GOP House Armed Services Chair exonerates Obama, Hillary over Benghazi

GOP Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, the Republican chair of the House Armed Services Committee, says he’s satisfied with how the US military – and ergo the Obama administration – responded to the deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, including the US ambassador to Libya.

The news also exonerates expected Democratic presidential nominee, and then-Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. More on that in a moment.

“I think I’ve pretty well been satisfied that given where the troops were, how quickly the thing all happened and how quickly it dissipated, we probably couldn’t have done more than we did,” McKeon said to reporters today, as quoted by AP.

McKeon then went on to plant a not-so-subtle dig at fellow Republicans who keep harping on “Benghazi” as if there were a real scandal there.

“We have been working on this for a long time. We issued a preliminary report,” McKeon said. “At some point, when we run out of people to talk to, or we run out of people to talk to two or three times, at some point, we think we’ll have as much of this story as we’re going to get and move on.”

Put a fork in that GOP talking point.

Lead Benghazi cheerleader Lindsey Graham has been focused on getting the bottom.

Lead Benghazi cheerleader Lindsey Graham has been focused on getting to the bottom.

The Republicans have been trying to make political hay of Benghazi since the attack, which took place on September 11, 2012, only a few months before the presidential election.

But it’s been an uphill climb for the GOP as the American people apparently understood that while four people dying was a tragic thing, it was just as tragic when some 13 attacks on US diplomatic missions during the Bush years killed 17 Americans. That’s like four Benghazis.

Of course, the actual 9/11, which was also under George Bush’s watch, was like 744 Benghazis, but who’s counting.

The GOP – well, apparently only some in the GOP, now – claim that the Obama administration got their public statements wrong immediately after the attacks because they were trying to downplay the terror angle right before the election.

In fact, the Obama administration’s statement, that the attacks weren’t necessarily terrorism, but may have been simply an angry mob gone wrong, provoked in part by an anti-Muslim/anti-Mohammed video that was posted on YouTube, were backed up by a further investigation from the NYT.

From that earlier NYT story:

Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault. The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam

Benghazi was not infiltrated by Al Qaeda….

The violence, though, also had spontaneous elements. Anger at the video motivated the initial attack. Dozens of people joined in, some of them provoked by the video and others responding to fast-spreading false rumors that guards inside the American compound had shot Libyan protesters. Looters and arsonists, without any sign of a plan, were the ones who ravaged the compound after the initial attack, according to more than a dozen Libyan witnesses as well as many American officials who have viewed the footage from security cameras….

There is no doubt that anger over the video motivated many attackers. A Libyan journalist working for The New York Times was blocked from entering by the sentries outside, and he learned of the film from the fighters who stopped him. Other Libyan witnesses, too, said they received lectures from the attackers about the evil of the film and the virtue of defending the prophet.


And now we have the lead House Republican on defense matters saying that not only did the administration not drop the ball in how it handled Benghazi, but that the Republicans seem to be the ones dropping the ball on the never-ending and unnecessary investigations of Benghazi.

And an even bigger problem for Republicans is that McKeon’s admission helps Hillary Clinton immensely.

Republicans were trying to allege that the Obama administration, and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, dropped the ball in terms of responding militarily to the Benghazi attacks. Here’s GOP Senator, and possible presidential candidate, Rand Paul last September:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) suggested Tuesday that Hillary Clinton’s response to the terrorist attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, should disqualify her from serving as commander in chief.


If that White House job doesn’t pan out for Rand Paul…

While Paul didn’t name the former secretary of state by name, he said he suspected the decision not to dispatch a rescue effort to the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi was made by “a politician,” because the military would never allow something like that to happen without sending troops.


Apparently, Rand Paul’s understanding of military matters is somewhat lacking.

So kids, that “3AM call” did in fact come. And it seems it was the Republicans who had no idea how to answer the phone.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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91 Responses to “GOP House Armed Services Chair exonerates Obama, Hillary over Benghazi”

  1. Moderator3 says:

    It really doesn’t help to post the same comment under two different usernames. Your IP didn’t change.

  2. Kat Matthews says:

    Hillarys State dept denied security not the republicans,,, you are being brainwashed,,, The bill went to the senate and Reid sat on it,,, it was never voted on in the SENATE!!!! Who rules the senate?? DEMOCRATS!!!!

  3. Kat Matthews says:

    The weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was started in the Clinton administration, A lot of democrats voted to go to war such as Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi,,,, It was not just a Bush war…

  4. Guest says:

    The weapons of mass destruction was started in the Clinton administration. And a lot od democrats voted to go to war in Iraq such as Hillary Clinton,,, google… this was not Just a Bush war.

  5. Reynard Vulpes says:

    What was the ambassador doing there? Shutting the place down to get everyone back to the Embassy that had better security.

  6. Reynard Vulpes says:

    You seem to not understand logistics and tactics. Aerial attacks would have been out of the question. The consulate was in a heavily populated area.

    The Libyan security forces were supposed to be closing in on the compound (it was a lie, but not the administration’s lie) and our own security and consular personnel were on the ground in close proximity to the attackers.

    We’d have killed more of our own than the attackers more than likely. No clear targets were being presented in enough isolation to stop collateral damage.

    Note that all the vids you see of successful drone hits (that DIDN’T have collateral damage) the targets were clear, such as in motor cars, or small gatherings in open areas, or a building that could be hit.

    Just what would Close Air Support have aimed at?

  7. Craig Robinson says:

    Dead beats?? The Obama administration and the liberal party is a dead beats dream team!!

  8. Michiel1965 says:

    Yes he does Michelle, you are so right. It is unbelievable how right you are!!! Obombya? Well found wordjoke!!!

  9. Michiel1965 says:

    but but they are still hidden, moved to Neverneverland! Benghazi!

  10. grizmusicinpa says:

    Let them show themselves.

  11. D B says:

    There is nobody and I mean absolutely nobody with more blood on their hands than George W Bush and the men and women injured in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to die on a daily basis so the waterfall of blood on Bush is still going!

  12. freshman22 says:

    What was worst Iraq or Benghazi?

  13. Larry Dague says:

    They are NEVER wrong Dave..never have been in their entire lives. There is always a deflection, distraction….or maybe just: “Well he would have done it wrong if he had a chance”…these are the sociopaths that make up the conservative power today

  14. Larry Dague says:

    The comments here are EXACTLY what I expect. When Bush was shown to be a liar in Iraq, you people simply said: “They moved them to syria” will live longer if you learn to admit error and apologize

  15. Larry Dague says:

    lol republicans NEVER apologize..Bush’s hand picked team found no WOMD….no impeachment..not even a hearing on it. They have spewed hatred and demanded legal action on Benghazi and screwed up again..they will say absolutely nothing…I would hate to be kids growing up in these households where dad beats the kid for doing something wrong..the kid is exhonerated…and dad says nothing..when the kid asks he beats the kid again for asking. Wonder where the David Koresh’s of the world come from? They grow up in these households.

  16. Michelle Black says:

    Evidence gathered in Syria, along with flight-control data and
    interviews with militia members, smugglers, rebels, analysts and
    officials in several countries, offers a profile of a complex and active
    multinational effort, financed largely by Qatar, to transport arms from
    Libya to Syria’s opposition fighters. Libya’s own former fighters, who
    sympathize with Syria’s rebels, have been eager collaborators.

  17. Michelle Black says:

    Whats it like in Dumb [email protected] stan?

    Evidence gathered in Syria, along with flight-control data and
    interviews with militia members, smugglers, rebels, analysts and
    officials in several countries, offers a profile of a complex and active
    multinational effort, financed largely by Qatar, to transport arms from
    Libya to Syria’s opposition fighters. Libya’s own former fighters, who
    sympathize with Syria’s rebels, have been eager collaborators.

  18. desert_speaks says:

    Oops, john aravosis is just another left wing flag waving commie! chow down on that party line and regurgitate it for us,.. mmm yummy!
    Mr. aravosis, or is it halitosis, you’re a wonk!

  19. kuvasz says:

    That much projection needs an IMAX screen.

  20. kuvasz says:

    Clearly, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, has been compromised by Obamites at the CIA and NSA!

    btw did anyone note that the guy was not running for election?

  21. Tor says:

    I always say, “Follow the money.”

  22. Walter Buddy Knowles says:

    right on

  23. Walter Buddy Knowles says:

    lol…..what were we doing in Benghazi? REALLY

  24. Kriegar says:

    Maybe he was ready to graduate to the private sector. Keep an eye on where he goes.

  25. Kriegar says:

    We’ll see. I wouldn’t be lulled into believing that. Let’s watch what direction his career takes.

  26. Kriegar says:

    I doubt it’s over. Don’t vote for her, that’s your right. I will.

  27. Kriegar says:

    Don’t bitch. This has not always been an unproductive exercise.

  28. Kriegar says:

    Everyone wants to call everyone a moron. Ridiculous. The CIA, having full knowledge of clandestine operations, stages a multitude of occurrences. Upon observation of response, they choose the weakest place and hit.

    President and Administration discredited in ensuing propaganda campaign. Classic CIA, classic Warhawk mentality.

  29. Kriegar says:

    “conspiracy theories” are never “stupid”.

    They ask questions, and bring about investigations that, if responded too honestly, would be of great benefit to our nation and its’ people.

  30. Kriegar says:

    “person”. Let’s not be discriminatory.

  31. Kriegar says:

    Although I agree with you generally, I would never underestimate the stupidity of the CIA, nor their involvement in anything. The little bit that we do know about them shows that they know no bounds.

  32. Kriegar says:

    Why? Why do you make this specious claim? You dislike the dissemination of information? You dislike having a complete picture of a situation?

    Even if you are an anti-Obama…person…you should not be so anti-American as to wish to gut the first Amendment, or the freedom of the press. Go back to bed.

  33. Kriegar says:

    OIC. NOW that is what is the “important” thing. Interesting. Do you have any idea what the CIA’s involvement was in any of this? Were they the proponents of the failure to respond?

    If you were a man, I would tell you to think with your bigger head.

  34. Mister_G says:

    Landshit – you’ve yet to give any facts to support your opinions – or the opinions you’ve been fed. Bow to Islam? So you also probably think the prez is Muslim (he’s not) and that if he were it would be un-American (if you read the constitution, thoughts like yours are un-American). So, please, for once, give us something other than uninformed opinion. We’re waiiiitinnnng!

  35. Mister_G says:

    Were you?

  36. Mister_G says:

    Gee, moron – if Hillary requested additional security weeks in advance, then she is blameless. That’s what a good leader does, anticipate problems. Now if the GOP hadn’t cut funding for security, she may have gotten it. You just disproved you own assertion. And hey, how does an FA-18 give support to a consulate in a busy section of the city when they don’t know who’s friend and who’s foe? Predators? They don’t travel very fast, so couldn’t have gotten there. You’ve been watching too many Rambo movies.

  37. Mister_G says:

    Huh? The route to Syria is through Benghazi? The ambassador to Libya is in Libya and that’s a plot? You’re a moron? (No, no, yes.)

  38. Michelle Black says:

    The important question is what they were doing in Benghazi. Funneling arms to the Jihaddi’s in Syria.
    Obombya has plenty of blood on his hands.

  39. wolfendenpackleader says:

    it has already been proven the reason there were no available military close by was because of the cuts to security for the embassy by the REPUBLICAN PARTY IN THE FIRST PLACE. SO WHY ARE THEY NOT GOING AFTER THEIR OWN PEOPLE WHO CAUSED THIS LACK OF SECURITY PROBLEM TO HAPPEN ?

  40. Iambill says:

    Ted Nugent is a chickenhawk.

  41. Why5ks says:

    So what if the Administration did edit the talking points the morning after the attack, I would hope the INTELLIGENCE AGENCY would do just that before all the info came in. First, you don’t alert those who attacked you of what intel you do and don’t have. Secondly, you don’t go flying off the handle half cocked and invade a country that “you know” is harboring terrorist that attacked you. When the evidence later shows that that country wasn’t harboring any of the terrorists you feared. Well, they weren’t until you invaded that country and created such chaos that those terrorists were able to infiltrate that country and become a dominating force there now.

  42. Glen Herbert says:

    I’ll second that shark. Eat em like chum.

  43. Harroll Morris says:

    You are the idiot Lanshark. Read the effing report by the Republican lawmaker who hates Obama as much as you do. If you can’t figure out why the things you believe are so totally full of shit you are unable to understand that our military did it’s best and was unable to save the lives of the ambassador and the other three men. Think for a moment about a fighter jet trying to strafe or bomb a crowd at a minimum of 200 MPH and only kill the “bad guys”. Same thing for a predator drone firing a Hellfire missile and ONLY killing the people we want killed. You are an absolute effing moron if you still don’t get why your effing story from Right wing “news” sources is the biggest load of BS so far this decade. I’m not really an Obama fan, although he is far better than W and Dick Cheney. Hillary is not any better. They still didn’t cause this, and did the best they could under the circumstances. You talk about this incident as if it was the only possible place that anything could have happened. You absolute stupid piece of crap! As President and Secretary of State they have the whole effing world to be concerned about and didn’t know that this occurrence was going to be the one occurrence where something was going to happen. Shit was happening all over the Middle East. All of our people were warned to be alert. The defensive posture was hurt by Republican Leadership bitching about Government spending and cuting funding for things like Embassy defense. What happened was tragic. It in perfect circumstances might have been avoided. We do not live in that universe, and your belief in every stupid lying piece of crap being put out by partisan sources does not make you smarter than anyone or better informed. It makes you just another stupid piece of crap laughably calling other people who actually pay attention and know things misinformed kool-aid drinkers. Have a nice day and get your head out of YOUR ass.

  44. Moderator4 says:

    Landshark. You are banned.

  45. Landshark says:

    John Aravosis. You are a scumbag.

  46. Landshark says:

    How much of this have you payed a bit of attention to idiot. Or do you simply ignore the fact additional security was requested from Killary weeks in advance of the attack. Someone foresaw the future. That’s what intelligence agencies do. Conspiracies don’t exist? Damn, you are stupid.
    Bill From Dover. Military stationed in Italy. Mediterranean Fleet. FA-18s can travel at 1,000 plus MPH. They fly continuous Combat Air Patrol in defense of their carriers. There was plenty of time to send in Close Air Support. There are armed Predators all over the Middle East. Why in Hell was the one giving live feed to the A–holes supposedly responsible NOT ARMED? Get your head out of Obama’s ass and spit out the kool-aid.

  47. ericxdc says:

    Pizza delivery…

    …Landshark tricky!

  48. BillFromDover says:

    But not… BENGHAZI?

  49. BillFromDover says:

    Knock, knock.

    Who’s there?


    Landshark who?

    Knock, knock.

    Who’s there?

    Flowers delivery miss.

    Yeah, right!

  50. BillFromDover says:

    Exactly who prevented the military from reacting in a timely manner and exactly where was this military stationed?

  51. Michael says:

    You should mention to invasion of Iraq (in which my country shamefully participated), with a death toll at 47,000 Benghazis.

  52. Harroll Morris says:

    Landshark, check the report itself. The report was aimed at the military for the most part and stated that the military was unable to get there any faster than it did. Having served in the military and been part of “mobility” I can confirm that at least when I was in the timeline for the military getting there was pretty much right on the money. Feel free to keep your stupid conspiracy theories, but recognize this fact. The military got there just as soon as possible. They were too late. For Obama and his staff to get our military over there in time, he would have to know the future or have a time machine. NO ONE else would have done ANY better given the circumstances, and many past presidents would have done worse than Obama over Benghazi.

  53. mechadave says:

    I see from the comments that the most rabid of the delusional Cons can’t handle the truth. Their charge that Obama or anyone else gave a “stand down” order to the military that doomed 4 Americans in the compound, has been debunked so many times by the U.S. military that the insistence on that particular baseless nonsense is rather comical.
    And the charge that State and the CIA conspired to give cover to Obama and Hillary by editing the talking points to discount a terror attack is just absurd. In fact, I can’t imagine what difference it would make? Stevens and the others were still dead and the reason for their murders was trivial at best. Just how did the theory that it was an attack over a YouTube video give Obama cover over the theory that it was a terrorist attack? In fact wouldn’t both be terrorism? No, there was no motive for the Administration to lie about the motive or who attacked the Benghazi compound.

  54. ericxdc says:

    Landshark mad. Grrrr, says Landshark.

  55. ericxdc says:

    Thank you for making me smile with your perfect ‘Colbert-eske” riff of every discredited republican talking point on the matter!

  56. AnthonyLook says:

    How’s it feel to be the one that was exposed—as a liar, a pathetic repeating parrot stewing in hate so much that you devote your entire life to lies. Don’t even try and justify your racism and hate, nothing about your rant comments has ever come true, nothing has stuck. Because your worthless life is reduced to nothing but lies. You’re not even worth being called an American.

  57. fldpwrman says:

    Once you clowns have something in your teeny tiny brains, there will never be enough proof, or lack of evidence, to convince you otherwise. When faced with insurmountable facts, you then hide behind conspiracy theories.

  58. maryp1217 says:

    Yep, some fool named Landshark is already in here chanting.

  59. Landshark says:

    Too late. You and you’re scumbag buddies have doomed yourselves by your own stupidity. Keep drinking the kool-aid and eating the S**t you relish so much.And quit embarrassing your mothers.

  60. kevinbenett says:

    spare me, you ignrant ahole, were you there?

  61. kevinbenett says:

    RP is another cluess, out of touch, selfcentered man who loves the sound of his own voice. He’s a joke.

  62. Landshark says:

    Go back down to the basement Pajama Boy.

  63. Indigo says:

    Breath-taking, isn’t it?

  64. 2karmanot says:

    Beyond irony into insanity.

  65. 2karmanot says:

    Like starting with her youthful thrall in Goldwater or sitting on the Board of Directors at Wal*Mart?

  66. 2karmanot says:


  67. Landshark says:

    They are already trash. I only want them exposed. There is no one in government on your side. They are,nearly every one of them, in it for the money and power. Keep sitting in the dark and eating the S**t they feed you and you will be an easy one to lead to the killing floor. You probably think we should bow to Islam too. ESAD!

  68. mtblaze says:

    There is absolutely no “Semper Fi” in any of your statements. Unless of course you are “Semper Fi”-ing about your own fevered conspiracy theories.

    McKeon’s report makes it the second GOP led investigation that exonerated the people you want to trash.

  69. Landshark says:

    If “Buck” McKeon is satisfied with the Obama administrations reaction the the disaster at Benghazi, re-call the son-of a bitch from Congress and replace him with someone with the balls to fight for our military and the American people. There is American blood on the hands of every person who prevented the military from reacting in a timely manner and/or participated in the piss poor attempt at a cover-up. Dump the Dems and RINOs in November! Semper Fi!

  70. Tor says:

    I agree with you. It took a lot of guts to go against the party line.

  71. Tor says:

    Glad that’s straightened out…..

  72. AnthonyLook says:

    He should be commended for his bravery knowing the hate onslaught against him that will come from the lie loving tea party birther racist; that is inevitable.

  73. AnthonyLook says:

    In the lying Republican racist, misogynist mindset, this means nothing. They will continue their campaign of lies, hate, delusional conspiracy and ignorance.

  74. cole3244 says:

    now the gop has the dems just where they want them.

  75. christianh says:

    Normally a statement like that is better received with a reason or two…

  76. christianh says:

    It looks like somehow this reply got added to the wrong comment… The original reply was to a person who said he wouldn’t vote for her if she walked on water…

  77. Tor says:

    You didn’t read the article, did you?

  78. christianh says:

    Normally a statement like that is better received with a reason or two…

  79. UncleBucky says:

    Hah. Ooops GOP/TPer party… who ya gonna call now? Mommy?

  80. GreenEagle says:

    The Standard Republican playbook for many years has been to engage in all the disgraceful misuse of power they can think of in the year after national elections, and then spend the year before elections trying to con the American people into thinking they are rational and responsible. This is just one more example of that strategy. Democrats would be best advised not to fall for the dumb show the Republicans are going to be putting on between now and November. After that, the crazy will be back.

  81. pricknick says:

    Glad this shit is over, or at least it should be.
    The crap about helping Hillary is the least of my concerns. She could walk on water and wouldn’t get my vote.

  82. Tor says:

    I take it that Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon is not running for re-election, because his legislative career as a Republican is over.

  83. pappyvet says:

    Glad to hear it but it will not stop the wingnuts.

  84. Sallye says:

    Excellent, helpful article on the Benghazi controversy. Thanks!

  85. FLL says:

    What?! The GOP chair of the Armed Services committee has exonerated the administration?! Get Lindsey Graham a lace fan! Get him some smelling salts! Play the theme song from Gone with the Wind! Give Senator Graham an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in a comedy!

  86. basenjilover says:

    Don’t hold your breath.

  87. woodroad34 says:

    Lindsey Loh….errr….Graham got to the bottom of it, alright. His bottom, ’cause it looks like he’s royally effed at the moment.

  88. BeccaM says:

    Remember when the White House released Obama’s long-form birth certificate, how that was supposed to silence the ridiculous Birthers?

    How’d that work out? Right. They’re still raving about our Kenyan Islamic illegal president who’s supposed to be impeached as soon as they get around to it.

  89. Indigo says:

    Now we get to watch Republicans ignoring Republican reports.

  90. iamlegion says:

    Put a fork in that GOP talking point.

    Oh, don’t _even_ hold your breath. I bet you money Issa will be on Beck’s or Limbaugh’s show _tomorrow_ talking up what a dupe McKeon is and how they’ll _NEVER STOP_ searching for the Real Killers, a la OJ.

  91. Grace Kelly says:

    I hope they stop investigating this for real.

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