Graham: House Intelligence Committee Report on Benghazi Is 'Full of Crap'

By Susan Jones | November 24, 2014 | 5:55am EST

The burned out remains of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya after at attack that claimed the lives of U.S. Amb. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on Sept. 12, 2012. (AP photo)

( - In a report released on the Friday before Thanksgiving, the House intelligence committee concludes "there was no intelligence failure" before the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks; the CIA "ensured sufficient security for CIA facilities" in Benghazi; no "stand-down" orders were issued; the Obama administration's "initial public narrative" on the attack was "not fully accurate," and "mistakes were made" in developing the talking points spread by Susan Rice.

"I think the report is full of crap," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday. "I'm saying the House Intelligence Committee is doing a lousy job policing their own."

"I'm saying that anybody who has followed Benghazi at all knows that the CIA deputy director (Mike Morrell) did not come forward to tell Congress what role he played in changing the talking points. And the only way we knew he was involved is when he told a representative at the White House, I'm going to do a hard review of this, a hard rewrite."

Graham said Morrell, when he testified before Congress, never said that he "substantially rewrote the talking points."

The report produced by the House intelligence committee says it found "no evidence" that anyone was "intimidated" or told not to speak to Congress about the attacks that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

"The Committee also found no evidence that the CIA conducted unauthorized activities in Benghazi and no evidence that the (intelligence community) shipped arms to Syria," it said.

Graham told CNN, the question isn't how the intelligence was gathered. "Who changed the talking points?" he asked. "It went through several changes. Who came out with the version most politically beneficial to the administration?"

Graham repeated that CIA Deputy Director Morrell "sat quietly in front of a Senate and House committee when asked directly, do you know who changed the talking points? He didn't come forward. We only know later that he was involved when we found information gathered through a lawsuit. So he sat there and misled the Congress."

Graham previously has accused the Obama administration of creating a "political narrative to protect the president" who was running for re-election when the attacks happened. Graham said someone should be fired for "lying to the American people."

"So this report says no one lied, period, that they were receiving bad information," guest host Gloria Borger told Graham.

"That's a bunch of garbage. That's a complete bunch of garbage," Graham replied. "I don't believe that the report is accurate, given the role that Mike Morell played in misleading the Congress on two different occasions.

"Why didn't the report say that? And here's my point. When Susan Rice was on television after the attack, she said on three different occasions, the consulate was strongly, substantially and significantly secured.

"Nothing could be further from...the truth. And there's nothing in the talking points about the level of security. She gave an impression to the American people that these folks were well taken care of, when it was in fact a death trap. Who told her to say that?

"(Deputy National Security Adviser) Ben Rhodes came up with the talking points, saying under no circumstance can we suggest this was anything other than a riot caused by a video, when there was no evidence of that."

Borgia also asked Graham about the report's conclusion that there was no "stand-down order or a denial of available support" during the attack.

"I can tell you that three contractors working for the agency said that they were told to wait for 20 minutes," Graham said.

"This report puts all the blame on the State Department and absolves the intelligence community. When the Department of Defense committees looked at it, the Department of Defense was held blameless. At the end of the day, everybody is pointing fingers to everybody else.

"That's why you need a joint select committee. Thank God for (Reps.) Trey Gowdy and Elijah Cummings. And when the Intel Committee says there is no manipulating of the American people, that is absolute garbage. When they say there is no evidence that CIA personnel misled the Congress regarding changing the talking points, that is a lie, because I was on the receiving end of the lie."

Gowdy and Cummings were named to lead the House Select Committee on Benghazi earlier this year.

"I know Benghazi pretty well," Graham told Borgia. "And I can tell you that the people who have been looking at Benghazi in a stovepipe fashion have not come up with what I think is a reasonable explanation for all the shenanigans and the lack of being prepared on 9/11.

"And I hope a joint committee looking at all three agencies together, rather than stovepiping, can get through this. But, as to our friends on the Intel Committee in the House, I don't buy the idea that the agency did not mislead the Congress, because I was there when they misled me.

"I don't buy the idea that everything was just the State Department's problem and you had no blame yourselves. I don't believe that."

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif. ), a member of the House intelligence committee, told CNN the committee conducted a "two-year exhaustive investigation."

Schiff said the report released on Friday "had the support of all the Republicans and Democrats on the committee. It's designed to be the definitive word on what happened from the intelligence community's point of view.

"So I think we have had really the final word on many of these conspiracy theories, on the fact there was no stand-down order, there was no political interference, there was no effort to politically spin the talking points.

"In fact, as the report points out, there were 21 intelligence assessments at the time that it began as a protest. Those turned out to be wrong, but there was no malice in getting it wrong."

Schiff said the report completely vindicates the Obama administration by showing there was no effort to "cover-up or spin" what happened.

Borgia asked Schiff if he thinks there's a "political component" to House Select Committee investigation, since Hillary Clinton ran the State Department at the time and is now believed to be considering a run for president.

"Well, I don't think there's any question there's a political dynamic to this," Schiff said.

"[I]f Hillary Clinton were not a likely candidate for president, I think this investigation would be over with a long time ago. And you have to ask, after these successive investigations led by the Republican-led committees have reached the same conclusion, what is the basis for continuing to go forward?"

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