Lindsey Graham’s reaction to the Benghazi report raises the question of whether GOP intelligence has been captured by the State Department.
By “GOP intelligence,” I mean Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee.
As CNN reports, “Sen. Lindsey Graham: GOP-led Benghazi report is ‘full of crap’”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, has some harsh words for the recently released Benghazi report, led by his own party.
“I think the report is full of crap,” Graham told Gloria Borger on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
“I don’t believe that the report is accurate, given the role that Mike Morell (deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time) played in misleading the Congress on two different occasions. Why didn’t the report say that?”
The investigative report Graham is referring to was released Friday by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, and Ranking Member Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Maryland.
The report finds little to support the questions that have been raised about CIA actions on the ground in Benghazi the night of the deadly attack on September 11, 2012.
Graham, who has maintained a critical voice in the Benghazi controversy over the past two years, says it’s “garbage” that the report finds no members of the Obama administration lied to cover up what happened in Benghazi.
“That’s a bunch of garbage,” Graham said. “That’s a complete bunch of garbage.”
The investigation also found the security at the diplomatic outpost was weak and also described a “flawed” process used to create talking points for House members and for then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, whose public statements after the attack incensed critics who said the administration was trying to avoid calling the attack terrorism.
“When Susan Rice was on television after the attack, she said on three different occasions the consulate was strongly, and significantly secure,” Graham said. “Nothing could be further than that from the truth, and there’s nothing in the talking points about the level of security.”
I don’t often agree with Lindsey Graham, but his reaction seems credible to me in this case. I’m especially skeptical that there is any way to spin Susan Rice’s campaign to blame a YouTube video for the Benghazi attacks. She lied through her teeth as far as I can tell.
So why would Republican Mike Rogers, the Chairman for the House Intelligence Committee, release such a report? If Graham had an answer to that question, he didn’t want to share it on CNN.
My own guess is that the Benghazi scandal could reveal issues related to the ongoing campaign in Syria. There are plenty of Republicans who want to continue the regime change and the support for Islamic terrorists in that country. If exposing Benghazi would mean putting our arming of terrorists in the news, they may prefer to keep it quiet and make it go away.
Graham may have similar “national security” beliefs, but he may not think that the truth about Benghazi should be suppressed. I hope he continues to push back against the committee.