Cummings Issues Statement on Latest Benghazi Allegations
WASHINGTON -- Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the Select Committee on Benghazi, issued the following statement in response to recent press reports that three members of the CIA security team claim they were told to “stand down”:
“Both the Senate and House Intelligence Committees already investigated this claim and concluded in bipartisan reports that these individuals were delayed while their supervisor attempted to ensure that he was not sending his team into an ambush. The intelligence committees arrived at their conclusion after interviewing not only these individuals, but also their supervisor and others on the ground that night. As a result, they had a much more complete picture than the one now being portrayed in the media. Many allegations about what transpired before, during, and after the attacks in Benghazi have already been thoroughly examined, so it is critical that the Select Committee understand what came before it to ensure we are not re-investigating the same issues all over again.”
Ranking Member Ruppersberger Statement on Allegations of So Called Stand Down Order in 2012 Benghazi Attacks
(Washington, DC) – Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Ranking Member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement in response to the latest allegations of a so called stand down order in 2012 Benghazi attacks.
“The bipartisan, unanimously adopted report by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) found that, prior to the CIA security team departing for the Temporary Mission Facility (TMF), the Annex leadership deliberated thoughtfully, reasonably, and quickly about whether further security could be provided to the team. Although some security officers voiced a greater urgency to depart for the compound, no evidence was ever found by the Committee that CIA personnel were ever told to stand down. This finding is consistent with the Senate's report on Benghazi, as well.
The security officers and contractors told HPSCI about the roughly 25 minutes between the time that the Temporary Mission Facility alerted the Annex to being under attack and the time that the Annex team departed for the TMF to provide security support. The team said they were prepped and ready to go within minutes, but the senior CIA officers responsible for the welfare of all Annex personnel were concerned they might be sending their security team into an ambush so they tried to obtain better intelligence and heavy weapons before dispatching the team. In fact, a high ranking CIA official told the Committee that, had things had turned out differently and those sent to rescue the personnel at the TMF were killed on arrival, he knew he would be responding to criticism about why additional rescue plan options were not more thoroughly evaluated, and therefore, he would not second guess leadership decisions made on the ground that night.
After interviewing these individuals, including those writing the book, and all of the others on the ground that night, both Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that there was not, in fact, an order to stand down and no evidence was found to support such a claim.
The Chief and the team should be praised for their heroic efforts in the middle of a crisis, not second-guessed or criticized two years after the fact.”
Rep. Adam Schiff Responds to New Benghazi Allegations
Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a senior Member of the Intelligence Committee and member of the Select Committee on Benghazi, released the following statement:
"These so-called new allegations were examined in detail by both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, which concluded that there was no 'stand down' order. Instead, we found that our personnel acted heroically and appropriately in trying to secure local assistance and avoid ambush. Nor did we find any evidence that a different course of action would have saved – rather than jeopardized – more lives. To second guess these decisions made in the fog of battle is both unfair to the brave personnel involved and highly irresponsible.
"These old myths are resurfacing at a time when the Select Committee is preparing to hold its first hearing on how well the State Department is implementing the recommendations of the Accountability Review Board. I hope that the Committee won't divert its attention away from what could be a valuable part of the 'lessons learned' from Benghazi to relitigate baseless claims that have been debunked time and again, and in bipartisan fashion."