A new report issued by House Republicans attributes security reductions at the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, to the State Department, and concludes the Obama administration altered talking points but not for the stated reason of protecting classified information.
The report, which was produced by top national security House Republicans, notes that the "reductions of security levels prior to the attacks in Benghazi were approved at the highest levels of the State Department, up to and including Secretary Clinton."
"Secretary Clinton’s signature," according to the report, "acknowledges Ambassador Cretz’s request for additional security but instead articulates a plan to scale back security assets for the U.S. Mission in Libya, including the Benghazi Mission."
The report also critiques sharply the Obama administration response to and portrayal of the attack, the Washington Times reports:
In the most damning finding, House Republicans said Mr. Obama and his team lied about the attacks afterward, first by blaming mob violence spawned by an anti-Muslim video, and then wrongly saying it had misled the public because it was trying to protect an FBI investigation.
"This progress report reveals a fundamental lack of understanding at the highest levels of the State Department as to the dangers presented in Benghazi, Libya, as well as a concerted attempt to insulate the Department of State from blame following the terrorist attacks," the GOP investigation concluded in its 46-page report.
The Obama administration has acknowledged providing an inaccurate explanation for the attacks early on — even though officials at the Defense Department said they knew it was a terrorist assault from the beginning.
"Contrary to Administration rhetoric, the talking points were not edited to protect classified information," according to the report. "Concern for classified information is never mentioned in email traffic among senior Administration officials."
The full report can be read here.