Gowdy: Obama Administration Was More Worried About Libyans’ Feelings Than Benghazi Consulate

June 28, 2016

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.) said Tuesday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that the Obama administration was more concerned about protecting the feelings of Libyans than protecting the American consulate in Benghazi during the 2012 attack on the diplomatic compound.

Gowdy, the chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, said read-outs of meetings that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton participated in hours after the attack showed there was concern about "hurting the Libyans’ feelings."

"There is a two-hour meeting that the secretary participated in," Gowdy said. "Read the summaries of that two-hour meeting, read the read-outs of what came out of that two-hour meeting. That was when the decision was made not to go to Benghazi but to go to Tripoli. That is when all of the concern was expressed about hurting the Libyans’ feelings by showing up in uniform."

The Republicans on the House Select Committee on Benghazi released their final report Tuesday morning on the attack. The report, just over 800 pages long, details the final moments of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, who all were killed in the terrorist attack.

Gowdy said that during the White House meeting at the time, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta issued orders to deploy military assets to assist the Americans, but ultimately nothing was sent to Benghazi. Gowdy added that during the meeting the administration said the attack was based off a response to an anti-Islamic YouTube video.

"Our response was slowed because of an obsession with hurting the Libyans’ feelings," Gowdy said. "Out of the ten action items that came out of that, half of them dealt with a video. Half of them, including directing Secretary Panetta to call YouTube. Now this is a guy who should have been calling to make sure his orders were being followed and he is being asked to call YouTube."

The Democrats on the Benghazi committee released their own report on Monday that said the Pentagon could not have done more to save Stephens and the other Americans at the consulate. The Democratic report also called the investigation a "partisan ploy" to damage Clinton during the 2016 presidential election.