inadequate, and predictably, demanded more taxpayer money for the Department of State.
Numerous experts, officials, and even lawmakers have long suggested that the Obama administration was engaged in a ham-handed coverup surrounding the deadly attack in Benghazi since the news first broke. Unsurprisingly, however, the unclassified version of the congressionally mandated, State Department-run investigation — despite some relatively unimportant details about the event itself — offers few clues about the real scandals that continue to swirl around the president and his lawless activities throughout Libya and the broader region.
Among the most glaring omissions in the report were the real questions that were not even raised, let alone addressed:
• What was the Obama administration’s full role in helping violent Jihadists, self-styled al Qaeda terrorists, and Western-backed “revolutionaries” take over Libya in the first place?
• Did that half-baked scheme to arm Jihadist leaders, who as the report acknowledges had previously fought U.S. troops in Iraq, contribute to the attack, as countless experts and officials have suggested?
• What was actually going on at the compound in Benghazi, which as the report states, was never a “consulate” despite establishment media claims?
• Was Ambassador Stevens recruiting and arming Jihadists and terrorists to wage war on the Syrian regime after what Obama called the “success” in Libya, as a growing body of credible evidence suggests?
• Why did the administration claim for so long that the attack was just a “protest” over a YouTube video gone awry, even when it knew definitively that was not the case?
• Was the lack of security at the compound a political ploy to conceal the extent of the lawlessness and utter chaos left in the wake of Obama’s unconstitutional “regime change” war on Libya, as even members of Congress have alleged?
None of those questions are even acknowledged in the report. But if Washington, D.C., was hoping to sweep the issues under the rug or focus the public’s attention on trivialities instead of the big picture with its latest “investigation,” it has failed miserably. The inquiry, conducted by the so-called “Accountability Review Board,” is already being blasted by critics as a "whitewash" and a coverup. Even the pro-Obama establishment media have been offering some tepid criticism of the final report.
Washington Post writer Jennifer Rubin, for example, wrote a piece entitled “The unaccountability review board” blasting the investigation as essentially a farce aimed at ensuring that nobody in the upper echelons of the administration is held accountable. Noting that the report does say there were no protests before the attack, Rubin slammed the “inquiry” for failing to explain why top Obama administration officials claimed publicly for so long that the deadly assault resulted from a demonstration against a crude YouTube film.
A hard-hitting opinion column in Investors’ Business Daily, meanwhile, explained that the latest cover up is just standard operating procedure for the U.S. government. “The report from the Accountability Review Board … is only one tiny piece of a vast bureaucratic ballet that has evolved in Washington over decades to handle hot issues, even deadly ones like Benghazi, with minimal damage to the politicians and bureaucrats in power at the time,” noted political commentator Andrew Malcolm in the piece, entitled "The Benghazi Report: How Smoothly Washington Washes Away its Scandals."
The purpose, he said, is to shift people’s attention away from real scandals using what essentially amounts to deceitful PR tactics, and the establishment press often plays along. “It's an amazingly sophisticated and bipartisan procedure that looks sound to naive eyes,” Malcolm continued. “It's built upon powerful self-interest and savvy strategic communications that manages and manipulates information and the timing of its release to minimize damage to incumbents and to dampen ongoing media interest in pursuing an embarrassing matter further.”
Syndicated columnist and conservative author Diana West also slammed the blatant whitewash and the way in which it managed to avoid placing any responsibility on anyone in the administration. “The Benghazi Report is out and it's official: President Obama, SecState Hillary Clinton, CIA Director Petraeus all had nothing to do with the US government response to the attack on the US mission in Benghazi,” she wrote, adding that their names were not even mentioned in the report. “The red flags didn't go up over this so-called investigation for nothing. The White House isn't just whitewashed in the report, it's whited-out.”
Aside from failing to properly investigate and document the role of senior officials in the scandal, the report also failed to even mention the non-stop spewing of lies by the administration surrounding the attack itself, which the report confirms yet again was not preceded by any protest at all. “The unasked $64,000 question remains: Why did the Obama administration — Obama, Hillary, Petraeus, Rice — lie to the American people and the world (and, in Petraeus' case, to Congress) that it was free speech about Islam that led to ‘protests’ that led to the attack?” West wondered. The American people are no closer to knowing the answer now than they were when the attack happened.
The board members running the inquiry have themselves come under scrutiny, too — WorldNetDaily correspondent Aaron Klein, who has played a key role exposing some elements of Benghazigate, pointed out that lead investigator Thomas Pickering has largely unreported ties to the Western-backed “revolutions” sweeping parts of the Middle East and North Africa. Pickering, a former ambassador, is also a board member for a George Soros front known as the “International Crisis Group,” one of the chief advocates of the “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine invoked by NATO to wage its devastating war on Libya in the first place.
Perhaps the most important element of the Benghazigate scandal and coverup is the true purpose of the compound, which likely played a role in the reason that it came under assault in the first place. “Those activities, the aiding of jihadist rebels battling Middle East regimes, may be relevant in determining why the Benghazi facility was attacked Sept. 11,” Klein noted, referring to the administration’s role in recruiting and arming “revolutionaries” to overthrow various governments in the region.
Neither the identity of the perpetrators nor their motivations were hinted at in the report, which said only that the FBI was investigating. Despite the lack of substance and answers to real questions in the report, however, there are some interesting facts in the document that remain largely unknown to the American public that are discussed in a companion article.
According to analysts, it appears that the main purpose of the report was to deflect criticism and potentially even criminal responsibility away from President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former CIA boss David Petraeus, and others. Just as important, however, is the fact that the report barely even acknowledged the real questions about the attack that must be answered.
Since the “investigation” was released, several State Department officials have resigned. But the individuals and officials who should actually be held responsible for the deadly assault and the subsequent lies — both the attackers in Libya and the administration bosses in Washington, D.C. — have not even been identified, let alone held accountable. More resignations may be forthcoming, but analysts say those will almost certainly be lower-level “fall guys” as well.
Critics have noted that if something is not done to ensure real accountability and justice, it makes another deadly attack on Americans even more likely. The lawless foreign policy and unconstitutional wars that experts know cause blowback in the first place, meanwhile, have once again escaped serious scrutiny — at least for now.
Photo of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) at a December 20 hearing on the investigation into the Benghazi attack: AP Images
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is currently based in Europe. He can be reached at