The White House has addressed criticism over the US military’s response to the 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.
It was announced in May that the US would not seek the death penalty for Ahmed Abu Khattala, the Libyan Islamist charged over the attacks. No explanation for this decision was given in the court filing from the US Justice Department, meaning Mr. Khattala now faces life imprisonment upon conviction.
Four people were killed when militia stormed the consulate, including Chris Stevens, the United States’ ambassador.
Prosecutors have alleged that Mr Khattala was the ringleader of the attacks that critics have accused President Obama, as well as then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, of not doing enough to prevent.
In a recent Congressional report it was stated that the US military had in fact failed to protect the four Americans who died in the attacks. The report further addressed how the Obama administration has been criticised for arguably negligent security measures and a slow response to the situation.
Military leaders have said they did not have sufficient intelligence on what was happening or the resources to respond quickly enough.
In announcing the conclusion of the committee’s investigation, Republican chairman Trey Gowdy said: “Nothing was en route to Libya at the time the last two Americans were killed almost eight hours after the attacks began.”
Mr. Gowdy further stated that help was too slow because of “an obsession with hurting the Libyans’ feelings.”
Earlier this year, ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she took responsibility for the attack during an 11-hour hearing before the House Republicans committee on the matter. However, no new evidence of wrongdoing by Mrs. Clinton was found in the recent Congressional report.
The report has “not found anything to contradict the conclusions of multiple, earlier investigations,” Mrs Clinton’s campaign said in a statement.
Democrats, in their own report, said the State Department’s security measures were “woefully inadequate” but argued that Mrs. Clinton had never refused requests for added security.
They called the Republicans’ report a “conspiracy theory on steroids, bringing back long-debunked allegations with no credible evidence whatsoever.” They accused the committee’s Republican majority of targeting Mrs. Clinton, but Mr. Gowdy said that was never the committee’s aim.
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