The top Democrat on the House investigative committee asked Speaker John A. Boehner to retract a report five of his committee chairmen released this week that places blame for the lack of security at the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi at the feet of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland Democrat, said he’s reviewed the critical April 19 “Clinton cable” that the GOP says Mrs. Clinton signed, and that conveyed the department’s decision not to boost security ahead of last year’s terrorist attack. Mr. Cummings said Mrs. Clinton’s name is typed, not signed, at the bottom of the cable, which he said is routine.
“Although a telephone call could have clarified this issue in a matter of moments, you chose not to check with the department before making these highly inflammatory and erroneous accusations in a public forum,” Mr. Cummings said in a letter to Mr. Boehner. “The allegations in your staff report are false, extremely irresponsible, and lack even a rudimentary understanding of how State Department cables are processed.”
On Tuesday, the chairmen of the House Judiciary, Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight and Government Reform committees, as well as the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released an interim report summarizing their investigation so far into the chain of events leading to last year’s attack and the botched explanation the administration gave in the immediate aftermath.
The chairmen cleared the intelligence community of blame, saying it gave plenty of warning that an attack could happen. The chairmen also cleared the Pentagon, saying the military did what it could to respond, but its hands were tied.
Instead, the lawmakers said it was Mr. Obama and his aides at the White House and Mrs. Clinton and her team at the State Department who failed.