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                                                 House Calendar No. 163

114th Congress    }                                      {   Report

                      HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES        
2d Session        }                                      {  114-848
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                                                 




                         F I N A L  R E P O R T

                                 of the

                          SELECT COMMITTEE ON
                         THE EVENTS SURROUNDING
                           THE 2012 TERRORIST
                           ATTACK IN BENGHAZI

                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES


                             together with

                     ADDITIONAL AND MINORITY VIEWS


[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]



  December 7, 2016.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be 
                                printed
                                
                                
                                
                                
                                

              FINAL REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE 
        EVENTS SURROUNDING THE 2012 TERRORIST ATTACK IN BENGHAZI









114th Congress    }                                         {    Report
                       HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                 
2d Session        }                                         {    114-848
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     




                         F I N A L  R E P O R T

                                 of the

                          SELECT COMMITTEE ON

                         THE EVENTS SURROUNDING

                           THE 2012 TERRORIST

                           ATTACK IN BENGHAZI

                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES


                             together with

                     ADDITIONAL AND MINORITY VIEWS


[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]



  December 7, 2016.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be 
                                printed
                                
                                
                                
                                
                             _________ 

                U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE
                   
 22-867                  WASHINGTON : 2016       
____________________________________________________________________
 For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Publishing Office,
Internet:bookstore.gpo.gov. Phone:toll free (866)512-1800;DC area (202)512-1800
  Fax:(202) 512-2104 Mail:Stop IDCC,Washington,DC 20402-001                                    
                                
                                
                                
                                
                   HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON BENGHAZI

                  TREY GOWDY, South Carolina, Chairman
LYNN WESTMORELAND, Georgia           ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland,
JIM JORDAN, Ohio                       Ranking Member
PETER ROSKAM, Illinois               ADAM SMITH, Washington
MIKE POMPEO, Kansas                  ADAM SCHIFF, California
MARTHA ROBY, Alabama                 LINDA SANCHEZ, California
SUSAN BROOKS, Indiana                TAMMY DUCKWORTH, Illinois

                              ------------

This report is dedicated to the memory and service of Glen A. Doherty, 
       Sean P. Smith, J. Christopher Stevens, and Tyrone S. Woods
                            COMMITTEE STAFF

            Philip G. Kiko, Staff Director & General Counsel
              Christopher A. Donesa, Deputy Staff Director
                      Dana Chipman, Chief Counsel

Sarah Adams, Senior Advisor          Sheria Clarke, Counsel
Sara Barrineau, Investigator         Carlton Davis, Counsel
Brian Beattie, Professional Staff    Mark Grider, Deputy General 
    Member                               Counsel
Kimberly Betz, Member Liaison &      Sharon Jackson, Deputy Chief 
    Counsel                              Counsel
Rob Borden, Senior Advisor           Craig Missakian, Deputy Chief 
Luke Burke, Investigator/Detailee        Counsel
                                     J. Mac Tolar, Senior Counsel

                 Jamal D. Ware, Communications Director
             Amanda Duvall, Deputy Communications Director
                     Matt Wolking, Press Secretary

Douglas Alexander, Printing Clerk    Abigail Helvering, Staff Assistant
Anne Binsted, Finance and Personnel  Pat Knudsen, Shared Employee
    Administrator                    Paige Lueken, Executive Assistant
Frank Chang, Legal Intern            Barbara McCaffrey, Documents Clerk
George Gerbo, Staff Assistant        Elizabeth McWhorter, Security 
Elizabeth Gorman, Professional           Manager
    Staff Member                     William Sacripanti, Staff 
Clark Hedrick, Legal Intern              Assistant
                                     Elizabeth Starek, Staff Assistant
                                     Sharon Utz, Professional Staff 
                                         Member

                             Minority Staff

       Susanne Sachsman Grooms, Staff Director & General Counsel
                     Heather Sawyer, Chief Counsel
           Dave Rapallo, Senior Advisor to the Ranking Member

Krista Boyd, Senior Counsel          Laura Rauch, Senior Professional 
Peter Kenny, Senior Counsel              Staff Member
Ronak Desai, Counsel                 Daniel Rebnord, Professional Staff 
Shannon Green, Counsel                   Member
Valerie Shen, Counsel                Brent Woolfork, Professional Staff 
Jennifer Werner, Communications 
    Director                             Member
Paul Bell, Deputy Communications     Erin O'Brien, Investigator/
    Director                             Detailee
Linda Cohen, Senior Professional     Kendal Robinson, Investigator/
    Staff Member                         Detailee
                                     Mone Ross, Staff Assistant

                            Majority Interns

J. Michael Abler                     Clay Bryan
Jeff Beck                            Amanda Gonzalez
Courtney Ballenger                   Francesca Savoia
Michelle Bowling                     Ivy Wilborn




                         LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL

                              ----------                              


                              House of Representatives,
                                        Select Committee on the
                                          Events Surrounding The
                                      2012 Terrorist Attack                                         
                                             in Benghazi,
                                  Washington, December 7, 2016.
                                   
        

Hon. Karen L. Haas,
Clerk, House of Representatives,
Washington, DC.

Dear Ms. Haas:

    Pursuant to H. Res. 567 of the 113th Congress and section 
4(a) of H. Res. 5 of the 114th Congress, I hereby transmit the 
attached report, ``Final Report of the Select Committee on the 
Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi.''

            Sincerely,
                                  Trey Gowdy,
                                    Chairman.
                                    
                                    
                                    
                                    



                                                  House Calendar No. 163
                                                 
114th Congress    }                                          {    Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session       }                                          {   114-848

======================================================================



 
FINAL REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE EVENTS SURROUNDING THE 2012 
                      TERRORIST ATTACK IN BENGHAZI

                                _______
                                

  December 7, 2016.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be 
                                printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Gowdy, from the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 
         Terrorist Attack in Benghazi, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                     ADDITIONAL AND MINORITY VIEWS

    On July 8, 2016, the Select Committee on the Events 
Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi, approved and 
reported the following investigative report to the House, 
pursuant to H. Res. 567 (113th Congress).

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page

Illustrations....................................................     3
Part I. Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Facilities in Benghazi.........     9
Part II. Internal and Public Government Communications about the 
  Terrorist Attacks in Benghazi..................................   133
Part III. Events Leading to the Terrorist Attacks in Benghazi....   263
Part IV. Compliance with Congressional Investigations............   353
Part V. Recommendations..........................................   409
Additional Views of Rep. Jim Jordan and Rep. Mike Pompeo.........   415
Appendix A: Resolution Establishing the Select Committee on the 
  Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi.......   453
Appendix B: Significant Persons and Organizations................   461
Appendix C: Questions for the President..........................   467
Appendix D: Significant Events in Libya Prior to the Attacks.....   471
Appendix E: Security Incidents in Libya..........................   475
Appendix F: Deterioration of Benghazi Mission Compound Security..   531
Appendix G: Timelines of the Attacks.............................   559
Appendix H: The September 12 Situation Report and the President's 
  Daily Brief....................................................   575
Appendix I: Witness Interview Summaries..........................   587
Appendix J: Requests and Subpoenas for Documents.................   601
Appendix K: Analysis of Accountability Review Board, House Armed 
  Services Committee, and House Permanent Select Intelligence 
  Committee Reports..............................................   617
Appendix L: Glen A. Doherty, Sean P. Smith, J. Christopher 
  Stevens, and Tyrone S. Woods...................................   643
Minority Views...................................................   645


                             ILLUSTRATIONS
[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


                                PART I:

                 Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Facilities 
                              in Benghazi

``If you guys don't get here, we're all going to f---ing 
die.''\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Testimony of GRS 4, Cent. Intel. Agency, Tr. at 33 (Mar. 1, 
2016) [hereinafter GRS 4 Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

                        Diplomatic Security Agent in Benghazi 
                        during the
                        attacks

``I'm in Benghazi this week, lurking about with my eyes ever-
peeled for RPG's hurtling towards my motorcade!''\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\Email from J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya, to 
personal account of Dominic A.G. Asquith, U.K. Ambassador to Libya 
(Sept. 11, 2012, 5:40 AM) (on file with the Committee, C05390150).

                        Ambassador Christopher Stevens, to the 
                        U.K.
                        Ambassador on the morning of September 
                        11, 2012

``We're under attack.''\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\Testimony of Gregory Hicks, Deputy Chief of Mission, Libya, U.S. 
Dep't of State at 18 (Apr. 11, 2013) [hereinafter Hicks Apr. 2013 
Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

                        Ambassador Christopher Stevens, on the 
                        evening of
                        September 11, 2012

    BACKGROUND: SEPTEMBER 2012 AND THE AMBASSADOR'S TRIP TO BENGHAZI

                Stevens' Decision to Travel to Benghazi

    J. Christopher Stevens, a highly and widely respected 
diplomat, was sworn in as the United States Ambassador to Libya 
on May 14, 2012.\4\ Thirteen months earlier in 2011, while 
Libya was still in the throes of a civil war, Stevens 
courageously arrived in Benghazi, Libya on a Greek cargo ship 
to serve as the United States' Special Representative to the 
Transitional National Council [TNC].\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Public Schedule [for the Secretary of State] for May 14, 2012 
found at www.State.gov/pa/prs/appt/2012/05/14/189814.htm.
    \5\U.S. Representative to TNC Stevens provides an update on Libya, 
DIPNOTE, Aug. 3, 2011 found at https://blogs.state.gov/stories/2011/08/
03/us-representative-t-n-c-stevens-provides-
update-libya.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Stevens remained Special Representative to the TNC for more 
than six months in 2011 and witnessed both the dictatorship of 
Muammar Qadhafi topple and the reopening of the U.S. Embassy in 
Tripoli, which had previously been evacuated at the beginning 
of the Libyan revolution in February of 2011.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\A Guide to the U.S. History of Recognition, Diplomatic, and 
Consular Relations, by Country, Since 1776: [State Department/Office of 
the Historian] found at: https://history.state.gov/
countries/libya.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Stevens left Benghazi in November of 2011, to return to the 
United States, where he would be nominated and confirmed as 
Ambassador to Libya the following May.\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\Biography of J. Christopher Stevens, Ambassador, Libya, found 
at: https://state.gov/r/pa/ec/biog/193075.htm.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Stevens had a deep affection for the Libyan people in 
general and the people of Benghazi in particular. He also knew 
Libya as well as anyone in the U.S. Foreign Service. He would 
soon learn much had changed in Libya from the time he left as 
Special Representative in November of 2011 until the time he 
returned as Ambassador in May of 2012.
    The Benghazi Mission compound where Stevens lived for 
several months in 2011 remained open while he was in the U.S. 
awaiting confirmation as Ambassador. The Benghazi Mission 
compound was protected by Diplomatic Security Agents and 
staffed by a Principal Officer who provided political reporting 
on the changes occurring in Benghazi as the country attempted 
to recover after the revolution.
    In August of 2012, three months after Stevens returned to 
Libya as the newly confirmed Ambassador, the Principal Officer 
in Benghazi was nearing the end of his assignment. There would 
be a two-week gap between the Principal Officer's departure 
date and the arrival of the next Principal Officer.\8\ No one 
was scheduled to fill this vacancy until September 15, 2012, so 
Ambassador Stevens chose to send Principal Officer 4, to cover 
the vacancy during the first week in September.\9\ Stevens 
chose himself to cover the second week.\10\ According to 
Gregory N. Hicks, who as the Deputy Chief of Mission was second 
in command at the time, Stevens ``very much wanted to get back 
to Benghazi . . . he had not been able to go since his own 
arrival in Tripoli'' in May of 2012.\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\See Hicks Apr. 2013 Testimony at 9 (``[Principal Officer 3] left 
at the end of August, and the new Principal Officer was not arriving 
until--scheduled to arrive until September 15th or thereabouts.'').
    \9\See id. at 57 (``And so basically Chris announces at the meeting 
that [Principal Officer 4] is going to go to Benghazi to cover the 
first week in the gap, first week in September, and that he would cover 
the second week.'').
    \10\Id.
    \11\Id. at 9.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The timing of Stevens' visit to Benghazi was important for 
another reason as well. He was spearheading an effort to make 
Benghazi a permanent post, Hicks testified:

        One of the things he [Stevens] said to me was that, in 
        his exit interview with Secretary Clinton, she 
        expressed the hope that we could make the special 
        mission in Benghazi a permanent constituent post. And 
        Chris said that one of the first things he intended to 
        do after his arrival was develop a proposal to move 
        forward on that project.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \12\Id. at 7.

    A trip to Benghazi would allow Stevens to personally assess 
the political and security situation and make a recommendation 
regarding whether the U.S. should have a permanent presence 
there. Discussions were already under way in Washington D.C. on 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
how to fund a permanent post. Hicks stated:

        [W]e are only a month from the end of the fiscal year, 
        so we have to get a [sic] or, we have to help 
        Washington, the executive director's office of the Near 
        East Bureau to put together a package to get it to [the 
        Undersecretary for Management] Pat Kennedy for a 
        decision by September 30th. Otherwise, we lose the 
        money. Because we had surplus money available from 
        Iraq--I can't remember, Iraq contingency fund I think--
        that had been notified by Pat Kennedy for transfer from 
        Iraq--it wasn't going to get spent in Iraq, and so we 
        were going to spend it in Libya and in Benghazi. But we 
        had to get the justification forward to do that.\13\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\Id. at 16-17.

    While the end of the fiscal year funding deadline was 
looming, the Diplomatic Security Agent in charge at the Embassy 
in Tripoli was, nonetheless, concerned about Stevens' trip to 
Benghazi. Although his first planned trip to Benghazi in the 
beginning of August 2012 had to be canceled because of 
security,\14\ Stevens was adamant, however, about going in 
September.\15\ The Diplomatic Security Agent testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \14\See Email from J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to 
Libya, to Principal Officer 3, Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Dep't of 
State, (Aug. 2, 2012, 2:45 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05390855).
    \15\See Testimony of Diplomatic Security Agent 23, U.S. Dep't of 
State, Tr. at 69-70 (Oct. 10, 2013) [hereinafter Diplomatic Sec. Agent 
23 Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

        Previous to this--to his decisions to going up there, 
        there was--we would meet weekly to discuss the security 
        situation in Libya. . . . [T]here was a specific 
        meeting regarding what was happening in Benghazi. In 
        that meeting, we reviewed incidents and probable 
        causes, what's initiating it. And a lot of discussion 
        was that it was the conflict or the incidents up there 
        were, you know, local population against local 
        population and that that they weren't specifically 
        targeting Americans . . . up there. I expressed my 
        concerns about the incidents that did involve us. And 
        the basic response was that they . . . were anomalies.

                              *    *    *

        It was the persons attending the meeting. I believe it 
        was the Ambassador who actually said its anomalies; we 
        can't account for anomalies. And other members of the 
        group seemed to concur with that. And then this trip 
        was planned because there was a gap in principal 
        officer up there and the opening of the American 
        corner. . . . I knew he was bound and determined to go.

        I've been wracking my memory trying to remember the 
        exact conversations I had with him on this. But I know 
        he knew I didn't--the idea of him traveling there. But 
        I knew he was determined to go. So doing everything I 
        can to make it as safe as possible, given my resources 
        and the environment--safety--compounds--both compounds, 
        all the Americans there.\16\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \16\Id.

    Not only was the looming funding deadline an impetus for 
Stevens' trip, an upcoming trip by Hillary R. Clinton, 
Secretary of State, in the fall of 2012 was also a motivating 
factor for him to travel to Benghazi. The hope was to establish 
a permanent consulate in Benghazi for the Secretary to present 
to the Libyan government during her trip. Hicks discussed this 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
with the Committee:

        Q: Okay. We know that Ambassador Stevens went to 
        Benghazi on September 10th. Was there anything about 
        his trip to Benghazi in September of 2012 that was sort 
        of a precursor for the Secretary's trip?

        A: Well, you know, when we have a visit by a major 
        political figure, like the Secretary of State, like the 
        President, you know, we try to make that visit 
        important publicly. And so we generally will create a 
        list of what we call deliverables, items of importance 
        to the bilateral relationship. So we hoped for the 
        Secretary to announce the opening of a permanent 
        consulate in Benghazi during her visit[.]

        Q: Was there any reason that--was there anything 
        related to making Benghazi a permanent post that was 
        part of the purpose of Ambassador Stevens going to 
        Benghazi in September?

        A: Oh, absolutely. And so again, we had begun the 
        process of developing a political rationale for having 
        a permanent post in Benghazi. I sent in that rationale 
        at the end of August to the executive director of the 
        NEA [Near Eastern Affairs] bureau. We had begun a 
        process of identifying locations and drawing plans for 
        such a post.

                              *    *    *

        And we understood that the situation in eastern Libya 
        was unstable and we wanted to--and Chris Stevens wanted 
        to make sure that what we were doing was going--was the 
        right course of action. And he personally, because he 
        had the contacts in the region, because he had their 
        trust. He was the only person that we felt could go to 
        Benghazi and get a clear picture of the political 
        situation there and the security situation there as 
        well.\17\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \17\Testimony of Gregory N. Hicks, Deputy Chief of Mission at U.S. 
Embassy Tripoli, U.S. Dep't of State, Tr. at 50-51 (Apr. 14, 2016) 
[hereinafter Hicks Apr. 2016 Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

    The Secretary was planning to travel to Libya in October of 
2012.\18\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \18\Email from Huma Abedin, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, 
U.S. Dep't of State, to Philippe Reines, Deputy Ass't Sec'y for Public 
Affairs, U.S. Dep't of State (Sept. 12, 2012, 9:15 AM) (on file with 
the Committee, SCB0075710).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                Benghazi: September 1-September 10, 2012

    Security deficiencies plagued the Benghazi Mission compound 
in the lead-up to September 2012. With the departure of the 
Diplomatic Security Agent in charge at the end of August, only 
two Diplomatic Security Agents remained to secure the 
compound.\19\ A Diplomatic Security Agent from Tripoli was 
routed to Benghazi to serve temporarily during the month of 
September putting three agents on the ground as of September 1, 
2012.\20\ None of the Diplomatic Security Agents in Benghazi 
had ever served at a high-threat post.\21\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \19\See Email from Deputy Dir. for Maghreb Affairs, U.S. Dep't of 
State, to Diplomatic Sec. Agent 25, U.S. Dep't of State (Aug. 27, 2012 
4:47 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05394203) (``Thanks for your 
call and clarification that DS has had no volunteers for Benghazi for 
the upcoming few months.'').
    \20\See Hicks Apr. 2013 Testimony at 56.
    \21\See id. at 14 (``Principal Officer 4 is chosen to be Acting 
Principal Officer for the first week in September. And he goes to 
Benghazi and is there with three Diplomatic Sec. special agents, all of 
whom are brand new to the service and on temporary duty assignment.'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition, the Mission compound's contracted quick 
reaction force, the February 17 Martyrs Brigade militia, which 
provided interior armed security at the Benghazi Mission 
compound, informed the Diplomatic Security Agents two days 
before the Ambassador was scheduled to arrive it would no 
longer provide off-compound security.\22\ This meant the three 
Diplomatic Security Agents on the ground would have no security 
support for any transport or for any meetings held off of the 
compound during Stevens' visit. The Diplomatic Security Agents 
attributed the change in policy to an inter-militia power 
struggle.\23\ The next day, however, the Principal Officer in 
Benghazi, joined a meeting with leading militia officials 
during which time they told him they could no longer guarantee 
the safety of the compound. The Principal Officer described the 
meeting:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \22\See Diplomatic Sec. Agent 23 Testimony at 44-45.
    \23\See Email from Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3, Diplomatic Sec. 
Service, U.S. Embassy Tripoli, Libya (Sept. 8, 2012 9:29 PM) (on file 
with the Committee, C05396013).

        [T]here was a--it was a growing and nascent group of 
        commanders who--militia commanders who were just 
        becoming kind of players on the security scene. And 
        some of the working assumptions were that they were 
        doing this mainly for personal profit; others for 
        religious and ideological reasons. It is trying to 
        understand motivations of groups of people who may or 
        may not become future leaders for the city of Benghazi 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        or the country of Libya.

        So these folks were identified as people who fit that 
        billet, essentially, security official officials who 
        may or may not have aspirations for larger roles in 
        Benghazi.

                              *    *    *

        Libya Shield was a brand new organization at that time 
        that was kind of emerging from the ranks of the 
        [Supreme Security Council] and from other official 
        organizations. They had numbers to them. What I 
        characterize in here was what was the most fascinating 
        part of the meeting to me. I was sitting with Wissam 
        bin Hamid and Jumaa and I forget his name al Gha'abi. 
        They were debating which militias they belonged to and 
        who was in control of them and what their ideology was 
        and what their ambitions were. And they weren't you 
        know, they disagreed on many of those things.

        And one member was--one of the commanders was a member 
        of the other commander's brigade under that commander, 
        and that commander was a member of that commander's 
        brigade under that commander. So it was really 
        difficult to determine who was in charge, and I think 
        they right there in front of us were, you know, playing 
        that out, which is a great opportunity to really get a 
        sense of what's going on in the rest of the country.

                              *    *    *

        Q: [I]t looks like it's the second to last sentence or 
        third to last sentence, it begins: They criticized the 
        [U.S. Government] for supporting National Forces 
        Alliance leader and prime minister candidate Mahmoud 
        Jibril. Do you recall what their criticism of the U.S. 
        Government was?

        A: Yeah. So ``supporting'' is in quotations, right, and 
        which is a false accusation against the United States. 
        We don't support candidates in a foreign government's 
        internal domestic election. But the general perception, 
        because Mahmoud Jibril is an American citizen as well 
        as a Libyan, is that the United States Government was 
        backing him. He was a big political player, former 
        prime minister and someone who was gaining it seemed to 
        be at that time someone who may end up with another 
        very high ranking position in the Libyan Government. 
        That did not meet these particular militia commanders' 
        idea of a beneficial Libyan structure for them, and so 
        they were complaining about it.

        Q: [Y]ou go on to write: If Jibril won, they said they 
        would not continue to guarantee security in Benghazi, a 
        critical function they asserted they were currently 
        providing. What was your understanding of what they 
        meant when they said they would not continue to 
        guarantee security in Benghazi?

        A: Yeah, I did not take that as a threat against U.S. 
        interests, the U.S. compound, U.S. persons, or anything 
        else. I took that more as a general discussion of 
        Benghazi, the security situation in Benghazi is 
        generally deteriorating, if they at least their 
        assertion that the general condition in Benghazi would 
        deteriorate if they withdrew their security support.

        Q: Did you understand what did they mean by withdrew 
        their security support?

        A: Well, I mean, that's one of the questions I was 
        asking, right. What do you do? Who are you? Why are you 
        Libya 1? Why are you Libya 2? What's your role? How do 
        you fit into the security structure? And, as I said, 
        you know, they didn't really have a very good picture 
        of it themselves, so I couldn't come out with one.\24\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \24\Testimony of Principal Officer 4, Foreign Service Officer, U.S. 
Dep't of State, Tr. at 64-68 (May 8, 2015) (on file with the 
Committee). See also, Email from J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. 
Ambassador to Libya, to Principal Officer 4, Foreign Service Officer, 
U.S. Dep't of State (Sept. 10, 2012 1:51 AM) (on file with the 
Committee, C05395344).

    The meeting underscored that the militias in Benghazi 
controlled what little security environment existed there. Not 
having off-compound support from a militia would significantly 
threaten Stevens' safety.

             Stevens' Trip to Benghazi: September 10, 2012

    Stevens arrived by a commercial airplane in Benghazi on the 
morning of September 10, 2012.\25\ Traveling with him were two 
of the six Diplomatic Security Agents assigned to the Embassy 
in Tripoli. Four Diplomatic Security Agents remained behind at 
the Embassy along with four Department of Defense special 
operators who had previously served as part of the Site 
Security Team [SST].\26\ In addition, the special operators had 
previously augmented security at the Benghazi Mission compound, 
but they were no longer able to do so.\27\ Patrick F. Kennedy, 
the Under Secretary for Management, State Department, 
terminated the SST's responsibilities for the Embassy's 
security in August of 2012.\28\ As a result, the SST was no 
longer able to travel with Stevens or augment security in 
Benghazi.\29\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \25\Testimony of Diplomatic Sec. Agent 2, Tr. at 47 (Mar. 19, 2015) 
[hereinafter Diplomatic Sec. Agent 2].
    \26\Testimony of Gregory N. Hicks, Deputy Chief of Mission at U.S. 
Embassy Tripoli, U.S. Dep't of State, Tr. at 12-14 (Apr. 11, 2013) 
[hereinafter Hicks Apr. 2013 Testimony] (on file with the Committee).
    \27\Hicks Apr. 2016 Testimony at 17.
    \28\Id. at 20, 33-35; see also, Email from Patrick Kennedy, Under 
Sec'y for Mgmt., U.S. Dep't of State, to Robert Neller, Lieutenant 
General, U.S. Dep't of Defense (July 15, 2012,) (on file with the 
Committee SCB0076533).
    \29\See Hicks Apr. 2013 Testimony at 12-13.

      The August 6th attack, or incident, if you will, AFRICOM 
      decided to draw down the SST team from 16 members to 6. 
      Chris concurred in that decision because he didn't really 
      feel like he had, you know, much leverage other than that. 
      And so [the Commander of the Site Security Team] and nine 
      other members of the team left he may have discussed this 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
      in mid -August.

      Full expectation was that when we, as the embassy, and 
      working with the Defense Attache, achieved the agreement of 
      the Libyan Government to proceed with the counterterrorism 
      mission under section 1208, and the training team was given 
      diplomatic immunity, they would return and begin the 
      training mission. So they left. So we have at the time, 
      then, six members of the SST left, divided in two different 
      locations, four and two. But they are still under AFRICOM 
      authority.

      General Ham issued a letter after the negotiation in 
      Stuttgart over Eid al Fitr describing the relationship of 
      the SST to the embassy going forward. I honestly cannot 
      remember whether the contents of that letter are classified 
      or not. I know it was transmitted to us over classified 
      communications. But it was not Chief of Mission authority, 
      I can tell you that. They were not told that they were 
      under the authority of the Ambassador with respect to 
      security, although they were told to cooperate I believe it 
      told them to cooperate with the RSO for internal defense 
      matters, if I remember correctly.
    In fact, during August 2012, the total number of State 
Department security agents assigned to the Embassy in Tripoli 
dropped from 34 individuals to six.\30\ Losing 28 security 
agents reduced not only the security resources available to the 
Embassy, but also those available to the Benghazi Mission 
compound. With limited security agents in Tripoli, there were 
no surplus security agents to send to augment security in 
Benghazi--without leaving the Embassy in Tripoli at severe 
risk.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \30\Id. at 13-14.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hicks described the impact of the reduction in personnel on 
the overall security platform in Libya:

        [W]hen I arrived on July 31st . . . we had the 16 
        members of the SST and we had about 14 or so State 
        security personnel, who were divided between either 
        special agents or MSD, members of the mobile security 
        detail teams.

        Through August, the MSD personnel are withdrawn until, 
        by August 31st, . . . the security complement in Libya 
        at the time was: In Tripoli is an RSO plus 5 assistant 
        regional security officers protecting approximately 28 
        diplomatic personnel. And in Benghazi we have three DS 
        special agents protecting two State Department 
        personnel in our facilities.

        So the answer to your question . . . we had nine people 
        to draw from when Chris decided you know, [Principal 
        Officer 4] is chosen to be Acting Principal Officer for 
        the first week in September. And he goes to Benghazi 
        and is there with three Diplomatic Security special 
        agents, all of whom are brand new to the service and on 
        temporary duty assignment.

        So when Chris goes to Benghazi on the 10th of 
        September, [Diplomatic Security Agent 23], the RSO, 
        assigns two of our personnel in [Tripoli] to go with 
        him. [N]ow we have, on the morning of September 11th, 
        when [Principal Officer 4] flies back to Tripoli, we 
        now have five Diplomatic security special agents 
        protecting the Ambassador and Sean Smith. In Tripoli, 
        we have four we have a Regional Security Officer and 
        three Assistant Regional Security Officers to protect 
        28 diplomatic personnel.\31\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \31\Id.

    Publicity about Stevens' trip to Benghazi was reportedly 
limited. He previously told his staff and contacts on the 
ground ``for security reasons we'll need to be careful about 
limiting moves off-compound and scheduling as many meetings as 
possible in the villa.''\32\ Stevens said he wanted to ``avoid 
the RPG reception that the UK Amb[assador] got. . . .''\33\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \32\Email from J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya, to 
a Locally Employed Staff, U.S. Dep't of State, and Principal Officer 4, 
U.S. Dep't of State (Sept. 8, 2012, 4:37 AM) (on file with the 
Committee, C05390147).
    \33\Email from Principal Officer 3, U.S. Dep't of State, to J. 
Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya (Aug. 1, 2012 10:49 AM) 
(on file with the Committee, C05390814).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Upon arriving in Benghazi on September 10, 2012, Stevens 
received a security briefing at the nearby Central Intelligence 
Agency [CIA] annex on the changing threat environment.\34\ Due 
to the worsening security environment in Benghazi, the 
Diplomatic Security Agents at the compound requested support 
from the Annex's security team, the Global Response Staff 
[GRS], to supplement Stevens' movements off-compound in 
Benghazi.\35\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \34\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 2 Testimony at 54.
    \35\Id. at 59.

        Q: You talked during the last hour about the 
        intelligence briefing that you provided to the 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Ambassador the night before the attack.

        What type of reaction did you get from the Ambassador 
        from your briefing?

        A: He was interested. He took a lot of notes. It struck 
        me a little bit that he was surprised at how fast the 
        situation had deteriorated in eastern Libya.

        Q: And what did he do to give you that impression that 
        he was surprised at how quickly----

        A: He was called in to go to his next appointment 
        several times, and he refused to leave before we 
        finished.

        Q: Okay, do you know who his next appointment was?

        A: Yes.

        Q: And what was that?

        A: Benghazi City Council, I believe.

        Q: Did the Ambassador ask any questions of you during 
        the briefing?

        A: Yes, yeah, he asked a lot of questions.

        Q: And what were his questions along the lines of if 
        you can recall?

        A: Specifically about the extremist groups that 
        established presence in eastern Libya since the fall of 
        the regime.

        Q: Okay, and do you recall at that time approximately 
        how many extremist groups there were that had 
        established a presence?

        A: Several.

        Q: Several?

        A: Yes.

        Q: Well, from what you can remember, what are the names 
        to the extent that you can remember?

        A: Yes, AQIM; Al Qaeda; and Islamic Brethren; AQAP; Al 
        Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula; AQ Pakistan; EIJ, 
        Egyptian Islamic Jihad. By that time, Ansar al-Sharia 
        Derna had established a presence.\36\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \36\Officer A, Cent. Intel. Agency, Tr. at 116-118. (Mar 2, 2016) 
[hereinafter Officer A Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

    Later in the evening of September 10th, Stevens--with 
Diplomatic Security Agents and GRS security--visited the 
Benghazi Local Council. Media was present upon his arrival.\37\ 
One of the Diplomatic Security Agents testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \37\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 2 Testimony at 52.

        Q: So, you knew prior to the council meeting that the 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        press was going to show up?

        A: Yes, and we tried to turn that off, but 
        unfortunately, we couldn't. They showed up, but we sent 
        them away.

        Q: Okay. Were you surprised to learn that there would 
        be press at the council meeting?

        A: I was.\38\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \38\Id. at 52-53.

    Stevens' visit to Benghazi therefore became public to the 
extent it was not otherwise known.\39\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \39\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Stevens found the meeting with the Local Council fruitful, 
but noted Council members seemed to feel slighted that no 
sitting U.S. Ambassador had visited the city since the 
revolution ended.\40\ This was a concern among the leaders in 
Benghazi at the time, as they feared the Libyan Government's 
control and power would remain in Tripoli as it had been during 
the Qadhafi regime, thus marginalizing not just Benghazi, but 
the whole of Eastern Libya. Stevens noted this concern in his 
personal diary:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \40\J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Personal 
Diary, Unofficial Testimony prepared by Patrick F. Kennedy, et al. 
(Sept. 10, 2012) (on file with the Committee, STATE-SCB0048881).

        They're an impressive & sincere group of 
        professionals--proud of their service on committees, 
        all working as volunteers. Their main problem is a lack 
        of budget & authorities. Tripoli still runs the country 
        & its bureaucrats are an uneven quality. There was a 
        little sourness about why it has taken so long to get 
        to Benghazi, and about Ambassadors who came to talk but 
        don't do anything to follow up. But overall it was a 
        positive meeting.\41\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \41\Id.

          September 10 Phone Call on September 11 Preparedness

    On September 10, 2012, the day Stevens arrived in Benghazi, 
American military forces were reminded to ``do everything 
possible to protect the American people, both at home and 
abroad.''\42\ That day the President conducted a conference 
call with key national security principals to discuss the steps 
taken to protect U.S. persons and facilities abroad and force 
protection. Leon E. Panetta, Secretary of Defense, one of the 
conference call participants acknowledged they ``were already 
tracking an inflammatory anti-Muslim video that was circulating 
on the Internet and inciting anger across the Middle East 
against the United States'' and that they ``braced for 
demonstrations in Cairo and elsewhere across the region.''\43\ 
Due to the Arab Spring, it was a time of heightened concern for 
that region in general. In particular, the discussion focused 
on several areas including Cairo, Tripoli, Tunis, Khartoum, and 
Sana'a, due to intelligence indicating potential demonstrations 
could erupt in those areas.\44\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \42\Readout of the President's Meeting with Senior Administration 
Officials on Our Preparedness and Security Posture on the Eleventh 
Anniversary of September 11th, dated Sept. 10, 2012.
    \43\Leon E. Panetta, Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War 
and Peace 225 (2014).
    \44\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Based on the September 10 conference call with national 
security principals and the President, the Defense Department 
placed its forces on ``higher alert because of the potential 
for what could happen.''\45\ Yet, the intelligence and the call 
for a ``heightened alert'' did not cause any actual adjustment 
in its posture for assets that could respond to a crisis in 
North Africa.\46\ Some assets were in the middle of training 
exercises, and others were in the middle of inspections. No 
fighter jets or tankers were placed on a ``heightened alert'' 
status.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \45\Id.
    \46\Id. See also, letter from Ashton B. Carter, Sec'y of Defense, 
to Trey Gowdy, Chairman, House Select Committee on Benghazi, Apr. 8, 
2015 (``However, it is worth noting that none of the military forces 
listed above were placed on heightened alert ahead of the attacks on 
Benghazi on September 11, 2012.'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                           SEPTEMBER 11, 2012

         Morning in Benghazi: ``Never Ending Security Threats''

    The September 10 visit to Benghazi was Stevens' first since 
becoming Ambassador, and the city had changed since his 
departure in the fall of 2011.\47\ A growing extremist movement 
had taken hold within the city limits and Stevens spent part of 
September 10th being briefed on what was happening from a 
security standpoint. One CIA officer described the declining 
security environment in Benghazi at the time:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \47\J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Personal 
Diary, Unofficial Transcript prepared by Patrick F. Kennedy, et al. 
(Sept. 10, 2012) (on file with the Committee, SCB0048881).

        It was a really unique and difficult environment to 
        operate in in eastern Libya. It was really a unique 
        environment. It's a country that we have not had--I 
        mean, as you know, it was a closed country and it was a 
        police state, and it's not like it's a country that we 
        had a ton of experience in how to operate in.

                              *    *    *

        New groups are forming. New groups are dissolving. 
        Outside groups are interfering and starting to 
        establish presence. So it was an extremely dynamic and 
        fluid situation.

        As I said, you know, we had the handicap of not having 
        good SIGINT coverage within the country. And that goes 
        back to the fact that Libya, in general, was a denied 
        area for a long, long time for us, and it's an area 
        that was very difficult to operate in.

        Q: Now, [redacted text]. And I've noticed you've used 
        the same word three times, ``deteriorating.'' And one 
        would think that a post-revolutionary country probably 
        would be in not the greatest of positions to begin 
        with.

        A: Right.

        Q: And what you're saying is it deteriorated even from 
        that.

        A: That's correct.

        Q: And tell me why you have chosen to use that word and 
        what you mean by ``deteriorating''?

        A: The level of armed conflict and fighting between the 
        various groups increased. The level of assassinations, 
        attacks on foreign entities increased. There were 
        entire towns, specifically Derna and around it, that 
        became very difficult to travel to; checkpoints that 
        were manned by individuals dressed in Afghan garb, 
        jihadi garb; a lot of evidence of foreign fighters 
        coming in from outside the country.

        Specifically in June of 2012, right before the 
        elections, the Islamist militia had an overt show of 
        force, where they had a military parade roll in from 
        eastern Libya to downtown Benghazi. I mean, I guess it 
        was a message to the Libyan electorate that we are here 
        and we have a presence and we want to establish Islamic 
        State inside Libya and we want sharia to be the law of 
        the country. So there was, like, a lot of attempts to 
        intimidate the populace in Libya by these extremist 
        groups.\48\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \48\Officer A Testimony at 147-49.

    Security concerns and the anniversary of September 11 kept 
Stevens on the Benghazi Mission compound for his day full of 
meetings.
    According to his prepared agenda Stevens had meetings with 
the 17th February Brigade, the Arabian Gulf Oil Company, and 
the head of the al-Marfa Shipping and Maritime Services 
Company.\49\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \49\Schedule for J. Christopher Stevens, Ambassador, Benghazi 
Libya: September 10-14 (on file with the Committee, C05396585).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Early on the morning of September 11th, one of the 
Diplomatic Security Agents in Benghazi was notified of an 
individual dressed in a uniform typically worn by the local 
police force conducting surveillance of the Mission.\50\ The 
Diplomatic Security Agent in charge reported the incident to 
the head security officer in country at the Embassy in Tripoli 
and to staff at both the Benghazi Mission compound and the 
Annex, including Stevens.\51\ The Diplomatic Security Agent 
described the incident:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \50\Email from Diplomatic Sec. Agent 2 (Sept. 11, 2012, 5:00 PM) 
(on file with the Committee, C05271656).
    \51\Id.; see also Diplomatic Sec. Agent 5 Testimony at 104-105; 
Diplomatic Sec. Agent 2 Testimony at 80.

        We received word from our local guards that this 
        morning they observed a member of the police force 
        assigned to the Mission at a construction site across 
        the street from our main gate taking pictures of our 
        compound. I briefed the Ambo and provided him drafts of 
        letters notifying the [Libyan Ministry of Foreign 
        Affairs] and police. Will let you know any further 
        details.\52\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \52\Email from a Diplomatic Sec. Agent (Sept. 11, 2012, 5:00 PM) 
(on file with the Committee, C05271656).

    In Benghazi, the Supreme Security Council was the ``most 
prominent'' official police force, ``assembled from former 
members of the various militias as an interim security 
measure.''\53\ It was ``designed to be an interim security 
measure'' following the revolution but had not coalesced into 
an established force and had little impact on the security 
incidents in Benghazi.\54\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \53\U.S. Dep't of State, Cable, The Guns of August: security in 
eastern Libya (Aug. 8, 2012) (on file with the Committee, C055782149).
    \54\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Stevens' last meeting of the day was with the Turkish 
Consul General. He escorted the Turkish diplomat to the front 
gate of the compound that evening at 7:39 p.m. [1:39 p.m. in 
Washington D.C.].\55\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \55\Comprehensive Timeline of Events--Benghazi (on file with the 
Committee, SCB0047843).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Stevens' last entry in his personal journal, dated 
September 11, 2012, read: ``Never ending security threats . . . 
''\56\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \56\J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Personal 
Diary, Unofficial Transcript prepared by Patrick F. Kennedy, et al. 
(Sept. 10, 2012) (on file with the Committee, SCB0048881).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                A Protest Begins at the U.S. Embassy in 
                      Cairo, Egypt on September 11

    In the hours preceding the attacks in Benghazi, a protest 
of approximately 2,000 demonstrators assembled outside the U.S. 
Embassy in Cairo, Egypt.\57\ Cairo is some 600 miles east of 
Benghazi. Plans for a demonstration in Cairo first began to 
coalesce in late August 2012 with the designated terrorist 
organization, Jamaa Islamiya, calling upon its supporters to 
protest the continued incarceration of its leader, Sheikh Omaar 
abdel Rahman, also known as the ``Blind Sheik.''\58\ Rahman is 
serving a life prison sentence for his role in the 1993 World 
Trade Center bombing.\59\ Additionally, in the days preceding 
the September 11 demonstration in Cairo, an Arabic version of a 
trailer for a little known anti-Islamic film, produced in the 
United States, was posted on YouTube.\60\ This trailer caught 
the attention of Muslims in Egypt and calls were made on 
television, in newspapers, and on social media, to protest the 
denigration of the Muslim faith as depicted in the movie 
trailer at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on September 11, 2012.\61\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \57\Email to Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the 
U.N. (Sept. 11, 2012, 7:55 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05390691) 
(re: FOR SER INFO: More on Cairo Embassy Attack).
    \58\See Larry Bell, Muslim Brotherhood Fox Was Hired To Protect Our 
Benghazi Consulate Henhouse, Forbes (Dec. 2, 2012), http://
www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2012/12/02/muslim-
brotherhood-fox-was-hired-to-protect-our-benghazi-consulate-henhouse-
interview.
    \59\Id.
    \60\The original trailer, in English, was posted in July 2012. See 
Phil Willon and Rebecca Keegan, Timeline: ``Innocence of Muslims'' 
Unrest, LA Times (Sept. 13, 2012), http://
articles.latimes.com/2012/sep/12/entertainment/la-et-mn-antiislam-film-
sparks-violence-20120912.
    \61\Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail, Anti-U.S. outrage over video 
began with Christian activist's phone call to a reporter, McClatchy 
Newspapers (Sept. 15, 2012), http://www.
mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/world/article24737101.html; see also, 
Email from State Department Press Office, U.S. Dep't of State, to State 
Department Press Office, U.S. Dep't of State (Sept. 13, 2012 4:54 PM) 
(on file with the Committee, C05580045) (The film trailer ``had 
actually been circulating at a relatively low level for some months out 
there in cyberspace and that it only caught fire in the region on the 
day or just before that day that we began to see these various 
protests.'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Multiple agencies of the U.S. government were aware of the 
impending demonstration in Egypt. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo 
notified the State Department, coordinated with Egyptian 
leaders, and ordered most of its personnel not to report to 
work that day.\62\ The Department of Homeland Security issued 
an intelligence report on September 10, 2012 advising that the 
Cairo Embassy might be targeted as a means to call for the 
release of the Blind Sheik as well as in response to an anti-
Islam film.\63\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \62\See id. (``in the day or days prior to the protests that became 
violent at our Embassy in Cairo, the film had been shown on Egyptian 
television and was being quite heavily watched, and our social media 
tracking indicated that . . . we expected it to be localized to 
Egypt.'').
    \63\Catherine Herridge, DHS report warned last week of call for 
`burning the embassy down' in Cairo, Fox News, (Sept. 19, 2012), http:/
/www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/09/19/dhs-report-warned-last-week-call-
for-burning-embassy-down-in-cairo.print.html; see also Intel agencies 
warned U.S. embassy in Egypt of possible violence over film, Al Arabiya 
News (Sept. 18, 2012), http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/09/18/
238658.html.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Shortly after noon in Cairo [6 a.m. in Washington D.C.] on 
September 11, 2012, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo posted a tweet 
condemning those who would ``hurt the religious feelings of 
Muslims.''\64\ A few hours later, demonstrators began gathering 
outside the perimeter wall of the Embassy in Cairo.\65\ The 
crowd of demonstrators grew to nearly 2,000 people.\66\ Armed 
with spray paint, a handful of demonstrators scaled the walls, 
tore down the American flag, ripped it to shreds, and replaced 
it with a black militant Islamic flag.\67\ According to 
Kennedy, there were no weapons shown or used during the protest 
in Cairo.\68\ Within hours, the Egyptian police were able to 
``move the protesters off the compound peacefully.''\69\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \64\Email from Victoria J. Nuland, Spokesperson, U.S. Dep't of 
State, to Wendy Sherman, Under Sec'y for Political Affairs, U.S. Dep't 
of State, et al. (Sept. 12, 2012, 6:08 PM) (on file with the Committee, 
C05580024) (Subject: Today's Benghazi backgrounding points) (``The 
statement was issued from Embassy Cairo just after noon Cairo time on 
September 11, well before the incident at the Embassy.''); see also 
Karen Yourish and David A. Fahrenthold, Timeline 
on Libya and Egypt: Attacks and response, Wash. Post, (Sept. 12, 2012), 
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/decision2012/timeline-on-libya-
and-egypt-attacks-and-response/2012/09/12/85288638-fd03-11e1-a31e-
804fccb658f9_story.html?hpid=z1.
    \65\Email to Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the 
U.N. (Sept. 11, 2012, 7:55 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05390691) 
(re: FOR SER INFO: More on Cairo Embassy Attack).
    \66\Id.
    \67\Id.
    \68\Email from Legislative Mgmt. Officer, U.S. Dep't of State, to 
H_Egypt, et al. (Sept. 12, 2012 7:55 PM) (on file with the Committee, 
C05562234) (Subject: Write up of U/S Kennedy Call with Hill re Libya) 
(``Attack in Cairo was a demonstration. There were no weapons shown or 
used. A few cans of spray paint.'').
    \69\Email to Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the 
U.N. (Sept. 11, 2012, 7:55 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05390691) 
(re: FOR SER INFO: More on Cairo Embassy Attack) (``Egyptian police did 
finally move the protesters off the compound peacefully.'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    United States Africa Command [AFRICOM] was the U.S 
Combatant Command with responsibility for all of Africa, except 
Egypt. Despite Egypt not being in its area of responsibility, 
AFRICOM observed the Cairo protest throughout the day. Vice 
Admiral Charles J. Leidig, the Deputy Commander for Military 
Operations at AFRICOM, discussed AFRICOM's actions that day:

        [W]e had been observing the events on that day in Cairo 
        and the protests, and we were concerned that those 
        protests would cause other protests throughout the 
        region, and particularly in North Africa. Even though 
        Egypt is not in our area of responsibility, it surely 
        has an affinity with the other countries that are in 
        Northern Africa. So we were watching that carefully.

        So I actually recall staying at work until almost 1900 
        [7:00 p.m. in Libya] because we wanted to see if any 
        riots or protests would break out, and they didn't.\70\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \70\Testimony of Vice Admiral Charles J. Leidig, Deputy Commander 
for Military Operations, U.S. Africa Command, Tr. at 25-26 (Mar. 20, 
2014) [hereinafter Leidig 2014 Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

    Despite the size of the crowd of demonstrators in Cairo and 
the length of the demonstration, the protest in Cairo prompted 
no change in force laydown for the forces that might respond to 
unrest in North Africa. In other words, neither the President's 
meeting with his Cabinet which included a discussion of the 
anti-Muslim film nor the anniversary of September 11, 2001, nor 
the demonstration in Cairo prompted any change in U.S. military 
posture or asset readiness in the region.

            The Anti-Muslim Film was a ``Nonevent'' in Libya

    The protests in Cairo had little to no impact on the 
Benghazi Mission compound or throughout Libya. While the anti-
Muslim film was one of the reasons protests were called for in 
Egypt, it was virtually unknown in Libya. Hicks testified 
regarding the reaction in Libya to the film:

        Q: Was it your understanding that the Cairo protest had 
        been planned and called for?

        A: I believe I understood that at the time.

        Q: Okay. Had there been any similar protest in Libya 
        that were planned and called for prior to that day?

        A: No there were not. And so we were interested in 
        monitoring all our contacts, and monitoring social 
        media, news outlets, to see if anything erupted in 
        Libya that was comparable to what was happening in 
        Cairo. And we wanted to do that, but we wanted to do 
        that as safely as possible.

                              *    *    *

        Q: Okay. We have heard reports that the demonstrations 
        in Cairo were at least in part if not solely based on 
        some sort of video or film trailer that was out that 
        was demeaning to the Prophet Mohammed. Did you have 
        that understanding at the time?

        A: Of the Cairo----

        Q: Yes.

        A: --demonstrations?

        Q: Yes.

        A: I think maybe I did. I'm not sure.

        Q: . Were you monitoring within Libya for any type of 
        reaction to this film?

        A: Yes.

        Q: Okay. And how long had you been monitoring in Libya 
        for any type of reaction to this film?

        A: I think we had begun monitoring since about 
        September 8th.

        Q: Okay. And had you had any reaction or hits on your 
        monitoring?

        A: Very few, if any.

        Q: So it appeared to be a nonevent in the country of 
        Libya?

        A: It was a nonevent in the country of Libya.

        Q: Did you have any conversations with Ambassador 
        Stevens regarding the demonstrations in Cairo and the 
        actions that you were taking in response to that?

        A: I had texted him and said, hey, are you watching TV? 
        Embassy Cairo is under attack.

                              *    *    *

        Q: And did he respond?
        A: He said, really? And I can't remember exactly what 
        he said, but anyway it was, what's going on? And I 
        said, the embassy's been breached, the flag's been 
        taken down, the black flag has been raised in its 
        place.

        Q: Was that the sum total of your communication back 
        and forth.

        A: That was the sum total of our communication.\71\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \71\Hicks Apr. 2016 Testimony at 64-68.

    One of the Diplomatic Security Agents in Benghazi told the 
Committee what happened after Stevens learned of the Cairo 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
protests:

        Q: Did you hear at any point during the day at some 
        time about a protest in Cairo?

        A: Yes. I can't remember exactly when, but I was made 
        aware of the protests in Cairo, and the Ambassador had 
        asked about it.

        Q: And were you actually in a conversation with the 
        Ambassador?

        A: I was in a conversation with the Ambassador when he 
        said, hey, something's going on in Cairo, and he asked 
        me if I would be able to find out something about it 
        for him.

        Q: And were you able to?

        A: I made some phone calls to the command center, in 
        D.C. but there was no other information that I received 
        other than that there was a protest, and they were 
        actually in the process of evaluating the 
        situation.\72\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \72\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 2 Testimony at 82-83.

    As in Tripoli, the agents in Benghazi monitored social 
media for any planned or called-for demonstrations. On 
September 11, there was no indication in Benghazi that any 
protests over the film trailer were planned.\73\ With the film 
being a virtual nonevent in Libya, the Diplomatic Security 
Agents saw no reason to change their security posture that day. 
One Diplomatic Security Agent recounted:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \73\Email from Agent 5, Diplomatic Sec. Agent, U.S. Dep't of State, 
to J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya (Sept. 11, 2012 
1:39 AM) (on file with the Committee, C05393199) (Subject: Daily 
Security Update).

        Q: And do you remember any conversations about whether 
        or not, because of what the Ambassador had been hearing 
        and asked you to follow-up on, or any other reasons, of 
        potentially changing anything about the security setup 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        for that evening?

        A: No, no I--no, I can't think of any changes that we 
        talked about making or made based on that.\74\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \74\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 2 Testimony at 84-85.

                          Evening in Benghazi

    On the evening of September 11, 2012, there were a total of 
seven U.S. personnel, including Stevens, on the ground at the 
compound at the time of the attack.\75\ Sean P. Smith, who 
prior to working for the State Department served in the United 
States Air Force, was one of the U.S. personnel there. Smith 
was serving as the Information Management Officer. He had been 
in Benghazi on a temporary tour of duty from The Hague for 30 
days. He arrived on September 1 and his role was to run the 
administrative component of the Mission. The other five U.S. 
personnel at the compound that evening included the two 
Diplomatic Security Agents who travelled with Stevens from 
Tripoli to Benghazi, and the three Diplomatic Security Agents 
assigned to Benghazi.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \75\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 Testimony at 142.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Stevens' last event of the day was a meeting with the 
Turkish Consul General, [redacted text]. The Consul General 
departed at 7:39 p.m. local time, and four British security 
team members departed at 8:27 p.m.\76\ No other visitors were 
on the Mission compound that night. There was no evidence of 
any group assembled outside the Mission compound gate: large, 
small, peaceful or otherwise.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \76\Video: DVR Footage of the Mission (Sept. 11, 2012, 1940 and 
2027, respectively).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          THERE WAS NO PROTEST

    All five Diplomatic Security Agents on the ground that 
night in Benghazi were consistent in their testimony--before 
the attack began, there was no protest.
    One agent testified:

        Q: So the intelligence in and around Benghazi was that 
        there was no planned protest?

        A: I did not hear of a planned protest, no.

        Q: No one communicated that to you.

        A: No, I did not hear that.\77\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \77\Testimony of Diplomatic Sec. Agent 1, U.S. Dep't of State, Tr. 
at 50-51 (Mar. 6, 2015) [hereinafter Diplomatic Sec. Agent 1 Testimony] 
(on file with the Committee).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Another agent testified:

        Q: Do you recall at any time during the day seeing any 
        type of crowd form outside of the mission compound.

        A: Other than?

        Q: Other than normal activity that would have occurred 
        in Benghazi, just people coming and going.

        A: So other than the attack and the attackers, no.

        Q: Okay. So there was no protest, to the best of your 
        knowledge, the day of the attack.

        A: Not to my knowledge.\78\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \78\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 2 Testimony at 123-124.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yet another agent testified:

        Q: From your perspective, had there been a protest?

        A: No. There was nothing out there up until, well, up 
        until there was. I had been out of the gate at 8:30 
        that night. We had had personnel leaving the compound, 
        and they drove away from our compound and didn't report 
        anything, and I spoke with them subsequently, there was 
        nothing out there.\79\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \79\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 Testimony at 31-32.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A fourth agent testified:

        Q: Prior to the attack occurred [sic], did you hear 
        anything on the outside, such as chanting or any type 
        of sounds [that] would be a protest?

        A: No, I never heard any sort of chanting or protest or 
        anything.

        Q: Would it then be an accurate description to describe 
        the attack as a sort of stealth attack?

        A: It was very sudden. As I had mentioned, conditions 
        immediately before the only warning that I had that 
        something was amiss was that--kind of that cry that I 
        heard at assault on the main gate.

        Q: So it was very sudden. And the first attackers that 
        you saw enter, were they armed?

        A: Yes.\80\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \80\Testimony of Diplomatic Sec. Agent 4, U.S. Dep't of State, Tr. 
at 144 (Mar. 16, 2015) [hereinafter Diplomatic Sec. Agent 4 Testimony] 
(on file with the Committee).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The fifth agent testified:

        Q: If there had been something about a planned protest 
        in Benghazi, would that be the type of information that 
        you would have been interested in?

        A: Yes.

        Q: Do you recall any such information?

        A: No.\81\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \81\Testimony of Diplomatic Sec. Agent 5, U.S. Dep't of State, Tr. 
at 105 (Apr. 1, 2015) [hereinafter Diplomatic Sec. Agent 5 Testimony] 
(on file with the Committee).

    Hicks was asked ``if there was . . . a protest [outside the 
facility], would that have been reported?''\82\ In his view:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \82\Hicks Apr. 2013 Testimony at 81.

        [A]bsolutely, I mean, we're talking about both security 
        officers who know their trade, even though they are 
        brand new, and one of the finest political officers in 
        the history of the Foreign Service. You know, for there 
        to have been a demonstration on Chris Stevens' front 
        door and him not to have reported it is unbelievable. 
        And secondly, if he had reported it, he would have been 
        out the back door within minutes of any demonstration 
        appearing anywhere near that facility. And there was a 
        back gate to the facility, and, you know, it 
        worked.\83\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \83\Id. at 81-82.

                  THE MISSION'S EMERGENCY ACTION PLAN

    The Mission's emergency action plan relied on the 
Diplomatic Security Agents as well as the two contracted 
internal security support entities: The Blue Mountain Guard 
Force and the February 17 Martyrs Brigade. The Blue Mountain 
Guard Force consisted of unarmed guards whose primary role was 
static surveillance of the three entrance gates as well as the 
interior of the compound. These guards had access to an alarm 
should any danger present itself. According to one Diplomatic 
Security Agent:

        The primary purpose of a local guard force is to man 
        the perimeter and the gates in order to delay and deter 
        potential security risks and to afford us additional 
        notice . . . if there were to be a security risk. In 
        addition, they were in charge of access control, so 
        screening people as they were coming in the compound, 
        screening vehicles as there were coming in the 
        compound.\84\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \84\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 4 Testimony at 16.

    The February 17 Martyrs Brigade consisted of a rotating set 
of three to four armed guards who lived on compound to operate 
as a quick reaction force to respond to any security incidents 
against the Mission. Their role was to augment security 
provided by the Diplomatic Security Agents. In addition, the 
February 17 Martyrs Brigade was supposed to send additional 
armed guards if an event occurred at the Mission compound. 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
According to one Diplomatic Security Agent:

        Q: And [how] did their role and responsibility differ 
        from the local guard force [Blue Mountain Group]?

        A: Well, they were armed primarily. But really what we 
        counted on them to do was make a phone call to the 17th 
        February Martyrs Brigade so that we could receive 
        backup in case something happened.

        Q: Okay. So you were aware that they had a larger 
        contingent of people that was to be available to----

        A: Right. Right.\85\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \85\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 5 Testimony at 22.

    One Diplomatic Security Agent provided a description of the 
emergency action plan at the compound and how the local guards 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
were expected to supplement this plan:

        The reaction plan, whether it was something small on 
        the first or something larger ultimately on the 11th or 
        12th, and this is the plan that we actually followed, 
        but the reaction plan is to shelter in place. That you 
        would take the principal officers, you secure them in 
        Villa C. The agent or whoever was in the [Tactical 
        Operations Center] building would go operate the 
        communications and reach out to the security elements 
        that were supposed to react.

        The security elements that were supposed to react 
        includes the local guard is supposed to just give us an 
        alert, a heads up of what's going on. The three to four 
        [February17 Martyrs Brigade] members that live on the 
        compound are supposed to take an active role in our 
        internal defense; additionally, the 20 person [February 
        17 Martyrs Brigade] with heavy weapons and heavy 
        vehicles 2 kilometers away that had responded in the 
        past and were expected to respond to any event that 
        necessitated them in the future. The security element 
        encompassing other Americans was part of the react plan 
        as well to support the [February 17 Martyrs Brigade] 
        elements that were going to come as well.

        So we're talking almost 30 armed personnel where 
        arrangements were made for them to respond to our 
        location, and had done so in training and in actuality 
        in past events. So whether the attack had happened--
        whether something had happened on the first, and it 
        didn't, although we had somebody armed armed personnel 
        on the roof all night, a rotating presence, or 
        something that did happen on the 11th or 12th, the 
        expectations were for these elements to respond as they 
        had done in the past.\86\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \86\See Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 Testimony at 46-47 (for additional 
details on the reaction plans); see also Diplomatic Sec. Agent 4 
Testimony at 20 and 82, and Diplomatic Sec. Agent 5 Testimony at 88 and 
90.

    The unarmed Blue Mountain Guard Force was fully staffed the 
evening of September 11, 2012, with five guards. Two of those 
guards were assigned to the main entrance of the Benghazi 
Mission compound.\87\ Three of the four armed February 17 
Martyrs Brigade guards were at the compound at the time of the 
attack. One of the guards left early for a reported ``family 
obligation'' with no replacement. The three remaining guards 
were within the vicinity of the main gate just prior to the 
attack.\88\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \87\Letter from U.S. Dep't of State to Blue Mountain Group (Feb. 
17, 2012) (on file with the Committee, C05395135) (Subject: Notice of 
Contract Award Contract No. SAQMMA-12-C-0092 Local Guard Services 
Benghazi, Libya).
    \88\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 Testimony at 147.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     ALL IS QUIET AT THE FRONT GATE

    The Diplomatic Security Agents at the compound did not 
observe any activity at the main gate during the hour leading 
up to the attack.\89\ The only movement of note was the arrival 
of a local police vehicle at the main gate at approximately 
9:02 p.m. [3:02 p.m. in Washington D.C.].\90\ According to one 
of the Diplomatic Security Agents, the one security component 
consistently lacking at the compound on a regular basis ``was 
the police support on the exterior of the compound.''\91\ On 
September 6, 2012, in the lead-up to Stevens' visit, the 
Mission requested the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
provide one vehicle at each gate of the Mission ``round the 
clock (24 hours/day) from Sept 10, 2012 to September 15, 2012'' 
to supplement security during Stevens' visit.\92\ As the 
morning began on September 11, no police vehicle was located at 
any of the compound gates.\93\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \89\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 4 Testimony at 127; see also Diplomatic 
Sec. Agent 5 Testimony at 113-114; Diplomatic Sec. Agent 2 Testimony at 
85; Diplomatic Sec. Agent 4 Testimony at 36 (``We did have visibility 
issues, especially at night with our CCTV system. For that reason one 
of the efforts that I tried to lead was having the ESO, Engineering 
Sec. Office, come out to install new CCTV cameras that we had received. 
Unfortunately, it wasn't to be. They were scheduled to arrive I believe 
the week after the attack.'').
    \90\DVR: Footage of the Mission. (Sept. 11, 2012).
    \91\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 Testimony at 109.
    \92\U.S. Dep't of State, Diplomatic Note #59 prepared for the 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dir. of Gen. 
Protocol Dep't Branch, Benghazi Office (Sept. 6, 2012) (on file with 
the Committee, C05389670).
    \93\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 1 Testimony at 7.

        Q: Who was--what was your understanding of who the SSC 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        was?

        A: The Supreme Security Council. I knew that it was a 
        pseudo militia/police force/military elements, of, 
        again, different militia groups.

        Q: And do you know what the request had been for 
        increased security?

        A: For at least two vehicles, I believe at each gate.

        Q: And how--had that request been granted?

        A: They told me the request went in. I don't know 
        specifics of whether it was granted. The first day 
        [September 10] I do remember two vehicles outside, 
        though.

        Q: And did they express to you any concerns about the 
        status of their request, that it hadn't been granted 
        and that had caused concern for them?

        A: That day, no, but the next day, there were--two 
        vehicles weren't on--on stations, at the mission, so 
        yeah, that was a concern.

        Q: Okay. So that would have been on 9/11----

        A: Yes.\94\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \94\Id.

    That evening, however, a vehicle arrived outside of the 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mission compound's front gate at 9:02 p.m.

              WARNINGS AND INDICATORS PRIOR TO THE ATTACKS

    Shortly before the attacks began, a [redacted text] 
extremist indicated [redacted text] on their way to attack the 
[Mission compound's front gate] in Benghazi.\95\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \95\[Redacted text].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee also found evidence that a former TNC 
security official also claimed he attempted to pass threat 
information directly to the CIA Benghazi Annex prior to the 
attack. A few days after the attacks, on September 15, 2012, 
the [redacted text]\96\ [redacted text]\97\ [redacted text]\98\ 
[redacted text] the former TNC official tried to relay the 
information to the Director of the Libyan Intelligence Service 
and his assistant, who were both out of the country. [Redacted 
text].''\99\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \96\[Redacted text].
    \97\Id.
    \98\Id.
    \99\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [Redacted text], however--but what the Committee has 
uncovered and verified--was the former TNC security official 
also claimed he attempted to pass this threat information 
directly to the CIA Benghazi Annex prior to the attack. This 
claim was acknowledged by both the Chief of Base in Benghazi 
and another CIA officer:\100\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \100\Officer A Testimony at 100; see also, Testimony of Chief of 
Base, Cent. Intel. Agency, Tr. at 130 (July 16, 2015) [hereinafter 
Chief of Base Testimony] (on file with the Committee).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Prior to the attacks, [redacted text]\101\ [redacted 
text]\102\ [redacted text].\103\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \101\Officer A Testimony at 57, 59-60.
    \102\Officer A Testimony at 85.
    \103\See Officer A Testimony at 86. But see, Chief of Base 
Testimony at 139 ([redacted text].'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [Redacted text], the CIA was unable to confirm whether or 
not the former TNC security official's claim is true. A 
[redacted text]\104\ [redacted text]\105\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \104\Officer A Testimony at 63-64.
    \105\Id. at 64.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The CIA also reviewed [redacted text]\106\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \106\Attestation regarding [redacted text].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A third person also claimed he tried to contact the U.S. 
government prior to the attack. A Libyan Special Advisor on 
Security ``claimed he had tried to warn the U.S. government of 
the potential for an attack on the Consulate prior to the 
attack taking place.''\107\ This individual ``left Libya 
immediately after the attack'' and ``was afraid of potential 
threats against him, based in part on his assumption that there 
were documents in the Consulate likely found by the attackers, 
that they might interpret as him sympathizing with the U.S. 
Government.''\108\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \107\See Email to [Tripoli Station], Sept. 21, 2012 [REQUEST 
1000790 to REQUEST 1000795].
    \108\Id.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
            THE FIRST ATTACK ON THE BENGHAZI MISSION BEGINS

    At 9:42 p.m., the Libyan police vehicle at the front gate 
of the Benghazi Mission compound rapidly departed at the same 
time attackers advanced toward the main entrance.\109\ Prior to 
that, the Libyan police did not warn the Diplomatic Security 
Agents at the compound, the unarmed Blue Mountain Guards, or 
the armed February 17 Martyrs Brigade members of the surging 
attackers or of their own departure.\110\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \109\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 at 140 (``I can say within 30 seconds 
to a minute, before the attack started the single police car that was 
out there was a truck and it departed the scene.''); see also, DVR 
Footage of the Mission (Sept. 11, 2012, 9:42 PM).
    \110\Id. at 141.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As the police vehicle fled, dozens of armed men rushed the 
compound and an explosion occurred near the main gate.\111\ It 
was the beginning of what would be not one, but several attacks 
on the Benghazi Mission compound.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \111\See Diplomatic Sec. Agent 4 Testimony at 144. See also, 
Diplomatic Sec. Agent 2 at 85-86; DVR Footage of the Mission (Sept. 11, 
2012, 2142.53).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Diplomatic Security Agents recalled first hearing 
taunts and chants when the attackers rushed the compound and 
then a loud explosion. They knew they were in imminent danger. 
According to one Diplomatic Security Agent:

        Q: And how did you find out about the attack?

        A: I heard a loud explosion and chanting outside.

        Q: When you say chanting, what would be----

        A: Yelling, screaming.\112\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \112\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 1 Testimony at 55.

    Attackers quickly breached the main gate pouring onto the 
compound.\113\ One Diplomatic Security Agent described his 
reaction:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \113\DVR Footage of the Mission (Sept. 11, 2012, 2143.50).

        I see the men on the compound. I immediately picked up 
        the PA system, and I say, attention on compound, 
        attention on compound, this is not a drill. Repeat, 
        this is not a drill.\114\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \114\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 Testimony at 137.

    The Diplomatic Security Agent immediately activated the 
alarm in accordance with the Compound's Emergency Action Plan 
calling for shelter in place.\115\ He stated: ``The react plan 
is exactly what happened: shelter in place, contact your 
support elements, and wait for their arrival.''\116\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \115\Id.
    \116\Id. at 142.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As the alarm was sounding, two unarmed Blue Mountain Guards 
fled through the main gate.\117\ Immediately upon the initial 
breach of the main gate, the attackers were engaged briefly by 
gunfire by one or more February 17 Martyrs Brigade guards. 
According to one Diplomatic Security Agent, one of the guards 
was shot during this engagement:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \117\DVR Footage of the Mission (Sept. 11, 2012, 2142).

        At least one of them got shot. One of the local guards 
        at least one, if not two, of the local guards were 
        shot, as well, in the process. It was as this group 
        moved from building to building and we sheltered per 
        our react plan.\118\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \118\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 Testimony at 147.

    With minimal resistance at the main entrance, the attackers 
quickly pushed onto the compound and cornered the armed 
February 17 Martyrs Brigade guards inside their barracks and 
set fire to the barracks.\119\ The guards incurred no 
fatalities that evening. Besides the initial exchange of 
gunfire at the main entrance, no additional gunfire was 
directed toward the attackers on the compound prior to the end 
of the first wave of attacks at the Benghazi Mission compound.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \119\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    After the alarm was initiated, the Diplomatic Security 
Agent in the Tactical Operations Center [TOC] immediately 
called the GRS personnel at the Annex, located approximately 
one mile from the Benghazi Mission compound.\120\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \120\Id. at 141.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Diplomatic Security Agents were able to establish an 
open line of communication through a shared radio [redacted 
text] with the Annex during the attack allowing the two 
locations to have continuous communication.\121\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \121\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    At the same time, another Diplomatic Security Agent 
relocated to the TOC and tried to call the 17th February guards 
on the Mission compound for help.\122\ After this attempt 
failed, the Diplomatic Security Agent called the Annex compound 
and asked them to contact the headquarters of the February 17 
Martyrs Brigade to request support.\123\ The Diplomatic 
Security Agent also called the Libyan Ministry of Foreign 
Affairs for support.\124\ The agents in the TOC then notified 
the lead security officer in Tripoli.\125\ One Diplomatic 
Security Agent described their actions:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \122\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 4 Testimony at 129.
    \123\Id.
    \124\Id. at 148; Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 Testimony at 141.
    \125\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 Testimony at 141; see also, Email to 
Principal Officer 4, U.S. Dep't of State (Sept. 14, 2012, 8:07 AM). 
(Subject: Re: Log of events on 9/11/12-9/12/12) (on file with the 
Committee, SCB00472640).

        So we are in the TOC office. The other agent and I 
        began to make our calls. I notify the second American 
        compound via radio. The other agent notifies the 
        February 17 Martyrs Brigade members. And then I 
        subsequently notify Tripoli, who subsequently notifies 
        D.C.; it is either State ops or the command center. We 
        basically have an open line via radio with the other 
        Americans at the second compound. And I keep Tripoli on 
        speakerphone almost the whole time as we are working 
        through and relaying what is going on.\126\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \126\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 Testimony at 141; Diplomatic Sec. 
Agent 4 Testimony at 128-29.

    Meanwhile, Stevens, Smith, and one Diplomatic Security 
Agent retreated to the safe haven of Villa C, a dedicated area 
within the Villa that was reinforced with a metal barred-
door.\127\ The Diplomatic Security Agent who was with Stevens 
and Smith described what happened:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \127\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 Testimony at 141; see also Diplomatic 
Sec. Agent 5 Testimony at 114.

        I remember hearing the chants. I mean, they were fairly 
        close already. I mean, yelling distance, which is 
        pretty close especially in a city setting. So my 
        impression is that I don't have much time. So I ran 
        right to my room, you know, put my helmet on, put my 
        vest on, grabbed my weapons, my additional weapons, and 
        I turned to lock the gate, and basically, it was a jail 
        cell door with three locks on it. I locked all three 
        locks. And at about that time Ambassador Stevens and 
        Sean Smith were coming out to their rooms. Sean Smith 
        was already, you know, donning his helmet and vest. I 
        guided them both into the safe haven, and set myself up 
        in the safe haven with--I was holding my M4.''\128\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \128\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 5 Testimony at 114.

    Two other Diplomatic Security Agents attempted to ``go back 
to Villa C to also provide protection for Stevens, but not to 
shoot at this large group.''\129\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \129\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 Testimony at 142.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The agents in Villa B attempted to go to Villa C, but they 
were met with a very large hostile force of 7 to 10 attackers 
with ``AKs and RPGs.''\130\ The two agents made the tactical 
decision not to shoot at this large group because, ``if we 
would have taken one of them out at the time, it could have 
gone substantially worse.''\131\ The Agents believed the 
attackers would have been ``out for blood'' and it would have 
inflamed an already bad situation.\132\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \130\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 1 Testimony at 58.
    \131\Id.
    \132\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 Testimony at 142.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Because of this concern, the agents chose to return to 
Villa B, which also served as the cantina or cafeteria for the 
Mission compound.\133\ After seeking refuge, one of the agents 
in Villa B then contacted the TOC in Tripoli and the other 
agent contacted the State Department's Diplomatic Security 
Command Center [DSCC] in Washington D.C. at 9:49 p.m. Benghazi 
time [3:49 p.m. in Washington, DC].\134\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \133\Id. at 141-142.
    \134\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 2 Testimony at 86; see also, Email from 
the Diplomatic Sec. Command Ctr. to the Special Assistants for the 
Secretary, et al. (page 1) (Subject: Benghazi--Attack on Compound--
09112012) (Sept. 11, 2012, 6:34 PM) (on file with the Committee, 
C05578314).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Unknown to the Diplomatic Security Agents on the Mission 
compound, the attackers were a mix of local extremist groups, 
including the Benghazi-based Ansar al-Sharia, al-Qaeda in the 
Lands of the Islamic Maghreb, and the Muhammad Jamal Network 
out of Egypt. Members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al-
Qaeda in Iraq and Abu Ubaydah Ibn Jarah Battalion also 
participated.\135\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \135\The Committee found no evidence of involvement by the Iranian 
government, specifically the Iranian Revolutionary Guard-Quds Force 
(IRGC-QF) as has been reported. Email from the State Department 
Operations Center (Sept. 11, 2012, 6:06 PM) (on file with the 
Committee, C05272001). At the time, there were two Ansar al-Sharia 
(AAS) branches in Libya, the one in Benghazi that was involved in the 
attack, and one in Darnah that was led by former Guantanamo detainee 
Abu Sufyian bin Qumo. There is no evidence that Qumo had any direct 
involvement in the attacks on the Mission or the Annex on 11 and 12 
September 2012. See Terrorist Attack in Benghazi: The Secretary of 
State's View, hearing before H. Comm. on Foreign Affairs, 113th Cong. 
35 (2013). The other Ansar al-Sharia, the Abu Ubaydah Ibn Jarah 
Battalion, was led at the time by Ahmed Abu Khattalah, the lone person 
charged in connection with the attack. NCTC: Libya: Terrorists and 
Extremists Reportedly Associates with the Benghazi Attacks (Sept 9, 
2013); NCTC Current: Libya: Update on Benghazi Suspects (Sept. 11, 
2013); CIA WIRe: Libya: Terrorists and Extremists Reportedly Associated 
with the Benghazi Attacks (Jan 28, 2013); CIA WIRe: Libya: Terrorists 
and Extremists Reportedly Associated with the Benghazi Attacks (Feb 26, 
2013); CIA WIRe: Libya: Terrorists and Extremists Reportedly Associated 
with the Benghazi Attacks (Aug. 12, 2013); CIA WIRe: Libya: Terrorists 
and Extremists Reportedly Associated with the Benghazi Attacks (Sept. 
9, 2013); CIA WIRe Libya: Terrorists and Extremists Reportedly 
Associated with the Benghazi Attacks, (Mar. 24, 2014); CIA WIRe: Libya: 
Terrorists and Extremists Reportedly Associated with the Benghazi 
Attacks (July 24, 2014).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Diplomatic Security Agent located in the safe haven 
with Stevens and Smith described the weapons he saw during a 
direct encounter with the attackers:

        I could hear outside explosions, yelling, chanting, 
        screaming, gunfire, and I reported all of this on the 
        radio just saying, this is what my senses are telling 
        me. Then people started banging on the doors of the 
        building, so I reported that. Hey, there is banging on 
        the doors. They are trying to come in, you know, we 
        need immediate assistance. And there wasn't any 
        response on the radio. Shortly after that, to my 
        recollection, the doors were blown open. And about 70 
        individuals, you know, rushed into the building, all of 
        them carrying AK-47s, grenades, RPGs, you know, a 
        mixture throughout everyone.\136\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \136\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 5 Testimony at 115.

    The attackers were unable to gain access to the safe haven 
because the access point had been fortified by the Diplomatic 
Security Agent inside. Instead the attackers started a diesel 
fire just outside the safe haven at approximately 10 p.m.\137\ 
At that time, the agents in the TOC reported to the Diplomatic 
Security Command Center that Stevens and Smith were located in 
the safe room.\138\ Meanwhile, notice of the attack was 
disseminated in Washington D.C. at 4:05 p.m. [10:05 p.m. in 
Benghazi] through an ``Ops Alert'' by the State Department 
Operations Center, which notified senior Department officials, 
the White House Situation Room, and others the Benghazi Mission 
compound was under attack.\139\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \137\DVR Footage of the Mission (Sept. 11, 2012, 2202.07 and 
2202.25, respectively).
    \138\U.S. Dep't of State, DSCC's Timeline for Benghazi and Tripoli 
Events [hereinafter DSCC Timeline] (on file with the Committee, 
C05391498) (``Ambassador Stevens, who is currently in Benghazi, and for 
[sic] COM personnel are in the compound safe room.'').
    \139\Email from the State Department Operations Center (Sept. 11, 
2012, 4:05 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05272001).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As news of the attack spread in Washington D.C., Villa C, 
the main diplomatic building, was quickly engrossed in flames 
and heavy smoke.\140\ Within minutes, Diplomatic Security 
Agents reported to the lead security agent in Tripoli that 
contact with Stevens had been lost.\141\ A Diplomatic Security 
Agent described what happened next inside the Villa:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \140\DVR Footage of the Mission (Sept. 11, 2012, 2201-2207); see 
also, Email to Principal Officer 4, U.S. Dep't of State (Sept. 14, 
2012, 8:07 AM). (Subject: Re: Log of events on 9/11/12-
9/12/12) (on file with the Committee, SCB00472640).
    \141\Email to Principal Officer 4, U.S. Dep't of State (Sept. 14, 
2012, 8:07 AM). (Subject: Re: Log of events on 9/11/12-9/12/12) (on 
file with the Committee, SCB00472640).

        And then slowly, people started to kind of trickle out. 
        And then the lights started to kind of dim. My initial 
        response or my initial thought was, well, they just 
        knocked out the generators. You know, we have regular 
        city power, but we also have backup generators. So 
        flickering would be a likely, you know, cause of this. 
        But in reality, it was smoke. And it took me about, you 
        know, 2 or 3 seconds after that to determine that it 
        was smoke. As soon as I realized it was smoke, I turned 
        to the Ambassador and Sean Smith and I said, we are 
        moving to the bathroom.\142\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \142\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 5 Testimony at 117.

    As Villa C filled with smoke, the two Diplomatic Security 
Agents in the TOC also realized it was on fire:\143\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \143\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 4 Testimony at 131-132.

        Q: At what point did you notice that there was also--
        buildings had been put on fire, and how did that come 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        to your attention?

        A: Well, as--it seemed like a long time. Of course, I 
        can't say exactly how much time elapsed between when we 
        began our call for help and to when help finally 
        arrived. I can't say certainly. But monitoring what was 
        going on on the ground via the security cameras, I 
        could see that Villa C--I could see flames starting to 
        lick out of the windows and black smoke started to pour 
        out of the windows, and that's when I became aware that 
        they were in very big trouble over there.\144\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \144\Id.

    The Diplomatic Security Agent inside Villa C with Stevens 
and Smith attempted to lead them to the bathroom in the safe 
haven.\145\ Once in the bathroom he realized Stevens and Smith 
had not followed him. Due to the thick toxic smoke, he was 
unable to see them and did not hear a response from them when 
he called out.\146\ Because of the flames, the agent became 
weak and overcome with smoke and heat. He left the bathroom and 
crawled to his bedroom where he eventually escaped through a 
window. After catching his breath, over and over again he 
crawled back through the bedroom window of Villa C to search 
for Stevens and Smith.\147\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \145\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 5 Testimony at 117.
    \146\Id. at 114; see also, Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 Testimony at 
147; Comprehensive Timeline of Events--Benghazi, produced by the U.S. 
Dep't of State (Last Edit Nov. 1, 2012) (on file with the Committee, 
SCB0047845); Hicks Apr. 2013 Testimony at 25-26.
    \147\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 5 Testimony at 117-120.

        The last time I went out, you know, I decided that if I 
        went back into the building that I wasn't going to come 
        back out. The smoke and the heat were way too powerful, 
        and way too strong, and it was extremely confusing 
        feeling my way in a smoke-filled building. And I didn't 
        want to get lost, and so I decided to climb up the 
        ladder to the roof. I climbed up the ladder, and pulled 
        up the ladder behind me and that's the moment that I 
        knew the Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith were 
        probably dead.\148\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \148\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 5 Testimony at 121.

    As the agent retreated to the rooftop of Villa C, he began 
taking gunfire.\149\ At 10:14 p.m. [4:14 p.m. in Washington 
D.C.], he reported to the agent located in the TOC that Stevens 
and Smith were missing and unaccounted for.\150\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \149\Id. at 122; see also, Comprehensive Timeline of Events--
Benghazi, produced by the U.S. Dep't of State (Last Edit Nov. 1, 2012) 
(on file with the Committee, SCB0047845).
    \150\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 Testimony at 147.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    While some of the attackers were trying to break into Villa 
C's safe haven, other attackers broke through Villa B's main 
door.\151\ The attackers were unable to gain access to the 
Diplomatic Security Agents and local guard seeking refuge in 
the back because they had successfully barricaded the 
doors.\152\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \151\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 1 Testimony at 61-62.
    \152\Id.

        Q: So you said that the attackers who tried to come 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        into the room were unsuccessful?

        A: Yes, they tried to breach it one time.\153\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \153\Id.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                THE MISSION CALLS THE ANNEX FOR SUPPORT

    When the attack started at 9:42 p.m. [3:42 p.m. in 
Washington D.C.], the Diplomatic Security Agent in the TOC 
immediately called the Annex for backup.\154\ The agent 
testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \154\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 Testimony at 141.

        Several requests were made. Unbeknownst to us at the 
        time, the situation outside our compound was hostile. 
        Apparently the militia that attacked us had set up 
        heavy gun trucks on all four corners of the block we 
        were on, had prohibited traffic from entering from any 
        location, and it was difficult for the reaction forces 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        to get to us.

        I can't tell you exactly when they arrived on compound. 
        It is my assessment that it was approximately an hour 
        and 5 minutes after. So if the attack started at 9:42, 
        I don't think we see them on compound until 10:00, 
        10:45, 10:50, something along those lines.

        Now, it is my understanding that they fought their way 
        in, and they ultimately split up into two groups, one 
        of which literally fought their way in and climbed 
        blocks and blocks of 10 to 12 foot high concrete walls, 
        as well as the secondary group, who rallied with some 
        February 17 Martyrs Brigade elements to come in through 
        a different approach angle.

        So it was not as if they literally could have just 
        walked across the street and walked in. The compound 
        was overtaken, it was overrun. And it is my 
        understanding it wasn't as simple as what it would have 
        seemed on the surface.\155\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \155\Id. at 143-44.

    Once the request for assistance was made to the Annex, the 
security team there immediately began packing up and preparing 
to respond.
    The GRS Team Lead described what happened after the 
Diplomatic Security Agent called and requested their help.

        [A]pproximately 20 [minutes] to 10:00 [p.m.], I got a 
        cell phone call on my phone from one of the ARSOs, 
        State Department Regional Security Officers.

        Give or take a few minutes or whatever it was, I'd get 
        that phone call from [Diplomatic Security Agent 3], and 
        he's obviously a bit worked up, and he says: Hey, we're 
        under attack. And he tells me he's sitting in the TOC, 
        their Tactical Operations Center, which is a separate 
        building at the facility. And he says: I can see 
        approximately 20 guys have come through the front gate, 
        they are armed, and they are amassing on the soccer 
        field, which is, you know, just in front of their--one 
        of the living quarters buildings.

        And I said: Okay. Gotcha. I said: Look, do me a favor, 
        before you hang up or before I lose you on the cell 
        phone network--we had previously given them one of our 
        secure [redacted text] radios. I said: Pick up that 
        radio in the TOC and just start giving me a play by 
        play, just keep transmitting, and you know, once you 
        get that radio, hang up the phone, and you know, we'll 
        deal with it.

        So once he hung up, I called--I made a radio call to 
        all the guys, the GRS guys to return to the team room, 
        and then, you know, within a few minutes guys start 
        trickling in. Some guys kind of, you know--you know, 
        it's in the evening, so some guys in shorts and T-
        shirt, other guys, you know, clearly just, you know, 
        thrown pants, T-shirt or whatever on, you know, just 
        asking: Hey, what's going on? Hey, I don't know. I 
        don't have a lot of specifics other than I just got a 
        call from [Diplomatic Security Agent 3]. He said the 
        facility is under attack. So at that point, you know, I 
        don't need to tell anybody what to do. As the guys 
        trickle in, it's, you know, word of mouth, hey, start, 
        you know, gathering gear, start getting your kit, you 
        know, your helmet, night vision gear, ballistic armor, 
        you know, weapons, all that good stuff.

        And you know, shortly thereafter, the deputy chief of 
        base walks in, and he says: Hey, what's going on. I 
        heard you say call the guys to the team room. I said: 
        Hey, Chief, not exactly sure, but the State facility, I 
        just got a call and they're under attack.

        And he asked me, he said: Well, did you tell chief of 
        base yet?

        I said: No, I'm just getting--he said: All right. Don't 
        worry about it. I'll go tell him.

        So we continue to kit up. The guys, you know, are doing 
        their thing, start bringing our heavier weapons, 
        equipment out to the car. We get the linguist, kind of 
        get him--you know, get him some body armor, get him a 
        helmet, and you know, kind of give him a quick brief. 
        We kind of gravitate out to the vehicles.\156\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \156\Testimony of GRS-Team Lead, Cent. Intel. Agency, Tr. at 20-23 
(Apr. 19, 2016) [hereinafter Team Lead Testimony] (on file with the 
Committee).

    Once the Chief of Base was alerted, he met with the Team 
Lead and the Deputy Chief of Base to determine if they had 
received any additional information about what was happening at 
the Mission. The Chief of Base then began calling partner 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
militia organizations for assistance.

        So he starts working phones. I can hear him. You know, 
        sometimes he's able to get through to people, and you 
        know, I remember one conversation where he's given a 
        quick data dump, and the guys says: All right. Hey, you 
        know, call me back in 2 minutes.

        So when he hangs up, he says: Hey, while--you know, I 
        don't remember who he said it was, but while that 
        person is making some phone calls, I'm going to call, 
        you know, the other guy and just--you know, I said: 
        Hey, look, Chief, what we want is technicals. So what 
        we want is, you know, the trucks with bigger guns than 
        what we have because I don't know what we're going 
        into. So whether it be Dishka-type weapons or some type 
        of heavy machine gun mounted on a truck, that's what I 
        definitely want.\157\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \157\Id. at 23-24.

    While the Chief of Base was trying to generate assistance 
for the Annex team, the team members finished loading up their 
gear into two vehicles. The Team Lead was standing outside of 
the vehicles while the Chief of Base contacted their partner 
organizations. Meanwhile, the Annex team members became anxious 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
to depart.

        So while this is going on, one of my--like I said, the 
        guys there are pretty much just kind of wrapping up, 
        getting, you know, the ammo, and you know, first aid 
        kits, all that stuff, and then they're basically 
        standing by loading in front of the building. And one 
        of the officers, my officers comes out, and he says: 
        Hey, look, you know, we got to get going. We got to go. 
        We got to go.

        I said: Yeah, I know that, but I don't know what we're 
        getting into, and the chief's trying to make some phone 
        calls. I want to get some technicals to go with us 
        because I don't know what we're--what we're going to 
        get into.

                              *    *    *

        So he goes back into the car. Chief continues to, you 
        know, work the phones. He makes contact with maybe 
        another two or three guys, and then he circles back 
        with that first person he made the phone call to, and 
        the phone is shut off. And he tells me: Hey, it's not 
        going through. It's shut off. I said: All right. Can 
        you try the other guys back?

        So he proceeds to, you know, try to make follow up 
        phone calls. You know, [one Team Member] pops out 
        again, and he's like, hey, we got to go, we got to go, 
        and at that point Chief is like, hey. Yeah, I know. I'm 
        just trying--like, hang on. I'm trying to make some--
        we're trying to get the technicals. We're trying to, 
        you know, get you guys some weapons.

                              *    *    *

        And then one of the other officers,[] came out. He's 
        like, hey, you know, what do we got? I said: Look, 
        Chief's trying to make phone calls. I really want to 
        get some technicals.

                              *    *    *

        So at some point, you know, whatever, couple of 
        minutes, it becomes kind of clear that there's nothing 
        readily coming, or there's--like Chief isn't making 
        positive coms with anybody who's saying, hey, I've got, 
        you know, two, three, four, five technicals, they're 
        going to meet you at whatever location. That's not 
        happening. So I tell the chief, I say: Hey, Chief, 
        look, we're going.

        And to be honest with you, I don't recall Chief saying 
        anything. Deputy chief, you know, kind of looks at me, 
        and he's like, well, he's like, you know, [GRS-Team 
        Lead], God speed, hopefully we'll see you guys back 
        here shortly.

        So at that point, we roll out. I can tell you between, 
        you know, the time stamp on our CCTV, like I said 
        roughly, I think my phone call came at like 21:43, 
        depending on what timestamp you look at, we roll out at 
        like 22:04, so 21, 23, 24 minutes, whatever.\158\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \158\Id. at 24-26.

    The Chief of Base described his actions after he learned 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
about the attacks.

        I was calling everybody I could think of. I think I 
        called the police, LIS, other militia groups that--we 
        were, you know, in an information-gathering mode, and 
        trying to see who might be able to respond quickly to 
        the Consulate, to the mission.

        Q: How much success were you having in actually getting 
        through to people at the police, at Libyan intel with 
        other militias?

        A: I didn't get through to Libyan intel, I don't think. 
        They weren't actually very helpful to us in Benghazi at 
        all.

        Q: Okay.

        A: But otherwise, I was getting through to the people.

        Q: Okay. And what kind of response were you getting on 
        the other end?

        A: Well, there was a lot of disbelief and confusion, 
        and trying to understand what was happening, what--
        basically, it was, as what you might, expect when 
        something like that happens.\159\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \159\Testimony of the Chief of Base, Cent. Intel. Agency, Tr. at 
24-25 (Nov. 19, 2015) [hereinafter Chief of Base Testimony] (on file 
with the Committee).

    Despite multiple attempts, the Chief of Base found his 
phone calls unfruitful. He was unable to generate any 
additional assistance from the partner organizations he called. 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
He described his conversations with the organizations.

        A: Well, there was a lot of disbelief and confusion, 
        and trying to understand what was happening, what--
        basically, it was, as you might, expect when something 
        like that happens.

        Q: Did you hear anything that would give you any pause 
        or reason for concern?

        A: Well, I was already concerned, to be honest with 
        you. I mean, you know, we could hear the gunfire. There 
        were even some tracer bullets flying overhead so we 
        were, again, I was trying to get as much information as 
        possible.\160\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \160\Id. at 25.

    The Chief of Base described what happened after the Annex 
team members finished loading their gear and were ready to 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
depart.

        Q: So at some point, the GRS folks were kitted up, and 
        what happened at that point that you can recall? Do you 
        recall seeing them all kitted up?

        A: I was standing right in the area that they were 
        getting their stuff. It took them, I would say, about 
        15 minutes to get ready. It was a very--to me, the time 
        passed by very quickly.

        And people were going to CONEXes and getting ammunition 
        and water, and getting batteries and MPGs and such. At 
        one point, [the Team Lead] came to me, I would say 
        maybe 15 minutes into it and said that he wanted to see 
        if I could arrange a technical, or a gun truck, from 
        17th February. So I called back to 17th February and 
        was working on getting that gun truck. So I was in 
        contact with [the Team Lead].\161\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \161\Id. at 29.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                              *    *    *

        Well, their response was, okay, but I don't have one, 
        or it's going to be difficult. I have got to check. It 
        was--it was not like immediately we are going to be 
        able to--the person who I was talking to, who was one 
        of their commanders whose name I don't remember.

        Q: And did you relay that back to [the Team Lead]?

        A: Yes.

        Q: What was his response?

        A: That's when they left to go on the rescue.\162\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \162\Id. at 29.

    The Chief of Base was adamant that he never told the Annex 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
team members to ``stand down.''

        You said that you let them go. Did you give them an 
        affirmative order for them to go?

        A: I think I was working with [the Team Lead] the whole 
        time----

        Q: Okay.

        A: --in an effort to get them to get them gone, to have 
        them go. So whether or not I gave an affirmative order, 
        but I wanted them to go. They were cleared to go. And 
        they went.

        Q: When you say they were cleared to go, is that you 
        giving the clearance?

        A: Yes.

        Q: Did you have any discussions--do you recall having 
        any discussions with the deputy chief of base about 
        allowing the guys to go?

        A: I don't recall any. It was never--I never had any 
        doubt about the GRS people going to the State 
        Department compound. I had great concerns and great 
        worry about it but I did not, I did not tell anybody to 
        stand down.\163\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \163\Id. at 31-32.

    The Chief of Base acknowledged he may have told the team to 
wait while he was attempting to secure additional resources for 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
them.

    I may have said wait because we were trying to get this 
technical truck that the team lead wanted. But it wasn't 10 
minutes, or 5 minutes. It was a short period of time. And the 
only time I remember ever talking to [Annex team member] was 
when he came up, and I said I'm trying to get a technical truck 
for [the Team Lead]. There was nobody, myself or anybody else 
in Benghazi, that did anything to hold up the GRS deploying. 
The team lead was always cleared to go.\164\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \164\Id. at 58-59.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    He further added:

        People were coming and going the entire time. But I did 
        not issue a stand-down order. And if there was a delay, 
        there was a very short delay, basically the team lead 
        we have to try to get this gun truck.

                              *    *    *

        I was doing everything, and to my knowledge, everybody 
        on that base was doing everything. I think I carried an 
        ammo can at one time to get those guys out the door.

        So it's, you know, our GRS folks were very brave that 
        night. But I, everything that I saw from during the 
        kitting up of the team, to their departure till their 
        return and heard in between, very much [the Team Lead] 
        was in charge of it. Listening to the radio, he was in 
        charge of it. So when [the Team Lead] was satisfied, I 
        think, that we weren't going to get the support that 
        we--that he wanted to get this gun truck to try to link 
        it up--although I think they did link up at some 
        point--that he left. He took the team and left.\165\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \165\Id. at 59-60.

    One GRS agent did not recall the Chief of Base telling the 
team to ``stand down'' but he did recall the Chief of Base 
telling them to ``wait.''\166\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \166\Testimony of GRS 3, Cent. Intel. Agency, Tr. at 52 (May 29, 
2015) [hereinafter GRS 3 Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Q: And what did you think when he told you to wait?

        A: I believe at first I just said, okay, maybe he's 
        talking to somebody that can help, and, you know, I 
        respected the fact that he wanted us to wait and see if 
        he can gather additional fire power to help. At some 
        point, though, the wait was too long, and we decided, 
        you know, we couldn't wait any longer and we left. We 
        didn't know if that wait was going to be an indefinite 
        wait and you're-not-going wait or a real wait or--but 
        nothing was happening for several minutes.

        And so we can hear the State Department's cries for 
        help on the radio, and we just reached a point where we 
        decided to leave on our own.\167\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \167\Id. at 50.

    The agent also acknowledged during the time the team was 
``kitting up'' and after they loaded into the vehicles, the 
Chief of Base and the Team Lead attempted to obtain additional 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
support from the Libyan partner organizations.

        Q: When you said nothing happened--nothing was 
        happening for several minutes, you're referring to what 
        exactly? There were individuals on the phone?

        A: Yes.

        Q: So that was occurring, but for your purposes----

        A: For our purposes, we were getting in and out of the 
        vehicles, ready to go. We were just waiting for someone 
        to say go. My understanding is they were trying to get 
        us to link up with 17 Feb or have 17 Feb go there 
        first, something to do with 17 Feb helping out. But 
        there was never a clear, definitive, this is what's 
        going on. Everything was chaotic. . . .\168\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \168\Id. at 50-51.

    Another Annex Team Member also recalled that the team was 
told to wait while the Chief of Base and the Team Lead were 
making phone calls. This member testified that once the team 
was ready to depart he approached the Chief of Base and the 
Team Lead, who were both making phone calls at the time. He 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
explained what happened.

        A: Yep. Grab my machine gun, grab my night vision, grab 
        my helmet and get back outside, and everybody else is 
        doing their job. Cars are already staged. Looked at Ty. 
        His car was up. He gave me a thumbs up. Had [GRS 3] and 
        [GRS 1] in the car. And I went up to our chief of base 
        and team leader, and they're standing in the courtyard, 
        and I said, hey, we're ready to go.

        Q: Now the team leader at this point, you said you saw 
        him on the way into the team room. He was not geared 
        up. You saw him with his phone. You didn't see him on 
        the phone?

        A: Not at first. When I came back out they were both on 
        their phones.

        Q: Now, team leader and----

        A: And [the Chief of Base] were both on their phones. I 
        looked at [the Chief of Base] and the team leader and 
        said, hey, we're ready to go. [The Chief of Base] 
        looked at the team leader, and he said tell these guys 
        they need to wait. The team leader looks at me and says 
        you guys need to wait. It's about 9:37. It's no more 
        than 5 minutes if that.

                              *    *    *

        So at this point in time, the chief told the team 
        leader to wait.

        Q: Team leader told you to wait?

        A: Yes.

        Q: All right. What did you do next?

        A: Waited. Went back to the car and just radioed, hey, 
        we got to wait guys. Just because the guys needed to 
        know the information.

                              *    *    *

        Q: All right. So you go back in the car. You're in the 
        second car, in the SUV. You're with [GRS 5], and go to 
        the radio and say we got to wait?

        A: And everybody is pretty cool about it. Nobody is 
        getting upset.\169\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \169\Testimony of GRS 4, Cent. Intel. Agency, Tr. at 26-29 (Mar. 1, 
2016) [hereinafter GRS 4 Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

    The team member was able to see what the Chief of Base and 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
the Team Lead were doing when he returned to the vehicle:

        What I'm seeing, and I'm looking at [the Chief of Base 
        and the Team Lead] off and on and they're just talking 
        on their phones. And all I can see, as time goes on and 
        we start getting calls, from [Diplomatic Security Agent 
        3] on the radio, saying, hey, the Consulate has been 
        overrun. GRS, where the bleep are you? We do start 
        getting a little bit more agitated.\170\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \170\Id. at 30.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The team member continued:

        Q: All right. So you said you heard [Diplomatic 
        Security Agent 3] on the radio, and what did he say?

        A: [Diplomatic Security Agent 3], and I can't recall 
        his exact words. It's been 3 years, but I can recall 
        the gist of it, and I can recall the emotions of it. It 
        was, GRS, where are you? Consulate's been overrun. 
        Where are you? Where are you? Get your asses over here. 
        We need your help. Where are you? Another 10 minutes go 
        by, and that's when I see [GRS 1] get out of his car. 
        He goes to the driver's side. And I have my door 
        closed, and I see him yelling at [the Chief of Base]. 
        He's going like this. Now, I didn't hear it, but I 
        asked him after what he said to him. He was just there. 
        Him and [the Chief of Base] are jaw jacking.

        He gets in the car. I said what's going on, dude? He 
        said he's telling us to stand down. Now [GRS 1] told me 
        that on the radio, but I said my vehicle was doors were 
        closed, armored vehicle, but I remember seeing him go 
        to the driver's side and just----

        Q: So it was just you and [GRS 5] in your vehicle?

        A: Yeah. And then I also reconfirmed that when I asked 
        [GRS 1] later. He wasn't happy.

                              *    *    *

        We waited another 10 minutes, so it's been about 25 
        minutes.

        Q: The first time you said you were ready to go in 5 
        minutes. Then you said there was 10 minutes. Then you 
        waited another 10 minutes?

        A: Close to 25 minutes.\171\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \171\Id. at 30-32.

    Although this team member's testimony regarding the amount 
of time that elapsed between the Mission's request for help and 
the team's departure was consistent with the testimony of other 
witnesses and the time indicated by the surveillance footage of 
the Annex, his testimony about when the attack began, and thus 
when the Mission called for help, differed. The witness, one of 
the co-authors of the book ``13 Hours: The Inside Account of 
What Really Happened in Benghazi,'' testified that the attack 
began at 9:32 p.m., ten minutes earlier than other witnesses, 
documents and the surveillance footage indicates. He was asked 
why he believed the attack began at 9:32 p.m. and provided this 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
explanation:

        A: I remember hearing a call on the radio that all GRS 
        needed to muster in the team room. I remember there was 
        not a sense of urgency in the voice. I remember looking 
        at my watch. I remember it saying 9:32. And I have said 
        that many times. I know it differs, but I know that's 
        what it said.

        Q: So let me stop you there. I know you said it many 
        times. I've read that in the book. Everywhere else I've 
        seen it's 9:42. How do you account for the difference?

        A: Differences of what people want to hear, want to 
        know. I was on the ground. I was looking. I was pissed 
        off because somebody was bothering me at 9:32 at night 
        because I wanted to go home.

        Q: You were home.

        A: I wanted to get the day over with. Nothing good 
        comes when you get bothered at night, especially if 
        you're in the military, and you're getting called by 
        your leadership at 9:00 at night, nothing good comes of 
        it. The difference, you'd have to ask the person that 
        says it's 9:42. I don't know. I didn't see anybody else 
        with me on that report there that night, though. We get 
        a call 30 seconds later, roughly.

                              *    *    *

        Q: And I don't mean to pick apart your statement. So 
        the book I believe--let me just quote you from the 
        book. It says: At 9:02 p.m. an unexpected vehicle drove 
        down the gravel road outside the compound. And a little 
        bit later the SSC vehicle pulled away 40 minutes after 
        it arrived. A little while later. Almost the moment the 
        SSC pickup pulled away from the compound, shots and an 
        explosion rang out?

        A: Sure. And what Mitchell was doing with that is he 
        was pulling stuff off the report. We had to get the 
        book cleared.

        Q: Okay.

        A: So if you read it, too, he also says that [GRS 4] 
        looked at his watch, and he has assured that it was 
        9:32 that he was called. So we're getting both what 
        other people were saying. That's what we were trying to 
        do, and [GRS 2] can help me out with the book here if I 
        get too far into it. But we're trying to show that 
        there are differences in what people saw. I know what I 
        saw. I'm not going to say what other people saw, and 
        what those other nine reports that went through, but I 
        know what I saw on my watch.\172\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \172\Id. at 22-24.

    Another Annex Team member described his recollection of 
what happened between the time the Mission called for help and 
the Annex team departed. After the Team Lead told him the 
Mission was under attack, he got dressed, packed his gear, and 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
loaded into a vehicle.

        [I] Ran back in, told [Annex Team Member], we got all 
        of our clothes on, ran out of the team room, got the 
        big weapons . . . and we loaded up in the vehicles. It 
        was probably about 5 minutes or so after we learned of 
        the ongoing attack. And we're probably sitting there 
        for a little while. We're sitting in the car, you know, 
        just going over, double checking our weapons, double 
        checking our gear, you know, kind of saying, hey, you 
        know, what's going on, what's taking so long.

        We're probably sitting there a good 15 minutes, and I 
        get out of the car. I have the Chief of Base, the 
        Deputy Chief of Base, and the team leader on the front 
        porch. They're all three on the phone doing something.

        And I just say: Hey, you know, we've got to get over 
        there. We're losing the initiative. The Chief of Base 
        looks at me, he says: Stand down, you need to wait. You 
        need to come up with a plan.

        And I say: No, it's too late to come up with a plan. We 
        need to get over in the area, get eyes on, and then we 
        can come up with a plan.

        And that's kind of where I left it because they left it 
        at that, and I got back in the car.\173\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \173\GRS 1 Testimony at 73.

    The Annex Team Member's testimony was consistent with the 
other witnesses that while the team was ``kitting up'' and 
loading their gear into the vehicles, the Chief of Base and the 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Team Lead were making phone calls.

        Q: So you were the only one out of the lead vehicle. 
        And you got out of the vehicle and you said you saw the 
        chief of base, the deputy chief of base, and the team 
        lead. And where were they?

        A: On the front porch of the building 3

                              *    *    *

        Q: And what were each of them doing?

        A: They were on the phone.

        Q: Okay. They were all on the phone?

        A: Yes.

        Q: Okay. And you said that--I'm just paraphrasing: 
        We've got to get over there. We're losing the 
        initiative. Did you say that? Does that sound right?

        A: Yes.

        Q: And did you say that to anybody in particular or all 
        three of them?

        A: Pretty much all three of them because I was looking 
        directly at them.

        Q: Okay. And what was the response that you got from 
        all of them or any of them?

        A: ``Stand down. You need to wait.'' That was from the 
        chief of base.

        Q: Okay. Do you remember exactly what the chief--is 
        that a paraphrase? Did he use those exact words? Do you 
        remember?

        A: He used those exact words.\174\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \174\Id. at 78-79.

    When asked why the team member had not disclosed the 
``stand down'' order during previous testimony to Congress, he 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
stated:

        A: At the time, because a lot of it was that no--I 
        mean, I didn't know why the stand down order was given. 
        I mean, I guess [GRS team member] got told to wait, you 
        know, that's what he says. I just know when we got told 
        to stand down and when [the Team Lead] kind of gave the 
        brief of kind of like why we're told to stand down, it 
        was kind of understandable, you know.

        But, yes, it shouldn't take you 23 minutes or 50 
        minutes to link up with the QRF, because even after we 
        left there was still no link up. There was no 
        communication between us and the 17 Feb. that I knew 
        of. Because when we rolled in, we didn't know who we 
        were going to be meeting.\175\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \175\Id. at 80.

    The team member believed that no matter what phrase the 
Chief of Base conveyed that night to direct the team, they 
would not have left unless they made the decision on their own 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
to leave at the moment they did.

        A: I mean, just like for the stand down. I don't think 
        it came from anywhere else but [the Chief of Base]. . . 
        .

        So my biggest thing, I think, it was--I don't believe, 
        you know, stand down. I think it was just like a heat-
        of-the-moment kind of thing. But to me, no matter what, 
        when he said stand down, or wait, or don't go, 
        whatever, he still--I believe if we didn't leave on our 
        own, we would have never left.\176\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \176\Id. at 130-31.

    The Deputy Chief of Base also described what happened 
between the time the Annex was notified of the attack and the 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
time the GRS Team departed.

        I was sitting in my--I was sitting at my desk in the 
        SCIF and I was working on--I was working on a cable I 
        was writing regarding a meeting I had been to earlier 
        in the day with the chief of base, and I remember 
        looking at the clock that was in the lower corner of 
        the computer screen noting that--for some reason it 
        just stuck out--that it was 9:40 or 9:42. I remember 
        looking at the time. And the GRS team leader, [redacted 
        text], came in, and grabbed me and pulled me out into 
        the GRS room and said--said he had just received 
        communication from [Agent 3] at the special mission 
        that they had people inside the wire there. They had 
        people inside the compound. And he said: We are going 
        to go, we are going to go over there, you know, and get 
        those guys, get them out of there. And I said: Okay, 
        you know, got that, but we got to let the boss know 
        about this and he needs to make the call before we do 
        that. And he said, ``yeah.'' So I went back in.

        I got the Chief of Base, brought the Chief of Base out 
        into the GRS team room where we were. The GRS team 
        leader advised the chief of base what the situation was 
        and said: We got to go get those guys. And the chief of 
        base responded, ``Absolutely.'' ``Absolutely.'' Not, 
        ``I got to go call the chief of station.'' Not, ``I got 
        to go check with somebody in Washington.'' All he said 
        was, ``Absolutely.'' So I want to make that very clear 
        because I know there's conflicting accounts about that 
        discussion. There were three people in that discussion: 
        myself, the GRS team leader, and the chief of base. And 
        anybody writing any books or making movies, or whatever 
        else, I can tell you none of those guys were in the 
        room when that discussion occurred.\177\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \177\Testimony of Deputy Chief of Base, Cent. Intel. Agency, Tr. at 
101-02 (June 4, 2015) [hereinafter Deputy Chief of Base Testimony] (on 
file with the Committee).

    The Deputy Chief of Base indicated the GRS team was loaded 
and ready to depart approximately 10 minutes after the Team 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lead told them what was happening at the Mission.

        So [the Team Lead] advised me that he had just gotten 
        the call from [Diplomatic Security Agent 3] and then 
        I--and then I told him, we got to, you know, we got to 
        check with the chief of base on this. And I went and 
        got him, and then we had that short discussion. And 
        then, shortly thereafter, he advised the GRS team 
        members to start gathering their equipment that they 
        were going over there.

                              *    *    *

        And that took--that took about 10 minutes for them to 
        get everything together.\178\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \178\Id. at 103.

    The Deputy Chief of Base raised a concern with the Chief of 
Base that they needed to attempt to confirm whether 17th 
February or any other friendly militia was at the base or would 
be arrive shortly in order to prevent that force from attacking 
the GRS team or vice versa. The Deputy Chief noted because one 
GRS team member was away from the base at the time, and the 
remaining were preparing to go to the Mission compound, the 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Annex effectively was without any defensive capability.

        But what happened was, I said to the chief of base: 
        Look it, you know, we got a real issue here with 
        potential green-on-blue because we were still operating 
        under the assumption that 17th February was going to 
        show up.

        And, in fact, a bunch of them about did, although it 
        appears to be an uncoordinated response. They did, in 
        fact, show up. So you got to remember that these guys 
        that went over there, the GRS guys, the six of them, 
        [redacted text]. And I was really worried about that. 
        If the city is blowing up, I got to make sure we get 
        them back safely because what we were doing in making 
        this decision, again, which the chief of base made 
        instantly on the spot, without equivocation, was we 
        were giving up all of our shooters to go over there and 
        rescue the State Department people, as well as any QRF 
        capability we would have had to rescue the case officer 
        and the lone GRS guy [redacted text] if they got into 
        an in extremis situation.

        Now, on top of that, what the GRS guys took with them 
        when they responded over there was every piece of heavy 
        automatic weapons, and every really solid defensive 
        weaponry capability that we had on the base. So while 
        the chief of base agreed to do this right away, this 
        was not a light--a decision taken lightly.

        And, again, I feel like the narrative that I have seen 
        in public does not account for this and does not 
        account for the consideration that there was a green-
        on-blue situation that could have wiped all of those 
        guys out. And then where would we have been? We 
        wouldn't have had the ability to do anything to help 
        the State Department people, and we wouldn't have had 
        the ability to evacuate ourselves or defend ourselves 
        if we came under attack.\179\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \179\Id. at 104-05.

    One GRS Agent explained it is not unusual for people to 
have a different recollection of what happened during the time 
the Diplomatic Security Agents called the Annex to request 
help.\180\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \180\GRS 4 Testimony at 95.

        Q: Is it unusual in your perspective to have 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        individuals with different accounts?

        A: It's not--of course it's not unusual to have people 
        have different accounts.\181\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \181\Id.

    The Annex Team departed at 10:05 p.m., twenty-three minutes 
after the Diplomatic Security Agent at the Mission called and 
asked for their help.\182\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \182\DVR Footage of the CIA Annex (Sept. 11, 2012, 2005).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    After departing the Annex, the Annex Team faced a roadblock 
at the intersection of the main road leading to the Benghazi 
Mission compound. A militia was blocking the most direct route 
to the Mission compound. One GRS Team Member described what 
they encountered:

        When we arrived, to the corner of the street that leads 
        to the front gate, there was at least a couple vehicles 
        there and some Libyans standing around outside. We 
        slowly approached. We didn't know if they were friendly 
        or hostile. They didn't appear to be a threat to us. 
        They didn't raise their weapons at us, so we got out of 
        the vehicles.

        And at that time, the interpreter and [the Team Lead], 
        I believe, started talking to somebody. We were 
        receiving ineffective, sporadic fire. We returned fire 
        and moved up the street. At that point, that's when our 
        group split up.\183\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \183\GRS 3 Testimony at 53-54.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Team Lead also described the roadblock:

        Q: And describe what happened when you left the base?

        A: So we roll out, and at this point there obviously 
        was no communication via telephone that's got us 
        anything. So my plan now is the route that we're going 
        to take to get to the mission facility, I know there's 
        two--three militia and/or proper Army compounds on the 
        way. So my intentions are to basically stop into one of 
        those facilities along the way, get the technicals that 
        we were trying to get for support, and then roll to the 
        mission facility.

        So we come out to one of the main roads. One of the 
        gates, back gates to one of the militia compounds, 
        which is always sealed up and closed, is wide open, and 
        there's militia guys moving all over the place.

        I look up the street, and there is--I can see, you 
        know, a bunch of other movement and what have you, 
        personnel, militia guys, whatever, and we have to go 
        north anyways, so I said: Hey, push on to, at that 
        corner, there is what used to be a Libyan National Army 
        base or compound right at the corner. I said: Hey, 
        we're going to go to that compound because that's the 
        direction we have to travel.

        We get to that corner, and as I'm looking to pull in--
        and there's guys, you know, standing out in front. And 
        as I'm looking there, and then I look at--essentially 
        the path of the travel is across the main intersection 
        and across the street, and generally speaking, where we 
        would--the access road to the State facility is kind of 
        up a couple of 100 yards or so on the right, and as I 
        look up, there is--I can see a couple of technicals and 
        a bunch of dismounted personnel with AKs or some type 
        of rifle on them.

        So I said: All right. You know what, guys, we're 
        pushing to--through the intersection to that corner. 
        Because there was already some type of force where we 
        need to be, so I figured with the linguist there, roger 
        that, we can try to utilize these guys to assist 
        us.\184\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \184\GRS Team Lead Testimony at 32-34.

    At the same time, the Diplomatic Security Agents at the 
compound were working to clear it. After they cleared Villa B, 
the Diplomatic Security Agents began searching Villa C, which 
was still on fire, for Stevens and Smith.\185\ One Diplomatic 
Security Agent described the smoke in Villa C as so thick it 
prevented him ``from see[ing] your hand in front of your face. 
There are no lights; the electricity [was] down.''\186\ Because 
the toxic smoke and heat were so overwhelming, the Diplomatic 
Security Agents retrieved gas masks, which were ineffective:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \185\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 2 Testimony at 98.
    \186\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 Testimony at 150.

        So I put the mask on. And we are being told repeatedly 
        through this whole time by the other Americans that are 
        there, ``There is no good air in there. The device that 
        you have does not provide air.'' I am aware of this. 
        All you are going to do is go in there and become a 
        victim, is what they are implying, which is 
        accurate.\187\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \187\Id. at 155.

    As the agents are making their second round of attempts in 
and out of Villa C to locate Stevens, at 10:38 p.m. [4:38 p.m. 
in Washington D.C.], a local force, arrived at the 
Mission.\188\ A few minutes later, the Annex Team arrived on 
the compound. After three of the Annex Team members cleared the 
main road and the main gate they entered the compound.\189\ Two 
minutes later, the Annex Team Lead and the CIA linguist arrived 
through the main gate of the Mission.\190\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \188\Comprehensive Timeline of Events--Benghazi, produced by the 
U.S. Dep't of State. (Last Edit Nov. 1, 2012) (on file with the 
committee, SCB0047843); see also, Video: DVR Footage of the Mission 
(Sept. 11, 2012, 2239-2240).
    \189\Video: DVR Footage of the Mission (Sept. 11, 2012, 2245).
    \190\Video: DVR Footage of the Mission (Sept. 11, 2012, 2247).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Over the course of the next 20 minutes, members of the 
Annex Team continued to clear portions of the compound while 
other Annex Team members joined the Diplomatic Security Agents 
in searching for Stevens and Smith.\191\ One of the Diplomatic 
Security Agents described his attempts to find them:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \191\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 Testimony at 155.

        One of my biggest concerns is one of us in this 
        recovery effort was going to go in there and become a 
        victim ourselves, requiring our elements to stay on the 
        X later, which is a bad situation. I would not want to 
        put our guys at risk, any greater risk, by having to 
        fish me out of that same situation where you are trying 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        to pull somebody else out of.

        So I go in there a fourth time. I got the mask on. I go 
        in as far as I have gone. I go directly in the safe 
        haven, and I stay there longer than I should. I am 
        stomping on the ground, I am feeling around, I am 
        yelling for the Ambassador. I got nothing. The only 
        and, again, the only guidance I had from the agent that 
        was in there at the time was that he had him in the 
        safe haven. I wasn't aware of any other location he may 
        have been at that point.

        So I am in there, I don't know how long, a minute, 
        [two], I don't know. I couldn't tell you how long 
        exactly. But I start to feel the effects of oxygen 
        deprivation. You start feeling it in the back of your 
        head. Because I am just not getting air, because there 
        is no good air in there. So I start thinking about, you 
        know, putting our team in a worse position having to 
        come retrieve me. I back out.

        So, as I come out, I am grabbed by the team leader of 
        the other Americans, who says, ``You guys need to'' . . 
        . ''get the fuck out of here.'' That is a quote.

        And we pushed this off for the last 20 minutes, 
        basically, where they repeatedly told us, you need to 
        go, you need to go, and we have been adamant that we 
        need to stay and recover or locate the Ambassador and 
        Sean Smith. We have stayed up until this point.\192\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \192\Id. at 155-156.

    Diplomatic Security Agent 4 found Smith unresponsive inside 
Villa C.\193\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \193\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 4 Testimony at 136.

        I go into the safe haven with the intention of 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        recovering Smith and Stevens

        Immediately upon entering the safe haven, it becomes 
        very clear to me that it would be a very--that would be 
        very difficult. The smoke is extremely thick and acrid. 
        From what I understand now, that was a result of the 
        accelerants used to start the fire. But open flame is 
        not so much an issue; it's the volume and the toxic 
        nature of the smoke that made it very difficult. Even 
        immediately entering the room, I became very 
        disoriented.

        But using my internal map, my memory of the layout of 
        the safe-haven area, I make my way along the wall 
        searching and feeling my way. I make my way into the 
        safe-haven closet, the safe room, where, according to 
        our plan, everyone would've been staged. And I don't 
        find anybody there. I go and make sure that--I go and 
        work my way around the wall to the gate, the locked 
        gate of the safe haven itself. And I'm able to confirm 
        that the gate is still locked, it was locked by padlock 
        from the inside. So I can make the assumption that 
        nobody has entered the safe haven and nobody has left. 
        So that limits the search area.

        So I continue to search. I just kind of follow along 
        the walls, calling out to the Ambassador and Smith and 
        doing my best to feel around for them.

        Q: So, at this point, you have zero visual visibility 
        and you're feeling along the walls?

        A: Uh-huh.

        Q: And so did that mean that you were just necessarily 
        a little limited in the surface area you could cover in 
        terms of----

        A: Right. Yeah. You're right; there was no visibility. 
        So I was just trying to feel with my limbs, my hands 
        and feet, and still maintain contract with the wall so 
        that I wouldn't lose myself. But, nevertheless, I 
        started to feel very disoriented myself. I started to 
        be worried that, you know, I was really craving oxygen 
        by that point, and I eventually found myself in the 
        bathroom. I broke a window out to try and ventilate the 
        space and to get some fresh air for myself. And I 
        cleared my head a little bit.

        I was able to get lower to the ground, and then I 
        worked my way back out the way that I had come. And it 
        was at that point in the hallway that I came across the 
        body of Sean Smith. He was unresponsive. So I grabbed 
        him and dragged him back down the hallway to the safe-
        haven window and then handed him off to the people 
        waiting outside. It was when we had him outside in the 
        clear air that--and we had a brief check of him, he 
        had--he was unresponsive, not breathing, no pulse, and 
        so felt that at that point he was already expired.\194\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \194\Id. at 136-137.

    At 11:01 p.m. [5:01 p.m. in Washington D.C.], Smith was 
reported as killed in action.\195\ He was an only child, a 
husband and father of two. He was posthumously awarded the 
Thomas Jefferson Star for Foreign Service on May 3, 2013.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \195\Comprehensive Timeline of Events--Benghazi, produced by the 
U.S. Dep't of State. (Last Edit Nov. 1, 2012) (on file with the 
Committee, SCB0047843).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                            Embassy Tripoli

    At the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, the Deputy Chief of 
Mission, the most senior member of the State Department team in 
Tripoli, and the Chief of Station, the most senior member of 
the CIA team in Libya, learned of the attack soon after it 
began.\196\ At 9:45 p.m., three minutes after the attacks 
began, the senior Diplomatic Security Agent notified Hicks of 
the attack. After realizing he had a few missed calls on his 
cell phone, Hicks attempted to redial the number and reached 
Stevens:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \196\Hicks Apr. 2013 Testimony at 18.

        I jumped up and reached into my phone at the same time 
        I tried to connect with John which I did not do, he ran 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        out immediately.

        And I looked at my phone, and I saw two missed phone 
        calls, one from a number I did not recognize, and the 
        second from the Ambassador's telephone.

        I punched the number that I did not recognize and 
        called it back, to call it back, and I got Chris on the 
        line. And he said, ``Greg, we are under attack.''\197\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \197\Id.

    The line went dead. Hicks was unable to reach Stevens 
again.
    Individuals in the tactical operations center, the command 
center at the Embassy in Tripoli, quickly alerted other 
relevant Embassy staff when the attack was first reported.\198\ 
Within minutes, the individuals in Tripoli took quick and 
decisive actions to execute two steps in response to the 
attacks that night. First, they submitted a request to divert 
an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance asset-- 
colloquially referred to as a ``drone''--flying over another 
location in eastern Libya to Benghazi to provide tactical 
awareness of the situation on the ground. Second, the Chief of 
Station of the Annex in Tripoli prepared a rescue team, called 
``Team Tripoli,'' to respond forthwith to the attacks in 
Benghazi.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \198\See Hicks Apr. 2016 Testimony at 72.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                         Team Tripoli Response

    In Tripoli, when word of the attacks reached the Embassy 
and the CIA Station, a team consisting of four Tripoli Station 
GRS members, one of whom was Glen Doherty, two Defense 
Department special operators, and a CIA linguist sprang into 
action. Using their initiative coupled with previously 
established contacts, in less than an hour, they managed to 
assemble a response team and acquire an aircraft for transport. 
The Chief of Station authorized this team, dubbed Team Tripoli, 
to respond to the attacks in Benghazi:

        [M]y specific direction to Team Tripoli was to provide 
        quick reaction force to shore up base and to assist the 
        [Benghazi Mission compound], the consulate there, and 
        in so doing render any assistance to the Ambassador. So 
        that was all kind of--they were a complementary set of 
        objectives.

        One of the things, on a more tactical level, was the 
        entire GRS contingent in Benghazi, save one officer, 
        was forward deployed to the temporary mission facility. 
        So they were, in my opinion, very vulnerable.

        At that time, I made the decision to deploy all except 
        one of our GRS officers to Benghazi. That gave me 
        certainly a sense of trepidation because that left us 
        vulnerable to any sort of attack or follow on things. 
        So that was part of my thought calculus doing that. I 
        didn't hesitate, but I certainly thought about that and 
        the ensuing consequences of leaving one GRS.\199\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \199\Testimony of Chief of Station, Cent. Intel. Agency, Tr. at 
112-13 (July 16, 2015) [hereinafter Chief of Station Testimony] (on 
file with the Committee).

    While the mission of Team Tripoli was supported by the 
Department of State at Embassy Tripoli and supported by 
AFRICOM, it was a mission orchestrated solely by the CIA Chief 
of Station in Tripoli. As reported by one of the military 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
members of Team Tripoli to the Committee:

        Q: Did AFRICOM headquarters or SOCAFRICA have any role 
        in planning your deployment from Tripoli to Benghazi?

        A: No, sir.

                              *    *    *

        Q: How about the Embassy itself there in Tripoli, were 
        they directing the deployment from Tripoli to Benghazi?

        A: Not that I recall, sir.\200\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \200\Testimony of Special Operator, U.S. Dep't of Defense, Tr. at 
44-45 (Sept. 22, 2015) [hereinafter Special Operator Testimony] (on 
file with the Committee).

    Fortuitously, earlier that day a CIA member of the team had 
brokered an initial agreement with the owner of an aircraft to 
charter the aircraft as needed.\201\ During the morning 
meeting, the CIA officer had queried the operator of the 
aircraft as to ``How fast can you respond?'' and the [redacted 
text] owner replied, ``I am not sure; probably within 24 
hours.''\202\ Because of this, Team Tripoli was able to quickly 
secure the aircraft for transport from Tripoli to Benghazi that 
night.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \201\Id. at 37.
    \202\Id.

        A: Called back again that night and said, ``We need you 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        right now,'' and he was there. He showed up.

        Q: That was good timing, wasn't it?

        A: It was good timing, sir, convenient.\203\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \203\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                              *    *    *

        Q: And how long did it take from the time that call was 
        made to the aircraft owner, what did he say about his 
        ability to take off from Tripoli to Benghazi? How long 
        a timeframe do you recall?

        A: I don't remember what time he said, but I know we 
        had got there around 11:30 or midnight, but he was 
        ready to go when we had gotten there. And they actually 
        had expedited us through the airport. We didn't go 
        through any--the actual airport procedures. We had 
        weapons and ammo, obviously.

                              *    *    *

        Q: And was there no limitation on daylight only flight 
        ops with this [redacted text], as I understand was the 
        limitation on the Libyan military C-130?

        A: I don't think they could fly at night, but he could 
        because he was a privately owned company. The [redacted 
        text] was privately owned.

        Q: But your understanding was, at least with respect to 
        the Libya C-130----

        A: Daytime, sir.

        Q: That was limited to daytime ops?

        A: Yes, sir.\204\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \204\Id. at 47-48.

    At 12:30 a.m. [6:30 p.m. in Washington D.C.], the Team 
Tripoli departed the Tripoli Mitiga Airport with four GRS 
officers, including former U.S. Navy SEAL Glen A. Doherty, two 
military personnel, and a CIA officer acting as a 
linguist.\205\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \205\See U.S. Dep't of Defense, Timeline of the Department of 
Defense Actions on September 11-12, 2012 (May 1, 2013) (on file with 
the Committee) [hereinafter U.S. Dep't of Defense Timeline] (``A six-
man security team from U.S. Embassy Tripoli, including two DoD 
personnel, departs for Benghazi''); see also, Special Operator 
Testimony at 41.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

            The Defense Department is Alerted of the Attack

    News of the attack traveled at varying speeds within the 
Defense Department. AFRICOM was the first combatant command to 
receive an alert about the attacks. By 4:32 p.m. in Washington 
D.C. [10:32 p.m. in Benghazi], news of the attack reached the 
Pentagon.

                     AFRICOM ALERTED OF THE ATTACK

    Members within the AFRICOM command structure learned of the 
attack just more than 30 minutes after it began. At AFRICOM 
headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, Vice Admiral Charles J. 
Leidig Jr., the second in command for military operations, 
learned of the attack just over a half hour after it 
began.\206\ He testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \206\Leidig 2014 Testimony at 20.

        The night of the attack, when I received the initial 
        report at my quarters that night that there had been--I 
        remember it exactly. I got a report at [10:15]. I tell 
        people I saw the same Indiglo watch, and I was asleep 
        in my bed. I went to bed, got up early, and it was my 
        routine. So at [10:15], I rolled over and got a report 
        that . . . the facility in Benghazi [had been overrun], 
        but that the Ambassador was in a safe room and was 
        safe. And that was the initial report I got at 
        [10:15].\207\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \207\Id.

    Following notification, Admiral Leidig recalled his command 
center staff and returned to work.\208\ Although the initial 
reports he received were that Stevens had been secured in a 
safe haven, he learned shortly upon returning to work that 
Stevens was missing:\209\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \208\Id. at 26.
    \209\Id.

        When I got to the command center, the focus was on 
        where is the Ambassador and trying to locate him. At 
        that point I didn't know where the location that folks 
        had went to. I didn't know who they were. I would later 
        learn over the intervening hours that that was some 
        folks from [the annex] who had come to move State 
        Department personnel to the other facility. Again, it 
        was several hours before I knew what the facility was, 
        or the location, or where they were at. I just knew 
        that they had moved to another location, and the 
        reports we were getting from--most of our reporting at 
        that point were coming from the defense attache', our 
        defense attache' in Tripoli--was that they were safe, 
        and they were fine, and that they were at this other 
        facility. Our focus was trying to help gather 
        information to see if we could locate where the 
        Ambassador was.\210\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \210\Id. at 28.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       PENTAGON ALERTED OF ATTACK

    Almost an hour after the attacks started, at 4:32 p.m. in 
Washington D.C. [10:32 p.m. in Benghazi], nearly the same time 
the Diplomatic Security Agents and the Annex security team 
members began clearing the Mission compound in Benghazi half a 
world away, word of the attack finally reached the 
Pentagon.\211\ Although the Embassy in Tripoli and the 
Diplomatic Command Center at the State Department in Washington 
received word almost immediately that the Benghazi Mission 
compound was under attack, that notice did not make its way to 
the National Military Command Center, the operations center at 
the Pentagon, until 4:32 p.m. local time in Washington 
D.C.\212\ Vice Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, the Director of Operations 
for the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time of the attacks, 
testified his staff immediately alerted him about the 
attacks.\213\ His staff simultaneously contacted AFRICOM to 
obtain additional information regarding the situation on the 
ground, while he notified members of the Secretary of Defense's 
staff.\214\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \211\U.S. Dep't of Defense Timeline.
    \212\U.S. Dep't of Defense Timeline; see SCC Timeline (indicating 
the Diplomatic Security Command Center received notification of the 
attack at 3:49 PM EDT).
    \213\Testimony of Vice Admiral Kurt Tidd, Assistant to the Chairman 
of the J. Chiefs of Staff, Dir. for Operations (J3), U.S. Dep't of 
Defense, Tr. at 8 (Apr. 4, 2016) [hereinafter Tidd Testimony] (on file 
with the Committee).
    \214\Id. at 8-9.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      ASSETS IDENTIFIED TO DEPLOY

    As officials in Washington D.C. began to react to the 
attacks in Benghazi, it is important to describe and understand 
the assets available to respond, the state of those assets, and 
the military's policies and planning in force that applied to 
the assets' use and deployment.

          AFRICOM'S Posture and Force Laydown on September 11

    In the days leading up to September 11, 2012, General 
Carter F. Ham, the Commander of the United States Africa 
Command [AFRICOM] conducted a ``deep dive'' into intelligence 
reports to guide their decision regarding whether any 
adjustment to the force posture needed to be made.\215\ Leidig 
testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \215\Leidig 2014 Testimony at 22.

        [B]ased on General Ham's guidance, we actually did--we 
        had been--the military always does planning for 
        September 11th. We always know that there's a potential 
        for, you know, some sort of terrorist activity on 
        September 11th since its anniversary. General Ham had 
        actually directed in the days running up to it that we 
        do what we call a deep dive or a deep look at the 
        intelligence to see if there was anything to indicated 
        that there might be anything in our [area of 
        responsibility]. We found nothing in any intelligence 
        that would indicate that there was an attack or an 
        incident being planned by terrorists in our [area of 
        responsibility].\216\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \216\Id. at 22-23.

    Although AFRICOM's area of responsibility consists of the 
continent of Africa, with the exception of Egypt, its 
headquarters are based in Stuttgart, Germany. With the 
exception of a contingent stationed in Djibouti, a country on 
the Horn of Africa approximately 2,000 miles from Libya, 
AFRICOM did not have assigned forces.\217\ As a result, AFRICOM 
had to use United States European Command troops, aircraft, and 
bases in Europe including Ramstein, Germany; Sigonella and 
Aviano, Italy; and Rota, Spain to respond to events occurring 
on the African continent.\218\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \217\Panetta Testimony at 13.
    \218\Id. at 14-15.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                             Planned Assets

                             FAST PLATOONS

    The assets AFRICOM would mostly likely call upon in 
response to a crisis situation were the Fleet Antiterrorism 
Security Team [FAST] platoons stationed in Rota, Spain. Those 
platoons were required to be ready to deploy within a certain 
time frame. FAST platoons, as of September 2012, were typically 
used to reinforce embassy security and operated from a fixed 
location within an embassy. FAST platoons did not deploy with 
their own vehicles, so they were dependent on other means for 
ground mobility. That reality made the FAST platoon less 
capable to rapidly respond as a quick-reaction force. Moreover, 
the FAST platoon's ability to move on a given timeline required 
the allocation of aircraft for deployment in a timely manner.
    At the time, FAST platoons did not have dedicated airlift. 
This meant prior to being able to deploy, airlift would need to 
arrive from some other location, most likely Ramstein, Germany, 
to pick up the platoon for an onward deployment. The air base 
in Ramstein, Germany housed C-130s, large transport airframes 
that typically would be used to move the FAST platoons and 
associated equipment. In the days leading up to the attack, 
none of the C-130s in Ramstein were on any heightened alert. To 
effectuate movement, the Commander of United States Air Forces 
in Europe would need to take a series of steps to generate 
aircraft and prepare an air crew for deployment.\219\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \219\Testimony of General Philip G. Breedlove, Commander, U. S. 
European Command, Tr. at 21-22 (Apr. 7, 2016) [hereinafter Breedlove 
Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     COMMANDER'S IN EXTREMIS FORCE

    Another asset AFRICOM could call upon when circumstances 
warranted was the Commander's in Extremis Force [CIF] owned by 
European Command; it is one of the most capable quick response 
forces. General Ham described this force as ``the force of 
first choice should there be an emergent situation.''\220\ It 
is a special operations response team that offers capabilities 
for emergency action in missions such as hostage rescue, 
noncombatant evacuation when the security situation is 
uncertain, or convoy security. The CIF can and does work with 
the U.S.-based Special Operations Force that also ultimately 
deployed the night of the attacks in Benghazi. Theoretically, 
since any deployment from the U.S. to the Middle East or North 
Africa will require significant time for the U.S.-based force 
to reach its destination, the CIF provides a more responsive 
capability when an emergency arises. It has dedicated aircraft 
for transportation. The CIF is tasked to be airborne in a set 
number of hours once alerted, and the military's air traffic 
management system is supposed to provide two aircraft to ensure 
the CIF is airborne on the specified timeline. Unlike other 
assets deployed that night the CIF deploys with its own 
vehicles giving it the ability to drive from an airfield where 
deposited to a crisis site.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \220\Testimony of General Carter F. Ham, Commander, U.S. Africa 
Command.Tr. at 28 (June 8, 2016) [hereinafter Ham 2016 Testimony] (on 
file with the Committee).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Typically stationed in Germany, in the days leading up to 
September 11 the CIF was actually deployed to Croatia to 
perform a joint exercise.\221\ This training exercise had been 
planned for over a year.\222\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \221\Testimony of Army Major General Michael S. Repass, Commander, 
Special Operations Command Europe, Tr. at 18 (Apr. 15, 2016) 
[hereinafter Repass Testimony] (on file with the Committee).
    \222\Id.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  U.S.-BASED SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCE

    One other asset that can be used in events similar to the 
attacks in Benghazi is a U.S.-based Special Operations Force 
[U.S. SOF]. That force offers capabilities that complement and 
expand upon the assets brought by the CIF.\223\ Secretary of 
Defense Leon E. Panetta described the U.S. SOF as a ``hostage 
rescue unit from our special operations team.''\224\ [redacted 
text].\225\ By design, the CIF would typically be able to reach 
an overseas target first, due to the distance required to 
deploy from the U.S.\226\ If required, the CIF can assault a 
target immediately. If time permits, the preferred option is to 
hand the target over to the U.S. SOF, given its more robust 
capabilities.\227\ Since the U.S. SOF deploys from the U.S., 
however, to respond to the attacks in Benghazi it must travel 
much farther than the CIF and other assets closer to Libya.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \223\Id.
    \224\Leon E. Panetta, Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War 
and Peace 225 (2014).
    \225\Repass Testimony at 8.
    \226\Id. at 8-9.
    \227\Id. at 9.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                              Other Assets

                        F-16S AT AVIANO AIR BASE

    Aviano Air Base--situated in Aviano, Italy, approximately 
50 miles north of Venice--is home to the 31st Fighter Wing of 
the United States Air Forces Europe. At the time of the attack, 
two squadrons each consisting of 21 F-16s were stationed at 
Aviano.\228\ No tankers to provide air refueling for these F-
16s were stationed at Aviano.\229\ The assigned tankers were 
stationed in Mildenhall, England.\230\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \228\Testimony of Brigadier General Scott Zobrist, Commander, 31st 
Fighter Air Wing, U.S. Air Forces Europe, Tr. at 15 (Mar. 12, 2014) 
[hereinafter Zobrist Testimony] (on file with the Committee).
    \229\Id. at 20.
    \230\Id. at 21.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    On September 11, 2012, the air squadrons in Aviano were not 
on any heightened alert status, despite the call for a 
``heightened alert'' during the President's call with Cabinet 
members--an alert sequence that would require the pilots and 
the aircraft to be ready in a short amount of time. Rather, 
they were in a training posture.\231\ In fact, on that day, the 
31st Fighter Wing was in the middle of a two-week inspection to 
ensure the Fighter Wing met Air Force requirements.\232\ The 
aircraft were in a ``true training configuration'' which meant 
nothing was pre-loaded on the aircraft.\233\ This also meant 
any live ordnances available at Aviano were not assembled, 
thus, prior to loading onto an F-16, the bomb had to be put 
together piece by piece.\234\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \231\Id. at 25.
    \232\Id. at 32.
    \233\Id. at 36.
    \234\Id. at 29-30.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition to the fact that none of the F-16s was on any 
alert status but rather in a true training configuration on the 
anniversary of September 11, the distance between Aviano and 
Libya is approximately 1,000 miles or the equivalent of two-
hour's flight time.\235\ Because of that distance, an F-16 
would have needed two air refuelings by the tankers that were 
stationed nearly 700 miles away in Mildenhall, England, at the 
time.\236\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \235\Id. at 56.
    \236\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    These impediments to any fighter aircraft response from 
Aviano to North Africa were well known prior to September 11. 
Yet the alert posture of the aircraft at Aviano did not change 
in advance of that date, nor did the alert posture change after 
the protests in Cairo, Egypt.
    General Ham testified he had not ordered any fighter 
aircraft at Aviano to be placed on alert in the days leading up 
to September 11 based on his assessment of the threat 
intelligence and the probability the type of attacks that would 
most likely occur would be small scale attacks.\237\ Because of 
this, he believed if any attack were to occur, fighter aircraft 
would not be the right tool to respond.\238\ Some other 
military officials agreed with General Ham's assessment that 
fighter aircraft would likely not be the right tool to respond 
to potential events in North Africa.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \237\Ham Testimony at 28.
    \238\Id.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  REMOTELY PILOTED AIRCRAFT ``DRONES''

    At the time of the attacks, the Air Force operated four 
remotely-piloted aircraft--colloquially referred to as 
``drones''--from a base in southern Europe, approximately four 
hours from Benghazi. These drones were flown by a United States 
Air Force squadron located in the continental United States, 
and conducted missions over several countries including 
Libya.\239\ None of the drones were armed, [redacted 
text].\240\ A pilot operating a drone on the night of the 
attack explained why:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \239\Testimony of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Pilot 1, U. S. Air 
Force, Tr. at 10-11 (May 25, 2016) [hereinafter Drone Pilot 1 
Testimony] (on file with the Committee).
    \240\[Redacted text].

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Q: Was the aircraft armed?

        A: No, the aircraft did not have Hellfires on it.

        Q: Could it have been armed?

        A: I guess ``could'' is a very subjective term in this 
        case. So the aircraft had pylons which you could put 
        Hellfires on, yes.

        Q: If it was capable of being armed. Why wasn't it 
        armed?

        A: So as far as, like, the details of that decision, 
        they're above my level as to why that wasn't armed. But 
        from my understanding, the two reasons were--one is the 
        political environment between Libya, Italy, America, 
        and Europe was that we no longer needed missiles on our 
        aircraft in Libya because it had stabilized from the 
        Qadhafi regime, post-Qadhafi regime.

        The second reason is, whenever we don't need missiles 
        on the aircraft, we want to pull them off as soon as we 
        can, because it provides an opportunity to put more gas 
        on board, and with more gas on board, we can fly longer 
        missions and we can provide more intelligence, 
        surveillance, and reconnaissance to the Combined Air 
        Operations Center.\241\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \241\Drone Pilot 1 Testimony at 24-25.

    Armed drones had not been flown out of southern Europe 
since the fall of the Qadhafi regime. Another pilot who 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
operated the drone that night added:

        A: [W]e hadn't been armed in Libya since at some point 
        after the Qadhafi stuff had happened. So at some point 
        after that, it was--we knew we were no longer going to 
        be armed in that theater.

        Q: How did you know that?

        A: I don't remember who mentioned it, but I remember 
        hearing at some point that the--my understanding of it 
        was that the [government hosting the drone base] did 
        not want us flying an unmanned aircraft that was armed 
        over their country, so therefore they restricted us 
        from having armed unmanned aircraft.

        Q: And did you ever hear anything like--was that 
        through your chain of command or that was a fellow 
        pilot?

        A: My best guess would be that it was probably our 
        operations supervisor who basically runs the mass brief 
        at the beginning of each shift, you know, would have 
        just mentioned one day: Hey, due to, you know, the 
        [government hosting the drone base] not wanting us to 
        have armed unmanned aircraft over their country, we're 
        no longer going to be armed in Libya.\242\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \242\Testimony of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Pilot 2, U.S. Air 
Force, Tr. at 15 (May 25, 2016) [hereinafter Drone Pilot 2 Testimony] 
(on file with the Committee).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    One of the pilots added:

        To the best of my knowledge, that is my understanding 
        for what the trigger was for no longer arming the 
        remote-piloted aircraft flying over Libya, was the 
        takedown of Qadhafi.\243\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \243\Id. at 27.

    To utilize armed drones in a close air support environment, 
such as in Benghazi, a pilot would typically receive targeting 
instructions and clearance from a Joint Terminal Attack 
Controller [JTAC] on the ground.\244\ One of the drone pilots 
explained:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \244\Id. at 25-26.

        In a close air support environment, which is more akin 
        to what [Benghazi] would be, that's where we would 
        coordinate with a joint terminal attack controller, 
        JTAC, on the ground, and he would give us what is 
        called a nine-line in order to strike in that close air 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        support environment. And that would be the clearance.

        And then the only other option would be to get a nine-
        line, which is equivalent to a strike clearance, from 
        the actual Combined Air Operations Center via a chariot 
        directed straight from the Combined Forces Air 
        Component commander.\245\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \245\Drone Pilot 1 Testimony at 23.

    Although there were no JTAC's on the ground in Benghazi 
that night, several of the GRS agents possessed the skillset 
from their prior military experience.\246\ One agent testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \246\GRS 5 Testimony at 43-45; see also, Drone Pilot 1 Testimony at 
67 (``there were no JTACs in all of Libya.'').

        Q: And so how many of you had that, what [do] you call 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        it again? What did you call it again?

        A: A nine line.

        Q: Nine line?

        A: Yes, sir. It's just calling for fire. Now they call 
        them JTACs. When most of us were in the military it 
        wasn't as specialized, but everyone on that team could 
        have called in, called for fire.

        Q: Anybody----

        A: On our team, yes.

        Q: --could have called it?

        A: Yes, sir.

        Q: So how were you able to--I guess your capabilities--
        I'm talking about you personally, you were able to 
        provide a nine line?

        A: Sure.

        Q: And how did you know how to do that?

        A: From the military. From prior training in the 
        military.

        Q: Okay. Would you have had any way to communicate with 
        the pilot if a pilot----

        A: We could have, yes.

        Q: All right. How could that have----

        A: Through radio.

        Q: Through radio. When you say we were all able to 
        provide precision fire, are you talking about the GRS 
        individuals?

        A: Only the GRS individuals, yes.

        Q: Okay. Do you know if everybody was able to do that 
        or----

        A: Yes, I do.\247\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \247\GRS 5 Testimony at 43-45.

    When asked whether former military personnel were capable 
of serving as a JTAC, one of the drone pilots acknowledged such 
a person could possess the skills necessary to direct a 
strike.\248\ According to the witness from his perspective, the 
problem would be whether the military, without approval from 
the President, would have the authority to launch a missile 
toward a target at the direction of a skilled civilian.\249\ 
However, as the pilot pointed out, authority to strike without 
a military JTAC on the ground could also have been provided by 
the Combined Forces Air Component Commander.\250\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \248\Drone Pilot 1 Testimony at 65-66.
    \249\Id. This appears to be a concise statement from his 
perspective of more complex legal and operational constraints.
    \250\Id. at 30-31.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The year before the attacks in Benghazi, the Defense 
Department had operated drones over Libya during Operation 
Odyssey Dawn, the U.S. led campaign against Qadhafi troops, and 
Operation Unified Protector, the NATO mission against Qadhafi 
troops. During both of those operations, the drones had been 
used to launch missiles toward targets in Libya.\251\ During 
these operations, the drones were pre-loaded with missiles 
while stationed in southern Europe and always carried weapons 
during missions over Libya. At some point after the fall of 
Qadhafi, the drones operating over Libya no longer carried 
missiles.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \251\Testimony of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Sensor Operator, U. S. 
Air Force, Tr. at 26 (June 9, 2016) [hereinafter Sensor Operator 1] (on 
file with the Committee).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    After the fall of Qadhafi, the Defense Department continued 
to use drones and other ISR assets to gather intelligence 
information in Libya, especially regarding the growing number 
of Islamic extremist in country.
    In August 2012, the Libyan government restricted the types 
of missions that could be flown in Libyan air space, primarily 
over Benghazi. General Ham explained:

        Q: General, in the summer of 2012, August timeframe, 
        ISR missions over Benghazi and Tripoli were suspended 
        due to complaints from Libyans. I believe those ISR 
        assets were Predators and they were under your command. 
        Is that correct?

        A: Yes.

        Q: And what do you recall about the suspension or the 
        complaints from the Libyans about those ISR assets 
        operating in Libya?

        A: There were complaints by the Libyan Government to 
        the Embassy about overflights. [Redacted text].

        Q: Did those complaints impact your ability to operate 
        those Predator assets at all during that time?

        A: I do not recall the complaints about the unmanned 
        systems. I do recall complaints about the manned 
        systems. And the manned systems, we would have to very 
        carefully manage the time slots and when they could 
        fly.

        Q: Were those P-3s?

        A: Yes.

    General Ham described his assessment of the Libyans's 
request:

        Sir, I think there were some honest Libyans who didn't 
        like the noise. I mean, they're just kind of a constant 
        buzz. They're low, and they're intrusive.

        I think there were some Libyans who voiced concern to 
        their government about a foreign power being intrusive.

        And I believe there were Islamic terrorist 
        organizations who were influencing members of the 
        Libyan Government, because they knew what those 
        aircraft were doing.\252\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \252\Ham 2016 Testimony at 168.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       ASSETS AT SOUDA BAY, CRETE

    While conducting oversight in Souda Bay, Members of the 
Committee received a briefing regarding special operations 
aircraft that were stationed at Souda Bay on the night of the 
attacks in Benghazi and could have been utilized in response to 
the attacks. The Committee sought confirmation of this 
information through interviews and requests for information 
from the Defense Department. The Defense Department has not 
denied the presence of these assets.

                      MILITARY PERSONNEL IN LIBYA

    The only Defense Department asset in Libya not considered 
that night were the military members of Team Tripoli. This was 
true because the Secretary was not even aware of their presence 
in Libya. At the time of his meeting with the President and for 
a period subsequent to that, the Secretary was not informed 
military personnel were making their way to Benghazi. In fact, 
he did not learn of this until the next day.\253\ This means 
the only U.S. military asset to actually reach Benghazi during 
the attacks was an asset the Secretary did not know about, was 
not told about by his subordinates, and did not learn about 
until after the fact.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \253\Panetta Testimony at 45.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     FOREIGN EMERGENCY SUPPORT TEAM

    The Foreign Emergency Support Team [FEST] is ``the U.S. 
government's only interagency, on-call, short-notice team 
poised to respond to terrorist incidents worldwide.''\254\ 
Consisting of representatives from the Defense Department and 
other agencies, FEST deploys overseas at the request of the 
Chief of Mission or the State Department, and can augment both 
U.S. and host nation capabilities with specialized crisis 
response expertise.\255\ Historically, it has deployed overseas 
in response to attacks on U.S. interests. For example, in 2000, 
after the USS Cole was attacked, a FEST team was deployed to 
Aden, Yemen.\256\ Two years earlier, two FEST teams were 
deployed to Kenya and Tanzania. FEST has also been deployed in 
response to a hostage-taking crisis and abductions of 
Americans.\257\ Typically, the State Department requests 
deployment of the FEST in conjunction with the Joint Staff. 
Once that decision is made, the FEST is capable of launching 
within four hours.\258\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \254\Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST) found at www.state.gov/
j/ct/programs/fest/index.htm.
    \255\See id.
    \256\Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST), http://2001-
2009.state.gov/s/ct/about/c16664.htm.
    \257\Id.
    \258\Email from Mark I. Thompson (Sept. 11, 2012 9:58 PM) (on file 
with the Committee, C05562162) (``The team can launch within 4 hours of 
Deputies Committee decision.'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Despite all of these capabilities, the Secretary recalls no 
discussion of a potential FEST deployment in response to the 
Benghazi attacks.\259\ Mark I. Thompson, the person in charge 
of the FEST, contacted Kennedy about deploying the FEST on the 
night of the attacks. According to an email response sent to 
Thompson that evening, Kennedy ``did not feel the dispatch of 
such a team to Libya is the appropriate response to the current 
situation.''\260\ Charlene R. Lamb, Deputy Assistant Secretary 
for Diplomatic Security, State Department also did not believe 
the FEST was an appropriate asset to be deployed that evening. 
Although in direct contrast to the State Department's own 
description and the historical record of prior deployments of 
the unit, Lamb described the FEST as ``primarily focus[ing] on 
providing a strong communications package, policy experts, and 
investigative abilities.''\261\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \259\Panetta Testimony at 182.
    \260\Email to Mark I. Thompson (Sept. 11, 2012 10:43) (on file with 
the Committee, C05562162).
    \261\Testimony of Charlene Lamb, Deputy Ass't Sec'y for Diplomatic 
Sec., U.S. Dep't of State, Tr. at 26 (Jan. 7, 2016) [hereinafter Lamb 
testimony] (on file with the Committee).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    David H. Petraeus, Director, CIA, viewed the FEST as a 
``support element for the conduct of an operation to do a 
counter-terrorism or hostage rescue operation.''\262\ [Redacted 
text].\263\ Yet with Stevens considered missing for hours in 
Libya after the death of Smith, FEST expertise could have 
augmented the capabilities of the U.S. Embassy in Libya.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \262\Petraeus Testimony at 49
    \263\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tidd stated a FEST deployment was discussed briefly during 
the 7:30 meeting with the White House, but dismissed.\264\ 
Kennedy and others at the State Department did not want to 
deploy the FEST in response to the attacks in Benghazi. Tidd 
indicated the State Department was concerned about putting 
individuals in country who were not ``trigger pullers'' and 
would potentially need rescuing.\265\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \264\Tidd Testimony at 22.
    \265\Id. at 23.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

 The Practical and Policy Implications Associated with Deploying Assets

    Throughout the course of the investigation, Defense 
Department witnesses provided insight into how various assets 
might have been employed to respond to the events in Benghazi, 
and the constraints--whether imposed by policy or imposed by 
capability--of employing such assets.

                           TIME AND DISTANCE

    Given that the attacks occurred in Libya, military 
officials repeatedly emphasized any asset that would respond to 
the events would be necessarily constrained by the ``tyranny of 
time and distance.'' The CIF commander described the 
difficulties of responding to events in Africa:

        So a lot of people that deploy to Africa or work on 
        AFRICOM--work for AFRICOM--use the term ``tyranny of 
        distance'' because it takes so long to move what could 
        seemingly look like smaller distances. And there's not 
        a robust network of airfields and staging points that 
        there are, say, in a more developed area of the world, 
        like Europe. So Europe is a much smaller area, and 
        there's many developed airfields, fueling sites. 
        Whereas, when you have Africa, it's, relatively 
        speaking, much more undeveloped and exponentially times 
        larger; so you are limited in your ability to move 
        around with fuel, with time. And we call it the 
        ``tyranny of distance'' because it's hard to get from 
        point A to point B, and it takes a while.\266\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \266\Testimony of CIF Commander, Special Operations Command Europe, 
Tr. at 98 (Aug. 26, 2015) [hereinafter CIF Commander Testimony] (on 
file with the Committee).

    With respect to the response to Benghazi, the Secretary 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
explained:

        I knew it was going to take some time [to move an asset 
        into Libya], just because of the preparedness for the 
        units and then the time and distance involved. You 
        know, you've heard the term ``tyranny of time and 
        distance,'' and it's tough in this area.\267\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \267\Panetta Testimony at 47.

    Tidd discussed the challenges faced to move forces as 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
quickly as possible that night:

        Q: Admiral, one of the lingering questions that we have 
        been trying to get a handle on is why it seemed to take 
        so long to get the response forces off the ground. The 
        FAST team was in Rota on a [specific] timeline. They 
        were ready to move prior to that. They sat on the 
        tarmac for about 6 hours before the planes got there.

        A: That is because we had no alert aircraft in 
        Ramstein. So, literally, it was the middle of the night 
        there. And I don't know all of the exact actions that 
        they had to go to, but at Ramstein, they had to go and 
        generate the airplanes, get the air crews, wake them 
        up, brief them, tell them what we knew, and have the 
        planes ready to go. We did not have an alert posture 
        set for the aircraft.\268\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \268\Tidd Testimony at 16.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                              *    *    *

        Everybody wanted them there instantaneously. And we 
        were getting a lot of questions . . . Are they mov[ing] 
        yet, are they moving yet? It was just taking a long 
        time.\269\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \269\Id.

    Dr. James Miller, the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy 
at the time, provided a civilian's perspective on the 
logistical challenges faced by the Defense Department that 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
night in response to the attacks:

        The logistical issues were the tyranny of distance and 
        time, first and foremost. So moving an asset from the 
        [U.S.], the longest move, moving the FAST team, getting 
        it prepared to deploy--the FAST teams, I should say, 
        both from Rota--and then the EUCOM [CIF].

        So there is, first, the distance to be traveled, the 
        fact that it takes time. Second, they need time to spin 
        up. And I later became deeply familiar with the various 
        postures and so forth, but it is challenging to sustain 
        a very short timeline for an extended period of time. 
        And so each of the individual units we're talking about 
        had a specific timeline for readiness. My impression 
        was they were all working to shorten that timeline and 
        to get prepared and to deploy even more rapidly than 
        their timelines. But that I would consider a matter of 
        logistics as well.\270\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \270\Testimony of Dr. James N. Miller, Under Sec'y of Defense for 
Policy, Tr. at 71-72 (May 10, 2016) [hereinafter Miller Testimony] (on 
file with the Committee).

    Several witnesses also talked about the logistical 
obstacles to deploying F-16s in response to the attacks in 
Benghazi. Being able to deploy an aircraft and being able to 
actually utilize an aircraft in response to the events are 
separate questions. From the Defense Department's perspective, 
even if a F-16 was activated quickly and was able to fly to 
Benghazi before the final mortar attack, logistical constraints 
would still have impacted the capability to actually utilize 
the F-16s that night. Admiral James A. Winnefeld, the Vice 
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, discussed those 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
constraints:

        But let's say you could just snap your fingers and 
        there were F-16s suddenly over Benghazi immediately. 
        It's the middle of the night; there's no joint tactical 
        air controller on the ground. You don't even have any 
        communications with the people on the ground. You don't 
        even know where this is happening. If you're lucky and 
        you've got a latitude and a longitude to point your 
        systems at, you might be able to see the action going 
        on on the ground, if there was action going on on the 
        ground, but for most of the night there wasn't.\271\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \271\Testimony of Vice Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Vice Chairman, 
J. Chiefs of Staff, Tr. at 35-36 (Mar. 3, 2016) [hereinafter Winnefeld 
Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

    Rear Admiral Richard B. Landolt, the Director of Operations 
for AFRICOM also explained the logistical and policy 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
constraints of employing F-16s in response to the attack:

        A: You still have 3 to 4 hours of the flight time to 
        get to, say, Benghazi. And then you need to spin up 
        tanker aircraft because it can't do a round trip 
        without them. And Admiral Leidig talked to General 
        Franklin on that, so there was nothing on strip alert 
        there in Aviano.

        And tankers I believed were up in England, Mildenhall, 
        I believe.

                              *    *    *

        Q: Were the F-16s--perhaps ``dismissed'' isn't the 
        right word, but--pick a better word if you have one--
        but were they dismissed because of the [time it would 
        take to activate] issue, or were they dismissed because 
        there wasn't a viable mission for you to employ them?

        A: I would almost say both reasons, because--yeah. So 
        we spin it up, what are we going to do with it? I mean, 
        you've got to put ordnance on it, you've got to refuel 
        it, you've got to brief a mission. We don't know what 
        the mission is. You know, this is an urban environment 
        so--and we don't have people on the ground that can 
        direct targeting. There were not tactical action 
        controllers in Benghazi, as far as I know.\272\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \272\Testimony of Rear Admiral Richard B. Landolt, Dir. of 
Operations for U.S. Africa Command, Tr. at 38 (May 5, 2016) 
[hereinafter Landolt Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

    Even if F-16s were generated in a timely manner and were 
able to arrive in Benghazi before the attacks ended, policy 
restrictions would have impacted their utility that night. As 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Winnefeld explained:

        No Air Force or Navy pilot will ever drop a bomb into 
        an area where they are not certain who's there and 
        what's going on unless there's communications with 
        people on the ground and a JTAC or what we call a 
        forward air controller airborne.

        So I mean, it was highly unlikely that we were going to 
        be able to make a difference, even if we could get 
        there in time with air power, so we chose not to do 
        it.\273\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \273\Winnefeld Testimony at 36.

    As mentioned previously, many of the GRS agents on the 
ground had the JTAC capabilities from prior military 
experience. Of course all of what is laid out above was well 
known beforehand. There was nothing new about the time and 
distance concerns in Africa or the positioning of U.S. assets 
that might be called upon to respond.
    Not only did the Defense Department know any response to 
events in North Africa would be hampered by distance, the State 
Department also knew the military had such concerns because 
they were constantly reminded. Winnefeld testified he 
repeatedly warned the State Department of this issue:

        The tyranny of distance, in particularly North Africa, 
        as I'm sure you've probably seen a picture of the U.S. 
        imposed upon--you know, the entire continental U.S. 
        fits neatly into North Africa. It's a big place. We've 
        constantly reminded State while I was the Vice Chairman 
        and also, you know, National Security Council staff, 
        gently, politely, that if you're counting on reactive 
        forces from DOD to pull your fat out of the fire, 
        basically, when there's an event going on, you're 
        kidding yourselves. It's just too hard to get there. 
        Usually, an event is over fairly quickly, and even in 
        the best alert posture we can be in, it's going to be a 
        couple of hours, two or three hours, before we can be 
        someplace.

        So what you should really be counting on is using these 
        forces to either preemptively reinforce an area, like 
        an embassy, or preemptively evacuate an area, like an 
        embassy. Don't count on us to drop in in the middle of 
        the night and stop a situation that's going on.

        Now that won't prevent us from trying, certainly. If 
        there's an event in a place that--you know, like a 
        Benghazi and if we're postured in order to get there, 
        we'll certainly try, we'll always try, but I've made it 
        very clear to them--and they understand this--that they 
        need to be very careful in their risk assessments. And 
        it's a lot easier to reinforce and get out early than 
        it is to save something that's under fire. And that has 
        a lot to do not only with the tyranny of distance and 
        how long it takes to get there, but you know, it's not 
        easy to take a force and just drop it into the middle 
        of an unknown area at night, and it's even harder when 
        you're under fire. You know, V-22s don't like to fly 
        when they're under fire, that sort of thing. So we've 
        tried to make it very, very clear to [State], try, 
        please, please, to do good risk assessment and evacuate 
        or reinforce so that we don't have to rescue you in the 
        middle of a firefight.\274\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \274\Winnefeld Testimony at 74-75.

          The President's Directive and The Secretary's Order

    Just minutes after word of the attack reached the 
Secretary, he and General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff, departed the Pentagon to attend a 
previously scheduled 5:00 p.m. meeting at the White House with 
President Obama and National Security Advisor Thomas E. 
Donilon.\275\ The Secretary recalled two details about the 
attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi: a building was on fire 
and Stevens was missing.\276\ As the Secretary and Dempsey 
briefed the President on the evolving situation in Benghazi, 
Libya, the Secretary recalled the following guidance:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \275\Panetta Testimony at 22.
    \276\Id. at 22-23

        The President made clear that we ought to use all of 
        the resources at our disposal to try to make sure we 
        did everything possible to try to save lives 
        there.\277\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \277\Id. at 24.

    Immediately following the meeting with the President, at 
roughly 6:00 p.m., the Secretary and Dempsey returned to the 
Pentagon and convened a meeting that included Ham, who was in 
Washington D.C. at the time, and relevant members of the 
Secretary's staff and the Joint Staff.\278\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \278\Id. at 22.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    During the meeting, three distinct capabilities were 
identified to deploy in response to the attacks in Benghazi: 
two FAST platoons, the CIF, and the U.S. SOF, capable of 
response to crises worldwide.\279\ Again, the Secretary was not 
aware, and was not told, of any assets in Tripoli.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \279\Id. at 24-25
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Defense Department provided copies of maps identifying 
assets present in European Command, AFRICOM, and Central 
Command's areas of responsibility on September 11, September 
12, and September 13 to the Committee. The assets identified on 
the maps were purportedly considered during this meeting, 
although the Joint Staff at the time did not keep a daily 
updated list of assets and their locations.\280\ During its 
investigation, the Committee determined the maps failed to 
include assets that actually were deployed in response to 
Benghazi. For example, a C-17 medical airplane was deployed to 
Tripoli on September 12 to evacuate the wounded, deceased, and 
other American citizens. That asset was not identified on the 
maps provided by the Defense Department to the Committee. Given 
this discrepancy, the Committee requested it confirm whether 
there were any additional assets not identified on the maps or 
any assets withheld due to special access programs 
restrictions. It did not respond to the Committee's request. 
This failure to respond unnecessarily and unadvisedly leaves 
questions the Defense Department can easily answer, and it is 
in the public interest that it do so.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \280\See Winnefeld Testimony at 45.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    According to the Secretary, within an hour of his return to 
the Pentagon, he issued an order to deploy the identified 
assets.\281\ The testimony of record is that the President's 
direction that night was clear: use all of the resources 
available to try to make sure we did everything possible to try 
to save lives there.\282\ When asked whether he expected or 
needed the President to later extrapolate, clarify, or reissue 
that order, the Secretary said ``no.''\283\ The Secretary 
insisted he understood the President's directive and no further 
communication with the President was necessary. Nor did any 
further communication with the President take place.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \281\Panetta Testimony at 25-26.
    \282\Id. at 23.
    \283\Id. at 49.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Similarly, the Secretary insists his own intentions and 
actions that night, in the aftermath of the President's orders, 
were also clear: deploy the identified assets immediately. The 
Secretary said his orders were active tense. ``My orders were 
to deploy those forces, period. . . . [I]t was very clear: They 
are to deploy.''\284\ He did not order the preparation to 
deploy or the planning to deploy or the contemplation of 
deployment. His unequivocal testimony was that he ordered the 
identified assets to ``deploy.''\285\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \284\Id. at 26.
    \285\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    By 7:00 p.m. in Washington [1:00 a.m. in Benghazi], nearly 
three hours after the attacks began, the Secretary issued what 
he believed, then and now, to be the only order needed to move 
the FAST platoons, the CIF, and the U.S. SOF.\286\ Yet nearly 
two more hours elapsed before the Secretary's orders were 
relayed to those forces. Several more hours elapsed before any 
of those forces moved. During those crucial hours between the 
Secretary's order and the actual movement of forces, no one 
stood watch to steer the Defense Department's bureaucratic 
behemoth forward to ensure the Secretary's orders were carried 
out with the urgency demanded by the lives at stake in 
Benghazi. For much of the evening of September 11, principals 
in Washington D.C. considered Stevens to be missing and 
reliable information about his whereabouts was difficult to 
come by. For those on the ground and in the fight in Libya, the 
reality of a second American death was sinking in.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \286\Id. at 49.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                   THE SECOND ATTACK ON THE COMPOUND

                          Evacuation to Annex

    In Benghazi, the Diplomatic Security Agents determined 
Stevens would not have survived the fire in Villa C, and they 
were now engaged in a recovery mission.\287\ According to 
Diplomatic Security Agent 4, ``[W]e were unable to find 
Stevens. I was very--at that point, I think it was decided that 
this was probably a recovery mission. We were looking to 
recover his body.''\288\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \287\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 4 Testimony at 137-138.
    \288\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    At 11:10 p.m. [5:10 p.m. in Washington], an explosive 
device detonated several meters inside the back gate, starting 
the second wave of attacks at the Benghazi Mission 
compound.\289\ Around the same time, the drone arrived on 
station over the compound.\290\ GRS officers returned fire 
after being fired on by the attackers, while the Diplomatic 
Security Agents loaded their vehicle and departed the compound 
under fire at 11:16 p.m. [5:16 p.m.].\291\ Prior to leaving the 
compound, the Diplomatic Security Agents did not fire their 
weapons during the attacks. As one Diplomatic Security Agent 
explained:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \289\Video: DVR Footage of the Mission (Sept. 11, 2012, 2310).
    \290\See U.S. Dep't of Defense Timeline (``[At 11:10 PM EET t]he 
diverted surveillance aircraft arrives on station over the Benghazi 
facility.'').
    \291\Committee analysis of DVR Footage of the Mission (Sept. 11, 
2012, 2210 to 2216).

        I feel now, and I felt then at the time, that I had the 
        support. At that time there was no opportunity to 
        shoot. There was a situation, it was a moment where it 
        was myself and [another Diplomatic Security Agent], and 
        we were very close quarters with an overwhelming force 
        of armed combatants, and at that situation it would not 
        have been the smart thing, it would not have been the 
        tactical thing to fire your weapon at that time.\292\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \292\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 2 Testimony at 156.

    The Diplomatic Security Agents loaded Sean Smith's body in 
their vehicle and departed the compound through the main gate. 
One Diplomatic Security Agent described what they saw as they 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
exited the compound:

        As we were turning left to go outside the compound, we 
        could see at the end of that access road a lot of cars 
        and lights and people milling about. I ascertained that 
        was probably a checkpoint or a blockade. And so we 
        turned around and went the other way. It was at that 
        point the attacking force kind of crossed paths with 
        us, had then they opened fire on our vehicle, and we 
        continued out.\293\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \293\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 4 Testimony at 138.

    Another Diplomatic Security Agent provided further detail 
about the extensive attacks they encountered as they fled the 
Mission compound.\294\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \294\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 Testimony at 158-162; See also, 
Comprehensive Timeline of Events--Benghazi, produced by the U.S. Dep't 
of State. (Last Edit Nov 01, 2012) (State-SCB0047846).

        The situation on the perimeter was getting 
        substantially worse. As we loaded into the vehicle, the 
        agent that had been taking in the most smoke that was 
        in the safe haven with the Ambassador ultimately ends 
        up being the one to drive. I still don't know why we 
        allowed him to do that. He did a great job. That 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        adrenaline kicked in.

        As we pull out of the compound . . . we start taking 
        fire. So, as we suspected, the individuals that 
        attacked us, some of them had remained hidden in the 
        fruit grove on the compound and were waiting for a 
        situation to kill us.

        So as soon as we got out of the way of the Libyans, 
        they started shooting the side of our armored vehicle, 
        on my side of the car actually. Ting ting, ting ting. I 
        don't know, maybe 10 rounds is what hit us on our left 
        side.

        As we exit the compound, we turn right . . . There is a 
        large crowd, 40, 50, 60 people. We can't tell if they 
        are facing us, we can't tell if they are waiting for 
        us, we don't know. We get, I don't know, 20 or 30 yards 
        down this road; we see this crowd. We decide it is 
        something we would rather not encounter. We turn 
        around.

        We go back close to the compound, and there is someone 
        we presume to be a 17 February member waiting off to 
        the side by the wall who is waving at us, ``Don't go 
        this way.'' That is enough for us to turn around. So we 
        turn around again back toward the crowd, the large 
        crowd that we don't know their intentions.

                              *    *    *

        Okay. So we are heading back in the direction we 
        initially attempted to go. As we get about probably a 
        third to two thirds to halfway down this road, we 
        encounter an individual that is pulled off from a small 
        group of people at a compound. . . . This individual is 
        waving us into his compound as if to say, you know, 
        this is somewhere safe, come in and we will protect 
        you. We decide this is a terrible idea. We all advise 
        for the driver to just keep going.

        The second we pull alongside of this individual he 
        raises an AK 47 and shoots at pointblank range, 
        literally pointblank, inches. His gunfire impacts the 
        entire right side of the vehicle. The ballistic glass 
        and the armor proofing works, just like it is supposed 
        to.

        He shoots through all the way around the right side, up 
        in the back window, breaks through the exterior glass, 
        which is just factory glass, and impacts the ballistic 
        resistant glass on the inside, which holds.

                              *    *    *

        So, at the same time this individual is shooting us 
        with his AK 47, I don't think it is him but another 
        member of his group throws two grenades under our 
        vehicle. I specify that they were grenades because they 
        went off immediately as opposed to being a fuse-lit 
        explosive like the gelatin bombs we discussed earlier. 
        Those would have taken a few seconds for the fuse to 
        burn out. We didn't realize it at the time, but two of 
        our tires had been blown out.

        So, as we pass this gun, possibly a full magazine of 
        AK-47 fire at pointblank range and two grenades under 
        our vehicle, and we continue on. We didn't realize it 
        at the time, but two of our tires had been blown out.

        We approach the intersection with the next major road, 
        where the large group was positioned, and, to our 
        relief, they are not even paying attention to what is 
        going on down the road. They have their backs to 
        us.\295\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \295\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 Testimony at 158-163.

    As the Diplomatic Security Agents drove away from the 
Mission compound toward the Annex, they noticed they were being 
followed.\296\ The individuals following the agents detoured to 
a warehouse in the vicinity of the Annex near the parking area 
where attackers later staged the first attack on the 
Annex.\297\ One Diplomatic Security Agent described what 
happened when the team arrived at the Annex:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \296\Id.
    \297\Id. See also, Diplomatic Sec. Agent 1 Testimony at 74-75; 
Diplomatic Sec. Agent 4 Testimony at 138; Diplomatic Sec. Agent 5 
Testimony at 125.

        Finally, we were able to turn, kind of get off the main 
        road there where it was a lot quieter, and then we made 
        our way to the Annex. Upon arrival at the Annex, you 
        know, we pulled in, and immediately people came out and 
        I parked the car, got out of the car, and you know, 
        their eyeballs were about the size of saucers, just 
        seeing the car, and seeing us. And immediately, they 
        brought me into kind of a, you know, the kitchen area, 
        which is where the med area was. And they just started 
        pumping me, you know, with fluids, just chugging water, 
        eating fruit, and my goal was just to get back up on my 
        feet, get back out and keep fighting.\298\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \298\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 5 Testimony at 127.

    The team of five Diplomatic Security Agents arrived with 
Smith's body at the Annex at 11:23 p.m. [5:23 p.m. in 
Washington].\299\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \299\Video: DVR Footage of the CIA Annex (Sept. 11, 2012, 2338).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Back at the Benghazi Mission compound, the GRS team were no 
longer facing direct fire. The GRS departed through the 
compound's main gate and followed a different route to ensure 
no attackers were tailing them.\300\ They arrived at the Annex 
approximately 20 minutes later and quickly took up fighting 
positions on the roofs of the Annex buildings.\301\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \300\Video: DVR Footage of the Mission (Sept. 11, 2012, 2219).
    \301\GRS 2 Testimony at 53.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    After the agents and the GRS departed the compound, attacks 
continued on the Mission compound with RPGs, small arms fire, 
and unknown explosions.\302\ A mix of armed and unarmed 
individuals re-entered the compound through the back gate and 
subsequently looted the armored vehicles, removed paper and 
gear from the TOC, reset fires, and stole an armored Land 
Cruiser.\303\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \302\Committee analysis of DVR Footage of the Mission (Sept. 11, 
2012, 2219).
    \303\Committee analysis of DVR Footage of the Mission (Sept. 11, 
2012, 2219); see also Email to the DSCC Watch Team and the DSCC Mgmt. 
Team (Sept. 11, 2012, 7:59 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05409685). 
The Twitter account with handle @hadeelaish belonged to Hadeel al-
Shalchi, a journalist for Reuters news.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                     The First Attack on the Annex

    As the situation continued to unfold in Benghazi, the 
Diplomatic Security Agents on the ground were periodically 
reporting back to the tactical operations center in Tripoli 
about the events on the ground. The Tripoli Chief of Station 
discussed requests for a medical evacuation:

        So the initial question that I asked for our GRS team 
        lead: Do they need a Medevac, and what Medevac 
        assistance do they need? At that time they didn't know, 
        so that was one of our communications to AFRICOM was to 
        put a warning order or we may be needing Medevac 
        assistance.

        At that time also the location of--we had no 
        indication--our main priority was the personnel at 
        the--at the temporary mission facility and the 
        whereabouts of the Ambassador.\304\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \304\Chief of Station Testimony at 101.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                              *    *    *

        A: I think there was a--and some of the decisions were 
        an ongoing conversation that I had with our rep in 
        Stuttgart was about do we need Medevac and where that 
        Medevac would go. So initially in that, when we were 
        still looking for the Ambassador and our team was at 
        the airport, they just got--I didn't say we wanted a 
        medical--a Medevac at that point because we didn't have 
        any--I did have conversations with the GRS team lead in 
        Benghazi: What is the status of your personnel? Do you 
        need Medevac? And that answer was no at that time, and 
        the Ambassador was unlocated.

        But what played into some of my calculus at that time 
        was I didn't want to send a U.S. aircraft in Benghazi 
        and maybe have the same dynamic of getting off the 
        airport and not knowing what were going to be the 
        parameters of that situation.

        So that was--and the Defense Attache was in that same 
        conversation with elements in AFRICOM.\305\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \305\Id. at 109.

    Just before 12:30 a.m. [6:30 p.m. in Washington D.C.], 
individuals congregated and staged gun trucks at the far east 
intersection near the Annex. It was unclear to the agents at 
the Annex if these individuals were friend or foe. The GRS 
agents on the roof asked Annex management whether they were 
able to determine who was congregating outside of the 
Annex.\306\ The next wave of attackers then used the east field 
as cover and concealment to advance toward the Annex wall.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \306\GRS 1 Testimony at 94.

        [B]y that time, we had started to see people massing on 
        that east side parking lot and starting to utilize that 
        little house that had the family in it. They were 
        coming through that front door. They would disappear 
        where the front door was, and you could see them coming 
        out the back door, and that's when we're trying to get 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        our lights turned off, all the lights, get them off.

        Q: So were there floodlights looking out or lighting 
        the base?

        A: Both. We were trying to get the ones looking in. We 
        were trying to get those floodlights turned off. And 
        the ones looking out, let them stay on. In the 
        meantime, I'm calling on the radio going are we 
        expecting friendlies from chief of base and our team 
        leader. Are we expecting any friendlies? Are we 
        expecting any friendlies? And I'm getting, I don't 
        know, maybe, I don't know. In the meantime, they're 
        coming towards us, and I'm asking [redacted text], I 
        said do you see any weapons? Because we're not going to 
        shoot anybody unless we see a weapon. And you could 
        tell they're moving tactically. They're moving 
        sideways. They're playing hide and go seek. They don't 
        realize we have night vision. Eventually, I'm not going 
        to call that we got bad guys coming.\307\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \307\GRS 4 Testimony at 106-107.

    The first assault on the Annex itself began at 12:34 a.m. 
[6:34 p.m in Washington D.C.], when attackers directed small 
arms fire at the Annex hitting the northeast portion of the 
property, where Annex Building 2 was located.\308\ An IED was 
thrown over the wall near the Annex north recreation area in 
the vicinity of a GRS officer on the ground.\309\ One GRS 
officer described the beginning of the first attack.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \308\Video: DVR Footage of the CIA Annex (Sept. 11, 2012, 0034).
    \309\GRS 1 Testimony at 94. See also, Video: DVR Footage of the CIA 
Annex (Sept. 11, 2012, 0036).

        But then you could hear, like there's a mass of cars 
        that is forming. We're trying to figure out if it's 17 
        Feb. or if it was the police or who was it, you know. 
        Of course, we got nothing back from the TL or the Chief 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        of Base.

        But as I was walking the water back, something flew 
        over the wall, exploded about 15 feet or so away from 
        me. And at the same time, an RPG came up over the wall, 
        and that's when the first assault on our compound 
        happened.\310\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \310\GRS 1 Testimony at 94.

    For the next 10 minutes, rounds of small arms fire, RPG 
fire and IED explosions impacted the Annex near the northeast 
corner.\311\ Concurrently, starting at 12:41 a.m. [6:41 p.m. in 
Washington D.C.] the Annex took small arms fire and likely IED 
attacks from the east wall also aimed at Annex Building 2.\312\ 
Over the next 10 minutes, there were attackers that were 
visible along the east wall and an explosive impacted against 
the east side of the Annex.\313\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \311\Committee analysis of DVR Footage of the CIA Annex (Sept. 11, 
2012, from approximately 0034 to 0045).
    \312\Video: DVR Footage of the CIA Annex (Sept. 11, 2012, 0036 and 
0041, respectively).
    \313\Committee analysis of DVR Footage of the CIA Annex (Sept. 11, 
2012, from approximately 0040 to 0052).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    After being repelled from the first assault, attackers were 
still visible in the east field at 12:59 a.m.; however, GRS 
refused to fire on their location at this time because their 
position was too close to a residence where a local family 
lived including children.\314\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \314\GRS 4 Testimony at 119-120.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                     The Second Attack on the Annex

    After being overwhelmed in the first attack, the attackers 
regrouped with a more aggressive second attack. At 1:10 a.m., 
this second attack was directed at the Annex, with a RPG 
striking Building 2.\315\ The second attack included even 
heavier sustained fire and a larger number of attackers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \315\Video: DVR Footage of the CIA Annex (Sept. 11, 2012, 0110).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Over the next five minutes, there was sustained and heavy 
small arms fire from the east perimeter wall, small arms fire 
from the northeast corner, RPG strikes from the east field, and 
sustained fire.\316\ The attackers retreated after taking heavy 
return fire from the Annex. One GRS agent described this 
attack:\317\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \316\Committee analysis of DVR Footage of the CIA Annex (Sept. 11, 
2012, from approximately 0110 to 0115).
    \317\Committee analysis of DVR Footage of the CIA Annex (Sept. 11, 
2012, from approximately 0110 to 0200).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Q: Okay. So the second attack, what happened?

        A: It was a lot more force, lasted probably twice as 
        long as the first one. I got a little bit of shrapnel 
        from something. I got a bunch of shrapnel from the 
        light. That was pretty much it. We just repelled that 
        one. And that was it until 5:15 when the mortars came 
        in.\318\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \318\GRS 1 Testimony at 97-98.

                       Local Libyans Find Stevens

    Shortly before the second attack on the Annex began, at 
approximately 1:00 a.m. [7:00 p.m. in Washington] local Libyans 
found the remains of Stevens in a bedroom in the main 
diplomatic building at the Benghazi Mission. One of the Libyans 
asked a member of the Libyan Army to help pull Stevens out of 
Villa C. A neighbor from a nearby compound who knew Stevens 
interceded and transported Stevens to the hospital.
    The Libyan Army officer who helped pull out Stevens' 
remains kept the phone that had been with Stevens and began 
calling the numbers listed in the phone to report that an 
American was located at the hospital. These calls started 
around 2:03 a.m [8:03 p.m. in Washington D.C.].\319\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \319\Officer A Testimony at 36-37.

        I started receiving calls from somebody who claimed to 
        have the Ambassador's--well, he didn't know that it was 
        the Ambassador's phone, but he was calling from the 
        Ambassador's phone, claiming that, you know, he had 
        come in contact with some, what he suspected, Americans 
        and found their phone, and he wanted to return the 
        phone. So, at that point, I was also involved in trying 
        to find out about the Ambassador's fate at this point 
        and how this individual was in possession of his 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        telephone.

        Q: All right. So you said you received a call from 
        somebody who allegedly had the Ambassador----

        A: A Libyan, yes.

        Q: Okay. And how did that person reach out to you? How 
        did they know to reach out to you?

        A: He used the Ambassador's phone and dialed a phone 
        number that was stored on the phone. And that phone on 
        the other end belonged to one of the Diplomatic 
        Security----

                              *    *    *

        So how did that first conversation go with the 
        individual on the other end of the line?

        A: I tried to get as much information from him as 
        possible. Initially, he was coy, and he said several 
        Americans, and I said, okay, well, put them on the 
        phone. And he said, well, they're not around me right 
        now. And that was kind of odd. And I asked him if they 
        were injured or why can't you put them on the phone. 
        And eventually he said that, yeah, they are in the 
        hospital, and they cannot talk right now.\320\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \320\Id.

    The Chief of Station described learning about Stevens' 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
location:

        Q: So at some point in the evening you learned the 
        Ambassador is probably not being held hostage, is 
        probably deceased. Do you remember about when that was 
        and what--how you learned that?

        A: I learned that--so I had two telephones for the two 
        different Libyan cellular services. So I learned that 
        from the Prime Minister's office representative who I 
        was in contact with. He previously said: Oh, we believe 
        the Ambassador is at a hospital, we believe he's 
        unconscious, we believe--you know, can I speak with 
        him? Oh, no. I'll try to get someone to speak with him. 
        That was that line.

        And then I got indications from the Libyan intelligence 
        service, the President's office, and the charge or the 
        DCM at about the same time. We got indications at the 
        same time base was getting someone to go to identify a 
        person because we had a base officer in telephonic 
        communication with someone that had the Ambassador's 
        phone.

        Q: Yeah.

        A: So during that whole time we were--knew the 
        Ambassador's phone was located at that hospital. We had 
        people telling us the Ambassador's at that hospital. We 
        didn't know the status of the Ambassador, so--but all 
        of those things happened within a relatively narrow 
        timeframe.\321\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \321\Chief of Station Testimony at 122.

                Team Tripoli Arrives at Benghazi Airport

    At 1:30 a.m. [7:30 p.m. in Washington D.C.], Glen Doherty 
and the other members of Team Tripoli landed at the Benghazi 
Benina International Airport.\322\ Meanwhile at the Annex, 
there was a lull in the fighting.\323\ One of the Team Tripoli 
members explained to the Committee the steps taken to obtain 
transportation from the Benghazi airport to the Annex:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \322\U.S. Dep't of Defense Timeline.
    \323\Special Operator Testimony at 52-53. See also, Video: DVR 
Footage of the CIA Annex (Sept. 11, 2012, 0158).

        Q: Was anyone present from the Libyan armed forces or 
        local militia that you could liaison with upon arrival 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        in Benghazi?

        A: Not as soon as we landed sir.

        Q: Okay. And you arrived at Benina airport?

        A: We did.

        Q: And what was the nature of activity going on at 
        Benina at 02 in the morning?

        A: It was completely dead. We were the only plane that 
        had landed in quite some time, it looked like, and the 
        guard actually came out in his pajamas and asked us 
        what was going on.

        Q: Okay. So there was no airport personnel. This was 
        not a 24/7 airport?

        A: I don't think so, sir. It didn't appear to be. Only 
        one individual came out to meet us once we had landed, 
        and it was clear that he had been sleeping before 
        that.\324\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \324\Special Operator Testimony at 52-53.

    When Team Tripoli arrived at the airport, ``the Ambassador 
was still missing.''\325\ While trying to secure transport at 
the airport, Team Tripoli was receiving information Stevens was 
located at a hospital in Benghazi. One Team Tripoli member 
said, ``One of the local militia had told us that he--they 
thought he was at the hospital. Reporting had indicated he was 
at the hospital.''\326\ The Chief of Station added details 
about their concern regarding the information they were 
receiving:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \325\Id. at 55.
    \326\Id. at 55-56.

        That whole atmosphere of getting drawn into that 
        correspondence that our officer had with that 
        individual who had the Ambassador's phone had a lot of 
        the hallmarks of some type of entrapment. It wasn't 
        straight up. It didn't--it wasn't: We have the 
        Ambassador here, you want to come and get him. It was 
        much more convoluted than that. So we were very leery 
        of--that was just a very high security posture as we 
        were going through.\327\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \327\Chief of Station Testimony at 125.

    Based on their coordination and planning prior to leaving 
Tripoli, the Team expected to be met at the airport by elements 
of the Libyan Shield militia. When they arrived, however, no 
one was present at the airport.\328\ One of the Team Tripoli 
special operators described what they encountered:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \328\Special Operator Testimony at 52.

        We didn't have a mode of transportation that was ours, 
        so we were depending on those local militias. So it 
        took us that long to find one that was capable of 
        taking us into town. Again, initially we were trying to 
        go to the hospital, which we were all being told, ``No, 
        we can't take you to the hospital. We can take you to 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        the annex.''

        So that fight went on for a little while, with us 
        thinking that he could possibly be at the hospital 
        needing medical care. So we were pushing hard enough to 
        go there that it prolonged our time at the airport. 
        Then once we found out he was deceased, we had 
        obviously gave that up, and they had no problem taking 
        us to the annex.\329\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \329\Id. at 58-59.

    While at the airport, Team Tripoli was alerted that 
Stevens' [redacted text] personal tracking device--was pinging 
``within 25 meters of their current location on the 
airfield.''\330\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \330\Request 1-004067 IntBook 6-044.

        Q: Okay. So I want to direct your attention to the 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        first page of exhibit 1, the last bullet?

        A: Okay.

        Q: It reads: ``Note: TF Green member informed [redacted 
        text] that the AMBOs [redacted text]''--does that mean 
        [personal tracking device]?

        A: Correct.

        Q: ``It was pinging, and its location was within 25 
        meters of their current location on the airfield. 
        Several militia members and vehicles were on the 
        airfield and vehicles at the time.'' So just to be 
        clear, how did you learn about that [personal tracking 
        device] pinging?

        A: My TL told me at the time because when that militia 
        drove up, [redacted text] and I were unpacking gear, 
        and we were situating. And I was checking my gear and 
        that's when our TL came up and advised us what was 
        going on in reference to the ping.

        Q: So the TF Green individual would have informed the 
        TL and he told you?

        A: Could have been.

        Q: What was your assessment at the time of the 
        significance of that attack?

        A: That someone was near the Ambassador, or at least 
        recovered some of his gear or his phone or his 
        [personal tracking device] system. Somehow they had his 
        belongings.

        Q: And they were standing very close to your team?

        A: Correct.

                              *    *    *

        Q: So obviously, you talked about how one of your 
        primary missions was to locate the Ambassador. And then 
        you learned while you were at the airport that the 
        Ambassador's [personal tracking device] is pinging 
        within 25 meters of your current location. Did you or 
        the other team members find that odd?

        A: Yes.

        Q: Can you elaborate on that?

        A: It was unusual that somebody had some of the 
        Ambassador's belongings.

        Q: Okay.

        A: Especially his [personal tracking device]. I don't 
        know if it was his cell phone pinging, how they got the 
        ping, or his personal [tracking device], but it was odd 
        that they had some of his equipment.\331\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \331\Testimony of GRS Tripoli, Cent. Intel. Agency, Tr. at 32-35 
(June 23, 2015) [hereinafter GRS Tripoli Testimony] (on file with the 
Committee).

    For the next three-plus hours after their arrival in 
Benghazi, Team Tripoli attempted to secure transportation from 
the airport to the hospital. Because Team Tripoli did not have 
full awareness of the local militias operating in Benghazi, nor 
relationships with local militias to contact for assistance, 
they relied on a Libya Shield official in Tripoli to vet the 
local militia elements that showed up at the airport offering 
assistance. Much of their time at the airport was spent 
identifying the ``least of several bad options'' as it related 
to choosing a militia for transport.\332\ The Team's Tripoli 
contact recommended seeking transport with another branch of 
the Libya Shield, as the branch prearranged to transport them 
never arrived.\333\ One Team Tripoli member stated:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \332\Special Operator Testimony at 56-57.
    \333\Id. at 57.

        Q: Did you have any sense during the 2 and-a-half hours 
        that you spent at Benina airport that you were being 
        prevented from departing the airport? Could you have 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        left at any time from 02 to 0430?

        A: We didn't have a mode of transportation that was 
        ours, so we were depending on those local militias. So 
        it took us that long to find one that was capable of 
        taking us unto town. Again, initially we were trying to 
        go to the hospital, which we were all being told, ``No, 
        we can't take you to the hospital. We can take you to 
        the Annex.'' So that fight went on for a little while, 
        with us thinking that he [the Ambassador] could 
        possibly be at the hospital needing medical care. So we 
        were pushing hard enough to go there that it prolonged 
        our time at the airport. Then once we found out he was 
        deceased, we had obviously gave that up, and they had 
        no problem taking us to the Annex.\334\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \334\Id. at 62-63.

    The group that escorted Team Tripoli to the Annex was a 
branch of Libya Shield operating that night under [redacted 
text].\335\ According to a member of Team Tripoli, this was 
their ``less bad'' option for transport that night given the 
difficulty of trusting militias in a city where many have 
Islamist leanings and an anti-Western sentiment after the 
involvement of NATO in the Libya Revolution.\336\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \335\Id. at 55.
    \336\Id.

        Q: And how were you going to proceed? What was the 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        nature of your transport from Benina to the Annex?

        A: The Libya Shield commander had several gun trucks 
        that we were using, as well as some Land Cruisers, to 
        get us to the Annex.

        Q: And this again, Libya Shield 2, the less bad element 
        of the militia?

        A: Less bad, yes.\337\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \337\Id.

    Team Tripoli left the airport at approximately 4:30 
a.m.\338\ A team member provided the Committee the following 
background information for their intended mission at the time, 
as it had transitioned from locating and potentially rescuing 
Stevens to an effort to start evacuating nonessential personnel 
from Benghazi back to Tripoli.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \338\Id. at 51.

        Q: [W]hat did you understand about your mission as you 
        were heading from Benina airport to the Annex? Was your 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        mission then evacuation of nonessential personnel?

        A: It was nonessential personnel only prior to the 
        mortar attack happening . . . we were going to take 14 
        personnel back with us to the airport, let the jet take 
        off, take them back to Tripoli. We were going to come 
        back to the Annex and help hold up with the GRS guys 
        until further notice . . . the majority of those people 
        [the GRS would have stayed there. Shooters, if you 
        will.\339\ . . . [W]e did not make the decisions for 
        that [airplane] to come back. We didn't know how long 
        we were going to have to stay at the Annex. We were 
        under the understanding they wanted to stay. They did 
        not want to leave. So we were just trying to get the 
        nonessential personnel out to get further direction 
        from Chief of Station back in Tripoli on what he wanted 
        them to do . . . I believe it was the Chief of Base 
        that wanted to keep some individuals there.\340\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \339\Id. at 69-70.
    \340\Id. at 70.

                   THE WHITE HOUSE CONVENES A MEETING

    While Team Tripoli was urgently seeking transportation from 
the Benghazi airport to either the hospital or the Annex, Denis 
McDonough, the Deputy Assistant to the President for National 
Security Affairs convened a secure video teleconference meeting 
at 7:30 p.m. in Washington with the State Department and the 
Department of Defense.\341\ The State Department attendees 
included: Cheryl D. Mills, Chief of Staff; Jacob J. Sullivan, 
Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Planning; Stephen D. Mull, 
Executive Secretary; Wendy R. Sherman, Under Secretary for 
Political Affairs; and Kennedy and the Secretary.\342\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \341\See Email from Cheryl D. Mills to Beth E. Jones et al. (Sept. 
11, 2012 7:03 PM) (on file with the Committee, SCB0066272) (``SVTC AT 
7:30PM WITH WHITE HOUSE'').
    \342\See id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Defense Department was represented by Jeremy B. Bash, 
Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense, and Tidd.\343\ The 
two representatives who normally would have participated in the 
meeting--the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the 
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy--did not do so that 
night.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \343\See id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In the four hours since the initial attack on the Benghazi 
Mission compound, the Diplomatic Security Agents in Benghazi, 
with help from the team from the Annex, survived the initial 
onslaught, located the remains of their fallen colleague Smith, 
frantically searched for Stevens, escaped under heavy gunfire 
from the Mission compound to the Annex, avoided an ambush along 
the route, and arrived at the Annex only to withstand and repel 
additional attacks there.\344\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \344\Email to Victoria Nuland, et al. (Sept. 11, 2012 5:32 PM) (on 
file with the Committee, SCB0068365-67) (forwarding chain of emails 
regarding updates on the events in Libya).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Team Tripoli, after learning of the attack in Benghazi, 
quickly developed a plan to render assistance, secured private 
aircraft in Tripoli, packed gear, planned a mission, flew from 
Tripoli to Benghazi, and urgently negotiated with unknown 
militias seeking transportation to either the hospital or the 
Annex.
    By stark contrast, in those same four hours, principals in 
Washington had merely managed to identify forces that could 
potentially deploy to Libya and convened a meeting to discuss 
those forces.
    Despite the Secretary of Defense's clear directive and his 
intention that forces would move and move quickly, no forces 
had yet moved. Over 13 hours after the attack began, the first 
force--the farthest away--deployed. It would take nearly 18 
hours for the FAST team to move, and over 20 hours from the 
beginning of the attack before the CIF moved.

                Forces are ``Spinning Up As We Speak.''

    Moments before the White House meeting began, Bash emailed 
several people including Mills and Sullivan, notifying them of 
the assets the Secretary had ordered to respond to the attacks. 
He wrote:

        After Consulting with General Dempsey, General Ham and 
        the Joint Staff, we have identified the forces that 
        could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we 
        speak. They include a SOF element that was in Croatia 
        (which can fly to Suda [sic] Bay, Crete) and a Marine 
        FAST team out of Roda [sic], Spain.

        Assuming Principals agree to deploy these elements, we 
        will ask State to secure the approval from host nation. 
        Please advise how you wish to convey that approval to 
        us. Burns/Nides/Sherman to Miller/Winnefeld would be my 
        recommended course.\345\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \345\Email from Jeremy Bash to Jacob J. Sullivan (Sept. 11, 2012 
7:19 PM) (on file with the Committee, STATE-SCB0060705).

    Even though the Secretary had already issued the order to 
deploy the identified forces and testified he fully expected 
his order was being carried out at the time, the plan was to 
``work through this issue'' during the White House 
meeting.\346\ As the Secretary reinforced: ``I had the 
authority to deploy those forces. And I didn't have to ask 
anyone's permission to get those forces into place.''\347\ The 
Secretary further said his approach was ``we need to move them 
and move them as fast as we can in order to respond. So I 
wanted no interference with those orders to get them 
deployed.''\348\ In fact, the Secretary added that during the 
meeting at the Pentagon, his orders were simultaneously being 
conveyed to those forces.\349\ He noted: ``[T]hese are elite 
units, and the purpose of these units is to move when I give 
the order to move, and that's what I expected.''\350\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \346\Email from Jacob J. Sullivan to Jeremy Bash, et al. (Sept. 11, 
2012 7:21 PM) (on file with the Committee, SCB0075439).
    \347\Panetta Testimony at 32.
    \348\Id. at 33.
    \349\Id. at 34.
    \350\Id. at 37.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Curiously, the two members of the Defense Department Bash 
identified in his ``spinning up'' email as the proper persons 
to ``convey'' ``approval from the host nation''--Winnefeld and 
Miller--were not part of the White House meeting. In fact, 
Winnefeld was not even at the Pentagon. He had left to return 
to his residence to host a dinner party for foreign dignitaries 
and testified he received one update on the events during the 
dinner. After the dinner concluded around 10 p.m., he went to 
the secure communications facility in his home. An hour later, 
the mortar attacks began. Likewise, Miller was not at the 
Pentagon due to an unexpected family emergency. He asked Bash 
to participate in the White House meeting in his stead.\351\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \351\Miller Testimony at 63-64. Miller testified he attempted to 
participate in the meeting from his home, but was unable to connect to 
the call.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                           Purpose of Meeting

    Despite the Secretary's expectation the assets he ordered 
to deploy would move as fast as possible in order to respond, 
the individuals who participated in the White House meeting, 
nevertheless, felt the need to ``work through'' the assets the 
Secretary had already ordered to deploy.\352\ At the time of 
the White House meeting, the final decision about which assets 
to deploy had apparently not been made, according to them, 
despite the Secretary's recollection and testimony to the 
contrary. Tidd testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \352\Email from Jacob J. Sullivan to Jeremy Bash, et al. (Sept. 11, 
2012 7:21 PM) (on file with the Committee, SCB0075439).

        Q: And at the time of the meeting, what was the status 
        of the assets that you all discussed? Were they 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        preparing to deploy?

        A: They were alerted. The final decision had not yet 
        been made definitively, as I recall, but we came out of 
        that meeting basically: send everything.\353\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \353\Tidd Testimony at 23-24; see also, Email from Jacob J. 
Sullivan to Jeremy Bash, et al. (Sept. 11, 2012 7:21 PM) (on file with 
the Committee, SCB0075439) (``We should work through this issue in that 
venue.'').

    Tidd described the purpose of the meeting convened by the 
White House as an opportunity to share information across 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
agencies.

        It was an information exchange to cross-level what does 
        everybody know, is there any new information. The 
        intelligence community was obviously providing 
        information on other things that were going on, other 
        locations that State was providing information on, 
        other embassies where they had concerns. FBI. It was a 
        general kind of a roundtable and round robin of 
        everybody going around and passing out what information 
        they had, what did they know. And then what were the 
        asks. And then an opportunity for us to be able to say 
        -- when we got to the military, we talked about these 
        are the type of forces that we can deploy, and here's 
        what we know, here's what we think, and here's what our 
        recommendations are.\354\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \354\Tidd Testimony at 21-22.

    Mills said essentially the same thing: ``[T]he [White House 
meeting] was called because everyone was seeking both to 
exchange information and figure out how to coordinate resources 
to support our team.''\355\ Kennedy said this about the White 
House meeting:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \355\Mills Testimony at 47.

        The [meeting] was mainly, to the best of my 
        recollection, simply a conforming of information, a 
        sharing of information. Make sure everybody had the 
        same understanding and everyone was doing whatever they 
        could in their lane of responsibility to proceed.\356\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \356\Testimony of Patrick F. Kennedy, Under Sec'y for Mgmt., State 
Dep't, Tr. at 112 (Feb. 3, 2016) [hereinafter Kennedy Testimony] (on 
file with the Committee).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    He elaborated:

        Conforming, conforming means, in effect, reconciling. 
        That I have heard this, you have heard that, what have 
        you heard? Trying to make sure that we all, meaning 
        across the entire U.S. Government, had the clearest 
        coherent understanding of what was going on in the fog 
        of war.\357\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \357\Id. at 155.

    Winnefeld typically would have participated in the meeting 
that night. However, after being notified of the attacks, he 
departed the Pentagon that night to attend a dinner engagement. 
Despite not participating in the discussion, Winnefeld 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
explained why the White House meeting would be called:

        [W]henever something like this happens, whether it's a 
        hostage rescue, or you name it, particularly an 
        emergent event, there's always a [meeting] like this, 
        and there are a lot of really good points brought up by 
        interagency partners about considerations and--in 
        stream. They're very useful events, and we can very 
        quickly resolve questions, like, does anybody have any 
        objections if we sent forces into Tripoli? My 
        supposition here is that that was a very quickly 
        resolved; nobody has objections.\358\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \358\Winnefeld Testimony at 80-81.

    From the Defense Department's perspective, it was an 
opportunity to notify the State Department and the White House 
of the assets it could deploy in response to the attacks as 
ordered by the Secretary and to seek concurrence.\359\ 
Winnefeld explained:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \359\See Email from Jeremy Bash to Jacob J. Sullivan (Sept. 11, 
2012 7:19 PM) (on file with the Committee, STATE-SCB0060705).

        [M]y sense is that the deputies sort of coordinated on 
        what DOD intended to do. So the Secretary has decided 
        he wanted to deploy the CIF and the [U.S. Based SOF] 
        and the FAST platoons. That was exposed to the deputies 
        in the deputies SVTC, and they all concurred with that.
        . . .\360\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \360\Winnefeld Testimony at 84. Winnefeld further explained that 
had there been a disagreement ``the Secretary probably would have said: 
Look, get them moving anyway. And then he would be on the phone with 
the White House.'' Id. at 79-80.

    Of course, Winnefeld did not participate in this particular 
White House meeting. Witnesses who actually were present and 
appeared before the Committee were surprisingly unable to 
recall details regarding the various issues and discussions 
during the White House meeting.
    The Committee was, however, able to uncover several emails 
from participants summarizing the meeting. In striking contrast 
to the Secretary's testimony, one summary of the White House 
Meeting listed the theme of the meeting, not as deploying 
forces in an active tense, but as ``getting forces ready to 
deploy'' in a future tense.\361\ Another summary described the 
deployment of assets in response to Benghazi as ``likely'' and 
``possibly'' that evening.\362\ According to these summaries, 
the conclusion from the meeting was that forces were not going 
to deploy ``until order comes, to go to either Tripoli or 
Benghazi.''\363\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \361\Email from State Dep't Operations Ctr. Watch Officer, to 
P_StaffAssistants & D(N)_StaffAssistants (Sept. 11, 2012 9:46 PM) (on 
file with the Committee, C05562037).
    \362\Email to Harold Hongju Koh, et al. (Sept. 11, 2012 10:40 PM) 
(on file with the Committee, C05528017) (``There is likely to be a 
deployment very quickly, possibly this evening.'').
    \363\Email from State Dep't Operations Ctr. Watch Officer, to 
P_StaffAssistants & D(N)_StaffAssistants (Sept. 11, 2012 9:46 PM) (on 
file with the Committee, C05562037).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    But the Secretary was unequivocal the order had already 
come: President Obama, as the Commander in Chief, said do 
everything you can to help our people in Libya.\364\ As the 
Secretary of Defense, he ordered assets to deploy--active tense 
with no further explanation, amplification, or instruction 
needed.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \364\Panetta Testimony at 23.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The two-hour ``meeting''--in which neither the Commander in 
Chief nor the Secretary of Defense participated--was in fact 
much more detailed and involved than witnesses suggested and 
presents a new perspective on what was happening and being 
discussed in Washington D.C. even while an Ambassador was 
missing and a second U.S. facility was under attack half a 
world away.

            Discussions During the 7:30 White House Meeting

                          DIPLOMATIC CLEARANCE

    The issue of securing host nation approval, the last aspect 
of Bash's email, was discussed during the 7:30 White House 
meeting. According to a write-up of notes taken by Mull, the 
State Department emphasized any deployment of U.S. Forces into 
Libya needed approval from the Government of Libya.

        Overall theme: getting forces ready to deploy in case 
        the crisis expands and a real threat materializes 
        against Embassy Tripoli. DOD will send the details to 
        U/S/Kennedy (i.e. plane numbers, troop numbers, 
        airfield support needs, etc.) for us to make request to 
        government of Libya (GOL).

                              *    *    *

        Congressional angle: If any deployment is made, 
        Congress will need to be notified under the War Powers 
        Act . . . Libya must agree to any deployment.\365\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \365\Email from State Dep't Operations Ctr. Watch Officer, to 
P_StaffAssistants & D(N)_StaffAssistants (Sept. 11, 2012 9:46 PM) (on 
file with the Committee, C05562037).

    On the ground in Tripoli, the Defense Attache had already 
begun working to obtain flight clearances from the Libyan 
government before the White House meeting even began.\366\ 
Initially, he notified the Libyan government of a potential 
request for flight clearances as the night progressed.\367\ 
Because he had given advance notice to the Libyan government 
that potential flight clearances would be needed, he fully 
expected the Libyan government to approve any formal request 
when it was made. He noted, however, that to submit a formal 
request, specific information about the tail numbers, expected 
arrival of the aircraft, the number of personnel, and types of 
weapons had to be conveyed to the Libyan government.\368\ Not 
only did a formal request have to be made, a representative of 
the Libyan government had to be available to receive the 
paperwork for that request. There was no Libyan representative 
on duty overnight.\369\ As to when formal approval was 
received, the Defense Attache testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \366\Testimony of Defense Attache, U.S. Embassy Tripoli, U.S. Dep't 
of Defense, Tr. at 113-114 (Jan. 31, 2014) [hereinafter Defense Attache 
2014 Testimony] (on file with the Committee).
    \367\Id.
    \368\Id.
    \369\Id. at 114.

        Q: Can you recall when the actual--the relevant 
        information that was needed, like tail numbers and 
        things, when was that transmitted to the Government of 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Libya?

        A: I don't. But I would also come back to the fact that 
        we had a green light from the Government of Libya to 
        bring it in. It was just a question of when we were 
        going to know the specific information that goes into a 
        standard flight clearance request. So it had to have 
        been, I would say, sometime midmorning to noon on the 
        12th. It could have been, I would say, sometime 
        midmorning to noon on the 12th. It could have been a 
        little bit after that.

        Q: And that's when you received the relevant 
        information you need to pass on, or what happened?

        A: Probably both. In the course of the morning, leading 
        up to the afternoon, we got the information we 
        required, and then we were able to subsequently 
        transmit it to the Libyans.\370\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \370\Defense Attache Testimony at 159-160.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                            CIVILIAN CLOTHES

    A request for the FAST Platoon to wear civilian attire 
appears to have generated from Kennedy during the White House 
meeting.\371\ Kennedy, during his interview with the Committee, 
was unable to recall when the discussion regarding civilian 
attire was held that evening, but provided the following 
information about the substance of the discussion:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \371\See Email from Benjamin I. Fishman, Nat'l Sec. Council (Sept. 
11, 2012 9:19 PM) (on file with the Committee, SCB000029-30).

        [Y]ou wanted to make sure that the steps we were taking 
        would enhance the security of our personnel, not 
        potentially diminish the security of our personnel. Our 
        personnel had been consolidated in Tripoli in one 
        location, and all of them were there with the 
        multiplied security forces of both the prime building 
        and the Annex building. And I recall this discussion, 
        generally speaking, and it was determined that the 
        delay was not going to be significant and it was better 
        to have the forces arrive in civilian clothes[.]\372\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \372\Kennedy Testimony at 173.

    Tidd elaborated on the State Department's request for the 
FAST platoon to arrive in Libya in civilian clothing. He 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
testified:

        Again, like I said, they wanted to minimize the 
        signature that looked like a big military invasion, a 
        big military arrival there. And the reason that I 
        remember the discussion was I had to go back and find 
        and make sure, as the FAST had moved out and was 
        waiting for lift, and the question that I had to go 
        back and ask AFRICOM was: in their rucksacks did they 
        have civilian clothes that they could put on, or was 
        this going to entail having to go back to their 
        barracks and draw that equipment. They had what they 
        needed, and so they didn't have to go anyplace.

        At the [White House] meeting, I couldn't speak for 
        them. And I wanted to go back and verify that. Because 
        what I wanted to know is: is it more important to get 
        them there or to have the signature in civilian 
        clothes? As it turned out, it didn't matter, because 
        they had the civilian clothes with them already.\373\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \373\Tidd Testimony at 28.

    Tidd did not agree that requiring the FAST platoon to wear 
civilian clothes was a step that would enhance security.\374\ 
The Defense Department assessed the impact of the requirement 
as quite the opposite: it created an increased risk to the FAST 
platoon members as they traveled through Tripoli.\375\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \374\See State Dep't Email (Sept. 11, 2012 10:40 PM) (on file with 
the Committee, C05528017) (``[T]here was discussion of the option of 
entering in plainclothes. . . .'').
    \375\See id. (``[The Joint Chiefs of Staff] explained . . . that 
the risks to the forces [] remaining in plainclothes increased as they 
transited from point of entry to the relevant location of action'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Summaries of the White House meeting did not, in fact, 
highlight the potential security-enhancing benefit of the FAST 
platoon wearing civilian clothes. Instead, the benefit of 
having the FAST platoon wear civilian clothing was to cater to 
unexpressed Libyan government concerns about military 
appearances and to avoid ``any impression of a U.S. invasion of 
Libya.''\376\ As Benjamin J. Rhodes, Deputy National Security 
Advisor for Strategic Communications, stated in an email to his 
colleague at the end of the meeting: ``[T]he time for being 
overly sensitive to Libyan concerns about military appearances 
seems to be over.''\377\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \376\Email from State Dep't Operations Ctr. Watch Officer, to 
P_StaffAssistants & D(N)_StaffAssistants (Sept. 11, 2012 9:46 PM) (on 
file with the Committee, C05562037) (``We made a request that any 
deployments should be in plain clothes to avoid any impression of a 
U.S. invasion of Libya.''); see also State Dep't Email (Sept. 11, 2012 
10:40 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05528017) (``Apparently Pat K 
expressed concern on the SVTC about Libyan reaction if uniformed US 
forces arrived in country in military aircraft''); Email from Benjamin 
I. Fishman (Sept. 11, 2012 9:19 PM) (on file with the Committee, 
SCB000029-30) (``I don't know why Pat Kennedy is so concerned about 
what extra securit y [sic] folks are wearing. Does that come from Greg 
[Hicks]? The time for being overly sensitive to Libyan concerns about 
military appearances seems to be over.'').
    \377\Email from Benjamin I. Fishman (Sept. 11, 2012 9:19 PM) (on 
file with the Committee, SCB000029).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                       The Plan from the Meeting

    Although the Secretary told the Committee he fully expected 
his order to deploy was the only step needed to move forces in 
response to the attacks, records obtained by the Committee 
reflect a different understanding by others on the night of the 
attacks.
    One email seems to indicate others may not have viewed the 
order as being as clear and immediate as the Secretary 
recalled. It read in relevant part:

        Per Amb. Mull, ROUGH notes from the 1930 [7:30 p.m.] 
        EDT SVTC meeting:

        Overall theme: getting forces ready to deploy in case 
        the crisis expands and a real threat materializes 
        against Embassy Tripoli. DOD will send the details to 
        U/S Kennedy (i.e. plane numbers, troop numbers, 
        airfield support needs, etc.) for us to make requests 
        to government of Libya (GOL).\378\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \378\Email from State Dep't Operations Ctr. Watch Officer, to 
P_StaffAssistants & D(N)_StaffAssistants (Sept. 11, 2012 9:46 PM) (on 
file with the Committee, C05562037).

        There were 10 Action items from the White House 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        meeting:

    The first two action items in that email were redacted and 
not provided to the Committee. The next three items read as 
follows:

        3) LFleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST): about 
        [redacted text] Marines, they need six hours to 
        prepare. They're currently at the Rota Air Base in 
        Spain and will wait to deploy. Will not deploy until 
        order comes to go to either Tripoli or Benghazi. We 
        made a request that any deployments should be in plain 
        clothes to avoid any impression of a U.S. invasion of 
        Libya.

        4) LCongressional angle: If any deployment is made, 
        Congress would need to be notified under the War Powers 
        Act. Counselor Mills is working with L and H on this 
        and it may come through Ops. Libya must agree to any 
        deployment.

        5) LEfforts are continuing to locate Ambassador 
        Stevens. 
        A/S Beth Jones will work to reach out to the hospital 
        to confirm the identity of the patient. . . .\379\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \379\Id.

    Phrases such as ``getting forces ready to deploy'' and 
forces ``will not deploy until order comes to go to either 
Tripoli or Benghazi'' do not reflect an imminent deployment of 
the assets as ordered by the Secretary and as he testified 
before the Committee.
    The declarative ``Libya must agree to any deployment'' is 
also inconsistent with what the Secretary testified to and 
similarly inconsistent with what the Secretary recalled 
President Obama telling him. At no point, according the 
Secretary of Defense, did a U.S. response to the attacks in 
Benghazi hinge on Libya agreeing with the actions ordered.\380\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \380\Panetta Testimony at 67.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mull's summary of the White House meeting is, however, more 
consistent with Tidd's recollection of the meeting.\381\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \381\Email from State Dep't Operations Ctr. Watch Officer, to 
P_StaffAssistants & D(N)_StaffAssistants (Sept. 11, 2012 9:46 PM) (on 
file with the Committee, C05562037).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Another email regarding the meeting with the White House 
reads in relevant part:

        All, I just got off a conference call with [State 
        Department employee] who reported on a [White House 
        meeting] this evening concerning the violence against 
        USG facilities and personnel in Libya and Egypt, of 
        which you likely have gotten separate notice. 
        S[ecretary Clinton], Pat K[ennedy], and Beth Jones 
        (possibly among others) attended for State. In short, 
        there was a significant attack in Benghazi on the US 
        consulate where the US Ambassador and 7 other USG 
        employees were present[.]

        There is likely to be a deployment very quickly, 
        possibly this evening, of forces to assist in Libya. 
        Beth Jones is tasked with seeking consent of the GOL 
        asap for entry into the country. Options under 
        consideration for the deployment include: (1) a FAST 
        team; (2) a [U.S.-Based SOF] . . . ; and (3) a 
        Commander's Force. . . . DOD indicated they would 
        circulate additional information on the options/
        decisions in the morning and we will need to be 
        prepared to do a quick War Powers assessment and 
        probably report by COB tomorrow.

                              *    *    *

        Apparently Pat K[ennedy] expressed concern on the 
        [White House meeting] about Libyan reaction if 
        uniformed US forces arrived in country in military 
        aircraft; there was discussion of the option of 
        entering in plainclothes, which JCS explained was 
        possible but noted that the risks to the forces to 
        remaining in plainclothes increased as they transited 
        from point of entry to the relevant location of 
        action.\382\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \382\State Dep't Email (Sept. 11, 2012 10:40 PM) (on file with the 
Committee, C05528017).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Another email framed the issue as follows:

        4The U.S. military has begun notifying special units of 
        likely deployment, with ultimate disposition pending 
        State coordination with the Libyan government and final 
        approval by the White House.

        State remains concerned that any U.S. military 
        intervention be fully coordinated with the Libyan 
        Government and convey Libyan concerns that [sic] about 
        U.S. military presence, to include concerns that 
        wheeled military vehicles should not be used and U.S. 
        Military Forces should consider deploying in civilian 
        attire.\383\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \383\Testimony of Jeremy Bash, Chief of Staff, U.S. Dep't of 
Defense, Tr. at 98-99 (Jan. 13, 2016) [hereinafter Bash Testimony] (on 
file with the Committee).

    The plan described in this email was later conveyed to the 
Combatant Commands. While Bash's ``spinning up'' email 
indicated these forces were prepared to go to Benghazi vice 
Tripoli, it was clear by the end of the White House meeting 
that no forces were going to Benghazi.\384\ It is worth noting 
that while this meeting was ongoing and even after it ended, 
Diplomatic Security Agents, the team from the Annex, and Team 
Tripoli were under attack at the Annex and Stevens was still 
missing.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \384\Email from Jeremy Bash, Chief of Staff, U.S. Dep't of Defense, 
to Jacob Sullivan, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, U.S. Dep't of 
State (Sept. 11, 2012 1919) (on file with the Committee: STATE-
SCB0060705).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    These emails confirm the understanding among the 
individuals participating in the White House meeting that 
deployment to Benghazi was not imminent. As the Defense 
Department timeline shows, none of the orders given to the 
assets that night contained an order to deploy to 
Benghazi.\385\ The FAST platoons were ordered to prepare to 
deploy, not to deploy.\386\ The CIF and the U.S. based SOF were 
ordered to deploy only to an intermediate staging base, not to 
Benghazi or Tripoli.\387\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \385\See generally, U.S. Dep't of Defense Timeline.
    \386\Id.
    \387\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In fact, once the decision to activate the U.S. based SOF 
was made, the CIF was no longer an option to deploy to Libya as 
its mission then became to prepare for the arrival of the U.S. 
based Special Operations Force at the intermediate staging 
base.
    Once the forces were ready to deploy, a subsequent execute 
order would then have to be given by the Secretary of Defense. 
This is inconsistent with the Secretary's belief that no 
further order was necessary from either the President or 
himself.
    Admiral Tidd had this to say about deploying a FAST Team to 
Benghazi:

        We were looking at two FAST teams, but it very, very 
        soon became evident that everybody was leaving 
        Benghazi. And so I don't remember if it was just before 
        the [White House meeting] or during the [meeting] or 
        just right after. By the time we came out of the 
        [meeting], it was pretty clear that nobody was going to 
        be left in Benghazi. And so the decision--I think, at 
        the [meeting], there was some discussion--but as I 
        recall, we weren't going to send them to Benghazi, 
        because everybody was going to be back in Tripoli by 
        the time we could actually get them there.

                              *    *    *

        And I think even at this point we knew that everybody 
        had moved--they had moved from the temporary diplomatic 
        facility, they moved to the Annex, and they were moving 
        or going to be moving, if they had not already begun 
        moving, from the Annex to the airport, and would be 
        leaving at the airport as quickly as they could.

        So it was pretty clear we weren't going to be able to 
        get anything into Benghazi before the last people left. 
        So, I don't think we ever went beyond the notion of 
        moving the FAST into--the FAST platoon into 
        Tripoli.\388\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \388\Tidd Testimony at 25-27.

    While it may have been ``pretty clear'' to Tidd that 
``nobody was going to be left in Benghazi,'' it was not at all 
clear to those in Benghazi who were manning a rooftop 
exchanging gunfire with attackers.\389\ Furthermore, the 
Diplomatic Security Agents and team from the Annex had to fight 
their way even from the Benghazi Mission compound to the Annex 
a short distance away while Team Tripoli had to negotiate with 
unknown militias for transportation from the Benghazi airport 
to the Annex. So, how the principals in Washington were certain 
U.S. personnel in Benghazi were going to be leaving Benghazi 
and how they were going to be leaving is itself unclear.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \389\Id. at 25-27.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    There is uncertainty attached to other statements made 
during the White House meeting too:

        ``State remains concerned that any U.S. military 
        intervention be fully coordinated with the Libyan 
        Government and convey Libyan concerns that [sic] about 
        U.S. military presence, to include concerns that 
        wheeled military vehicles should not be used and U.S. 
        Military Forces should consider deploying in civilian 
        attire.''

        ``DOD indicated they would circulate additional 
        information on the options/decisions in the morning and 
        we will need to be prepared to do a quick War Powers 
        assessment and probably report by COB tomorrow.''

        ``Libya must agree to any deployment.''

        ``Overall theme: getting forces ready to deploy in case 
        the crisis expands and a real threat materializes 
        against Embassy Tripoli.''

    This sentence is illuminating on a number of levels, 
including: ``getting forces ready to deploy in case the crisis 
expands'' begs the question of expanding how and where? At the 
time of the White House meeting, Sean Smith was dead, 
Ambassador Stevens was missing, and the remaining State 
Department personnel had to be rescued by the Team from the 
Annex while sustaining gunfire en route back to the Annex. 
Moreover the second clause in that sentence references a ``real 
threat'' materializing against ``Embassy Tripoli.'' The real 
threat at the time was and remained in Benghazi.
    Among the questions left even in the aftermath of 
investigating what happened before, during and after the 
attacks in Benghazi is how so many decision makers in 
Washington and elsewhere were unaware of the Annex in Benghazi 
and how the Washington decision-makers expected U.S. personnel 
remaining in Benghazi to evacuate or defend themselves for a 
prolonged period of time without assistance.

           The Orders: Prepare to Deploy and Deploy to an ISB

    At 8:39 p.m., more than five hours after the attacks in 
Benghazi began and more than two hours after the Secretary gave 
his order to deploy, the Pentagon finally transmitted orders to 
the combatant commands regarding the FAST platoons, the CIF, 
and the U.S. Based Special Operations Force.\390\ Specifically, 
the FAST platoons were ordered to ``prepare to deploy.''\391\ 
The CIF and the U.S. Based Special Operations Force were 
ordered to deploy to an intermediate staging base.\392\ No 
asset was ordered to deploy to Benghazi.\393\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \390\Email from Tidd (Sept. 11, 2012 8:53PM) (on file with the 
Committee, SCB001376). See also, Letter from Ashton B. Carter, Sec'y of 
Defense, to Trey Gowdy, Chairman, House Select Committee on Benghazi, 
Apr. 8, 2015, providing an explanation regarding the unclassified 
timeline:

      Has the U.S Department of Defense identified any 
      information that would warrant any adjustments, correction 
      or modification to the unclassified timeline it provide to 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Congress on November 9, 2012?

      One Point of clarification: the unclassified timeline has 
      the SecDef Vocal Order (VOCO) for moving response forces at 
      0000-0200. This authorization was relayed and recorded at 
      0239 for FAST and CIF and at 0253 for [the U.S. SOF]. This 
      is not to imply that timing of the VOCO as reflected in the 
      unclassified timeline is inaccurate, but rather that 
      receipt of this vocal order at [sic] was at 0239 and 0253, 
      respectively.'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \391\Id.
    \392\Id.
    \393\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tidd provided authorization for each of those forces to 
move in an email transmitting the orders at 8:53 p.m. [2:53 
a.m. in Benghazi]. The email reads in relevant part:

        discussions at Deputies, and followed up between [the 
        Office of the Secretary of Defense] and the Chairman--
        --

        [The Secretary of Defense] has directed deployment of 
        the CIF to the [intermediate staging base] determined 
        most suitable by AFRICOM . . .

        [The Secretary of Defense] has directed deployment of 
        the [U.S. Based Special Operations Force] to the same 
        [intermediate staging base] as the CIF.

        [The Secretary of Defense] has directed FAST to make 
        all preps to deploy but hold departure until we are 
        sure we have clearance to land in Tripoli. We'll work 
        with State to nail that down, but intent is to get 
        security force augmentation into [Tripoli/Tripoli] (not 
        Benghazi, at least not initially) ASAP. Embassy making 
        efforts to move all [American citizens] from [Annex] 
        Compound Benghazi to Tripoli, possibly using same 
        [commercial] Air that 5-pax team arrived on.

                              *    *    *

        Remember [the Secretary of Defense] holds final 
        approval to deploy FAST, pending receipt of Tripoli 
        country clearance. But the point is to get the Marines 
        on the ground securing the embassy in Tripoli as 
        rapidly as we can move them.\394\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \394\Id.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tidd testified about his email:

        I'm looking at the timelines here, and I'm--I am 
        thinking that--that [Deputy Director for Operations] 
        had a conference call with the various watch centers of 
        the commands that are listed here as a result of the 
        decisions that came out of the [White House] meeting.

        And so the things that you see upfront--the [Secretary 
        of Defense] [vocal order], the things to move, and then 
        also forwarded request for information from AFRICOM and 
        EUCOM for the following--I am guessing at this point 
        now, but I think this might have been in response to--I 
        gave him a verbal dump from the Deputies Committee 
        meeting. He had this conference call. This is a report 
        back with the information from the conference call. And 
        then I turned around and replied on top of that with 
        subsequent information that had been provided from 
        phone calls that I had had at the same time.\395\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \395\Tidd Testimony at 33.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Winnefeld also provided his understanding of Tidd's email:

        All this is doing is reporting out what the Secretary 
        has directed to do. And [Tidd] would not put this out 
        unless the deputies had concurred with it. If the 
        deputies had not concurred with the SecDef deciding to 
        do these things, that would have been a big issue, but 
        it wasn't. The deputies obviously concurred, so [Tidd] 
        put it out: Hey, this is now official; Secretary says 
        do this.\396\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \396\Winnefeld Testimony at 85. Winnefeld further explained that 
had there been a disagreement ``the Secretary probably would have said: 
Look, get them moving anyway. And then he would be on the phone with 
the White house.'' Id. at 87.

    It is unclear why concurrence from anyone attending the 
White House meeting was needed. The National Command Authority, 
the lawful source of military orders, consists of two people: 
the President and the Secretary of Defense.\397\ Neither of 
them attended that meeting. Both the President and Secretary 
Panetta had already issued their orders. As the Secretary made 
clear:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \397\See Panetta Testimony at 32. Panetta elaborated, ``My 
directions were clear; those forces were to be deployed, period. . . . 
So I wanted no interference with those orders to get them deployed.'' 
Id. at 33.

        I had the authority to deploy those forces. And I 
        ordered those forces to be deployed. And I didn't have 
        to ask anybody's permission to get those forces in 
        place.\398\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \398\Id.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                           PREPARE TO DEPLOY

    The orders issued to the forces that night were different 
from the orders the Secretary gave earlier that evening. The 
Secretary had this to say about the orders he issued that 
night:

        Q: I just want to make sure this portion of the record 
        is fair to you and that your testimony has the clarity 
        that I think it has, but I'm going to give you an 
        opportunity if I'm wrong.

        You did not issue an order to prepare to deploy. You 
        issued an order to deploy.

        A: That's correct.

        Q: So no one would have been waiting on you to issue a 
        subsequent order?

        A: That's correct.\399\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \399\Id. at 49.

    Leidig described the difference between a ``prepare to 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
deploy'' order and an ``execute'' order:

        They are two very distinct orders in the military. The 
        first is prepare to deploy. And that's basically 
        guidance from my boss, in this case, the Secretary of 
        Defense and the Chairman, that you have permission to 
        make every preparation necessary to execute this 
        mission. But you do not have permission to actually to 
        deploy them yet--you don't have permission to execute 
        the mission.\400\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \400\Leidig 2014 Testimony at 64-65.

    In contrast, Miller testified his understanding was an 
order to deploy has no operational distinction from an order to 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
prepare to deploy:

        The initial order was to deploy to forward basing in 
        order to be able to then refuel if necessary, prepare 
        to any additional degree necessary, which can largely 
        be done in flight for these forces, to the extent that 
        they weren't already as they got on the plane, and then 
        to deploy into Libya.

        [T]he order could have come in one of two ways, and 
        it's a technical difference that in this instance and 
        in any other instance has no operational impact, one 
        form of the order says deploy to the intermediate 
        staging base and prepare to deploy into Libya, and that 
        additional authorization will be given prior to 
        deployment into Libya; a second says deploy to the 
        intermediate staging base and proceed to Libya unless 
        given direction not to do so.

        I don't know which of those--I don't recall which of 
        those was in the order, but in any event, it's well 
        understood that no time should elapse awaiting. In 
        other words, if the form was to go to the ISB, go to 
        the intermediate staging base and then get additional 
        authority, it's incumbent on the commander to request 
        that authority well in advance of when the force would 
        be prepared to then deploy into Libya, and it's 
        incumbent on the Secretary of Defense and the team 
        supporting him to ensure that he makes a timely 
        decision so that there's not additional time added to 
        the timeline.\401\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \401\Miller Testimony at 80-81.

    Bash considered the orders that night a distinction without 
a difference because the intent of the Secretary was clear: the 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
forces were to move.

        This was a real-time, very fluid, very dynamic set of 
        meetings in which the Secretary, with his senior 
        military, uniformed military advisers, the Chairman, 
        the Vice, and the combatant commanders and others, were 
        making real-time decisions

        So I just want to set that context, because I'm sure 
        some people could look at this and say: Why were these 
        words used or that discussion or this phrase used, 
        ``prepare to deploy'' or ``deploy''? My recollection 
        was he was told of the situation, he was told about 
        which units could respond, and he said: Go get them, do 
        it, move.

        Q: So there would've been no further order necessary 
        from him?

        A: Correct.

        Q: Wheels could have taken off and he would not have 
        had to say another single, solitary word?

        A: Correct, and I believe that actually was the case.

        Q: All right. So he never amplified, clarified, 
        withdrew, changed his instructions, which were deploy?

        A: He did not.\402\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \402\Bash Testimony at 26-27.

    Leidig, whom Ham described as his ``most trusted advisor'' 
and an ``extraordinarily competent officer,'' testified because 
he was moving forces between two combatant commands' areas of 
responsibility he needed to receive a subsequent ``execute'' 
order to move the FAST Platoon into Libya.\403\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \403\See Ham Testimony at 51-52.

        Q: At what point did you receive an order to execute? 
        At what point did you have the authority to launch 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        assets into Libya?

        A: We were never given an execute order to move any 
        forces until we got to move in the C-17 to evacuate 
        folks out of Tripoli later that next morning. There was 
        never an execute order to move any forces from 
        Sigonella into Africa or from Rota into Africa until 
        later. So, I mean, we did get an order eventually to 
        move the FAST team into Tripoli to provide security, 
        but during that evening hour, that incident, there were 
        no execute orders to move forces into our AOR.

                              *    *    *

        Q: You said that you were never given an execute order 
        until later. Who provides that execute order?

        A: Execute order comes from the Secretary of Defense. 
        So we were not given an--there was an order given to 
        move forces to Sigonella. There was never an execute 
        order given to move those forces into Libya.

        Q: And when you received the execute order later on to 
        deploy the forces into Libya, the FAST platoon into 
        Tripoli, and then the C-17 to evacuate the medically 
        injured, do you recall how that order was conveyed?

        A: Do you mean, was it verbal, or was it in--usually in 
        every case--I don't know specifically for those, but 
        normally it's a VOCO, a vocal command, followed up by a 
        written command. And so, in that case, it was probably 
        both. It was probably a vocal command to get things 
        moving, followed by a written command----

        Q: And do you----

        A: --but I don't know for sure.

        Q: And do you recall the timeframe for when you 
        received the vocal command to execute the movement of 
        the FAST platoon into Tripoli and the----

        A: No, I don't recall. It's on the timeline.

        Q: Do you recall if it was before or after the mortar 
        attacks occurred?

        A: Oh, it was after.

        Q: Okay. Thank you.

                              *    *    *

        Q: And just to be clear for the record, prior to 
        receiving the vocal execute order, would you have----

        A: Which vocal execute order?

        Q: For either of the assets that were deployed into 
        Libya, the FAST platoon or the C-17, did you have the 
        authority to move those assets into Libya prior to 
        receiving that VOCO?

        A: No. I wouldn't move those without a--without an 
        order from the Secretary or the Chairman. They're 
        moving across COCOM boundaries.

        Q: Okay. Thank you.\404\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \404\Testimony of Vice Admiral Charles J. Leidig, Deputy Commander 
for Military Operations, US Africa Command, Tr. at 45-48 (Apr. 22, 
2016) [hereinafter Leidig 2016 Testimony] (on file with the Committee). 
But see, Leidig 2016 Testimony at 48 (Q: There was some discussion 
about the term ``prepare to deploy'' and an ``execute order,'' and I 
just wanted to ask you a couple questions about that. Would a lack of 
an execute order, or did a lack of an execute order on the night of the 
attacks ever slow down your forces? A: No.).

    Ham's recollection of the extent of the authority he had to 
move forces that night differed from Leidig and differed from 
the email Tidd sent to the combatant commands relaying the 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Secretary's order.

        Q: Can you explain what he means by the [Secretary of 
        Defense] holding final approval to deploy FAST?

        A: I think it means what it says. That is different 
        than my recollection. Again, my belief is the Secretary 
        had given authority to me to do that. So I think this 
        is the J3 issuing instructions, but my recollection is 
        different than what Vice Admiral Tidd has written here.

                              *    *    *

        Yeah. Right. The last sentence there I think is the 
        important one.

                              *    *    *

        A: ``But the point is to get the Marines on the ground 
        securing the embassy in Tripoli as rapidly as we can 
        move them.''

        Q: Well, I think one thing that we would like to try to 
        kind of marry up is, even on the timeline, the orders 
        that were given to some of the--specifically the FAST 
        platoon was a prepare-to-deploy order. And there has 
        been testimony that a prepare-to-deploy order is 
        different from a deploy order. Perhaps you can provide 
        us what the distinction is and how that played out on 
        this night.

        A: I can try to explain the distinction between the 
        two. A prepare-to-deploy order simply is notifying a 
        force that you must be prepared to deploy within a 
        specified timeframe, so that you have to adjust your 
        activities, whatever they may be, your personnel 
        posture, your readiness, your training, the prestaging 
        of equipment, depending on what the timeline is, so 
        that you are prepared to deploy on the designated 
        timeline. This is not an uncommon occurrence.

                              *    *    *

        And a deploy order simply says, ``Go now,'' or whatever 
        the specified timeframe is. So it's prepare to deploy, 
        ``I think I may need you, so I want you to be ready.'' 
        A deploy order says, ``I do need you. Deploy.''

                              *    *    *

        So the three units that were of highest importance to 
        me--the Commander's In-extremis Force, the Fleet 
        Antiterrorism Security Team, and the [U.S.-Based SOF]--
        all already had prepared to--my understanding is all 
        had prepared to deploy. They were already on various 
        timelines to deploy. So that's what I believe their 
        status was.

        And my belief is that--and my recollection differs a 
        bit from what Vice Admiral Tidd says--that when the 
        Secretary made his decisions, my understanding of that 
        was that the Secretary of Defense was transferring 
        operational control to me for those forces for their 
        deployment and employment.

        Q: So if the Secretary of Defense's order was, in fact, 
        ``prepare to deploy'' and not ``deploy,'' was there an 
        additional step needed to be--did the Secretary of 
        Defense have to do anything additional to deploy those 
        forces?

        A: I don't know because I'm not familiar with the 
        specifics. Typically, in a prepare-to-deploy order, 
        there is a designated official who can order that unit 
        to deploy. It doesn't always have to go back to the 
        Secretary of Defense. It could be a combatant 
        commander, it could be the Chairman of the Joint 
        Chiefs, it could be a joint task force commander. But, 
        in this particular case, I'm just not familiar with the 
        specifics of the order.\405\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \405\Ham Testimony at 133-136.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                            DEPLOY TO AN ISB

    The CIF, the force most capable of quickly responding to 
the attacks in Benghazi, was ordered instead to go to an 
intermediate staging base. Ham discussed this decision:

        Q: Sir, given the fact that the CIF was on the 
        continent, per se, did you ever consider employing the 
        CIF for the hostage-rescue mission or the NEO by 
        sending them directly to either Benghazi or to Tripoli?

        A: I don't recall specifically, but I feel confident in 
        saying that, as we weighed the options, the various 
        courses of action of how the Commander's In-extremis 
        Force might be employed, that there was some 
        consideration to, you know, do they go somewhere other 
        than the intermediate staging base. Should they go to 
        Benghazi? Should they go to Tripoli?

        My recollection is that the situation was certainly 
        evolving. And, as previously discussed, my view was the 
        situation, after an initial spike, the fighting had 
        largely subsided, that Benghazi was probably not the 
        right place for them to go. Get them to the staging 
        base, where we now have many, many options.

        One of the challenges, of course, is with a force like 
        the Commander's In-extremis Force, once you 
        operationally employ it someplace--so if you were to 
        deploy into any place and they're on the ground, you 
        now no longer have that force for other emergent 
        contingencies. So we're very careful about making a 
        decision as to where to go.

        There are other complexities with inserting a force 
        into Benghazi, to be sure, but, for me, it was, where's 
        the best place for that force to be right now? And, in 
        my view, I believe that--you know, certainly supported 
        and with recommendations from the AFRICOM operations 
        and intelligence staff--that the best place for them 
        would be at the intermediate staging base so that they 
        would be well-postured for subsequent missions.\406\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \406\Id. at 93-94.

    Tidd testified one reason the CIF and the U.S. SOF were 
ordered to an intermediate staging base and not to Libya 
directly was due to concerns expressed by the State Department 
regarding the number of military personnel that would arrive in 
country.\407\ He testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \407\Tidd Testimony at 24.

        Q: Sir, was it your decision, then, to send them back 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        to an ISB first?

        A: Yes . . . State was very, very concerned about what 
        the footprint would look like in Tripoli. They didn't 
        want it to look like we were invading.

        That was the gist or that was the genesis of the 
        discussion that occurred over whether or not when the 
        FAST arrives at the airport in Tripoli--because they 
        wanted to reinforce security at the embassy--but there 
        was concern that it not have this image of a big, 
        invading force.

        And we knew that the FAST, when it arrived, did not 
        have its own mobility. The embassy was going to have to 
        provide trucks and vehicles to move them from the 
        airport to the embassy. And there was just concern of 
        parading a bunch of trucks or buses full of Marines in 
        uniform, what kind of image that would present, 
        recognizing it was going to be daylight when they 
        arrived.\408\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \408\Id. at 22-23.

                 TEAM TRIPOLI NEGOTIATES TRANSPORTATION

    Team Tripoli left the airport at approximately 4:30 a.m. A 
team member provided the committee the following background 
information for their intended mission at the time, as it had 
transitioned from locating and potentially rescuing Stevens to 
an effort to start evacuating nonessential personnel from 
Benghazi back to Tripoli.

        Q: What did you understand about your mission as you 
        were heading from Benina airport to the Annex? Was your 
        mission then evacuation of nonessential personnel?

        A: It was nonessential personnel only prior to the 
        mortar attack happening . . . we were going to take 14 
        personnel back with us to the airport, let the jet take 
        off, take them back to Tripoli. We were going to come 
        back to the Annex and help hold up with the GRS guys 
        until further notice . . . the majority of those people 
        [the GRS] would have stayed there. Shooters, if you 
        will. . . . We did not make the decisions for that 
        [airplane] to come back. We didn't know how long we 
        were going to have to stay at the Annex. We were under 
        the understanding they wanted to stay. They did not 
        want to leave. So we were just trying to get the 
        nonessential personnel out to get further direction 
        from Chief of Station back in Tripoli on what he wanted 
        them to do . . . I believe it was the Chief of Base 
        that wanted to keep some individuals there.\409\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \409\Special Operators Testimony at 65.

                       FINAL STAGES OF THE ATTACK

                       Team Tripoli at the Annex

    After Team Tripoli secured transportation, it arrived at 
the Annex just after 5:05 a.m. Former U.S. Navy SEAL Glen A. 
Doherty, one of the members of Team Tripoli, immediately joined 
Tyrone S. Woods, Diplomatic Security Agent 4, and other GRS 
agents on the rooftops of the Annex buildings. Within 10 
minutes of the arrival of Team Tripoli, a new small arms attack 
began. One member of Team Tripoli described the small arms 
attack:

        Once we had gotten to the annex, we called probably 
        three minutes out, and the GRS Team Lead was actually 
        out there to meet us with the gate open. We didn't take 
        any of the vehicles inside. We exited the vehicles and 
        walked inside.

        We took the Libyan Shield commander inside with us so 
        his guys would stay there, ultimately. Went directly to 
        the main house where the TOC was. I think it was 
        Building Three. Team leader started talking to chief of 
        base, and I was talking to the [GRS Team Lead] on the 
        security situation, wounded personnel, what did he need 
        from us that he didn't have already, and how we could 
        help the security posture.

        Shortly after us being there, we were all sitting 
        outside while we were talking about this on the front 
        patio of Building Three. We had some sporadic gunfire 
        over the top of Building Three, and immediately 
        following, the first mortar round hit. I believe it 
        went long, hit out in the road where our convoy had 
        been. The gate is obviously closed to the compound now. 
        Next one hit short just behind Building Three on the 
        wall towards the warehouse. The other three or four 
        mortars hit directly on top of Building Three.\410\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \410\Id. at 61.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    One GRS agent described the mortar attack:

        It was about 5:30 in the morning--the sun was just 
        coming up--because me and Tyrone had been talking 
        about, you know, if they're going to attack us, it's 
        going to happen here shortly because usually the time 
        to attack is right before the sun comes up. About that 
        time, [Doherty] came up on the roof after the guys from 
        Tripoli had came in. I never met [Doherty]. He walks 
        over to Tyrone and says hi to Tyrone. They had worked 
        together on the teams. Tyrone introduced him to me, 
        said that he was a sniper.

        I told him: Well, that's good. I hope we don't need 
        you, but it will be great having another rifle up here.

        He had turned to walk away, and it was about that time 
        that there was an explosion against the back wall, and 
        there was a mortar that hit the top of the back wall, 
        which from our building was maybe 8 or 10 yards from 
        the building.

        [Agent 4] was in the corner where the ladder was at. Me 
        and Tyrone were in the opposite corner facing out 
        towards what we call Zombieland, and when that hit, 
        small arms fire started coming from that direction, and 
        Tyrone opened up with a machine gun. I started shooting 
        with my assault rifle. I heard [Agent 4] yell out that 
        he was hit.

        I kind of glanced over. I saw his shadow sitting 
        because the wall at the top of our building was about 3 
        feet tall, so there was a box that you had to step on 
        to get up on to the ladder. So he was--I saw his image 
        or the silhouette of him sitting on that box, and he 
        was holding his head. What went through my mind is that 
        he's breathing, so his heart is beating . . .

        We're shooting. I kneel down to change magazines. As I 
        come back up after changing magazines, the first mortar 
        hits the top of the roof, hits almost directly into the 
        wall, where the roof and the arc of the parapet or wall 
        comes up, right into the corner of that. When that hit, 
        it blew me back a little bit, knocked me back. I kind 
        of caught myself. I saw Tyrone go down. . . . The 
        mortar hit on my right.

        As I come up, I bring my arm up to grab my gun, and 
        from about here down, it was kind of hanging off at a 
        90 degree angle. I continued to try to grab my gun. 
        Another mortar hit, and I kind of glanced over my right 
        shoulder, and I saw [Doherty] go straight down. . . . 
        As I tried to keep firing, my weapon is pretty much 
        inoperable. I can't grab it with my hand. The third 
        mortar hits and peppers me again with shrapnel. The 
        best way I can describe it is it felt like I got stung 
        by a thousand bees. At that point, I figured I might 
        better get to cover because if another one comes, I'll 
        be lucky if I survive that.

        I kind of dove down to the wall, . . . and everything 
        had went quiet. I kind of sat up and thought I was 
        bleeding out because everything was wet around me. I 
        realized that it was water because it was cold, and 
        there was a water tank right there beside us that had 
        gotten perforated. I don't know what the timeframe was.

        I pulled out a tourniquet, and I was trying to get the 
        tourniquet on. . . . At that point, I saw [GRS 1] come 
        up over top of the roof, which I didn't know it then--I 
        saw a shadow come up, and at that point, he had at 
        first put two tourniquets on [Agent 4]; one on his leg, 
        one on his arm. Then he come over to me, and he was 
        sitting there. He told me to quit messing with my arm 
        because I was trying to put it back in place. He 
        grabbed my tourniquet, put it on, stood me up, and 
        asked if I could walk myself over to the ladder so he 
        could tend to Tyrone and [Doherty], and I said, yeah.

        He had called for help on the radio, that we had 
        wounded up there. By the time I got over to the ladder, 
        there was three guys that had come up on the roof. I 
        remember one later to find out it was one of the TF or 
        the task force guys. He asked me if I could get off the 
        roof.

        I said, ``Yeah, I'm going to have to'' because I knew 
        they had to tend to the guys up there. So I kind of put 
        myself up on the parapet, hooked my good arm around the 
        ladder, and kind of scooted myself over. I ended up 
        climbing down the ladder.

        I come around past the swimming pool to the front, and 
        that's when I ran into [GRS Tripoli]. [GRS Tripoli] 
        walked me in, laid me down in the building, building 3, 
        and he went back--I think at that time, he went back 
        out to help up top. Everybody inside was just kind of 
        looking at me. I told them somebody needs to cut my 
        clothes off because I know I'm bleeding from other 
        spots. [redacted text] case officer I was with earlier 
        that night, [redacted text], asked me where the shears 
        were. [redacted text] to cut my clothes off with. 
        [redacted text] got those, come back, cut my clothes 
        off. I wasn't bleeding profusely from anything else; I 
        just had a bunch of little holes in me that were kind 
        of oozing blood. And later they came down. I think [GRS 
        Tripoli] came in and gave me an IV. They finally got 
        [Diplomatic Security Agent 4] off, and that was pretty 
        much the night there.\411\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \411\GRS 2 Testimony at 57.

    As GRS agents on Building 3 fired back in response to the 
new attack, a well-aimed mortar attack commenced on the Annex 
mortally wounding Woods and Doherty and severely wounding 
another GRS agent and one Diplomatic Security Agent.\412\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \412\Video: DVR Footage of the CIA Annex (Sept. 11, 2012, 0517.40).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In total, six 81-millimeter mortars assaulted the 
Annex.\413\ Three mortars, including the first one, landed near 
the north perimeter wall. Three additional mortars landed on 
the roof of Building 3 within one minute at 5:18 a.m. Overall, 
the six mortar attacks were launched within 1 minute and 13 
seconds.\414\ A member of Team Tripoli testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \413\Special Operator Testimony at 61.
    \414\Committee analysis of DVR Footage of the CIA Annex (Sept. 11, 
2012, from 0517 to 0519).

        Once the mortar round--the first mortar round hit 
        outside the gate where the convoy was, we saw the 
        vehicles driving away, the gun trucks that were out 
        there driving away.\415\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \415\Special Operator Testimony at 66.

    Libya Shield sub-commander, [redacted text], who was left 
behind during the mortar strike suggested, that attackers were 
well-aware that Team Tripoli was held up at the Benghazi 
airport while seeking transport and that the attackers may have 
planned an ambush that coincided with the arrival of the Team 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tripoli members at the Annex:

        ``It began to rain down on us. I really believe that 
        this attack was planned. The accuracy with which the 
        mortars hit us was too good for any regular 
        revolutionaries.''\416\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \416\Libya Rescue Squad Ran Into Fierce, Accurate Ambush, Reuters 
(Sept. 12, 2012; 17:11), http://www.reuters.com/article/libya-
ambassador-battle-idAFL5E8KCMYB20120912.

    One witness told the Committee Libya Shield departed the 
Annex when the mortar strike began at the direction of an 
individual who was standing next to Abu Khattala during the 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
attacks. He recounted what happened during the mortar attack:

        Q: When Team Tripoli arrived, were you outside? Were 
        you inside?

        A: No, when they arrived, I was outside.

        Q: You were outside. Okay. And did you go inside at any 
        point after they arrived?

        A: Yes. Luckily we went inside, because then the 
        mortars landed.

                              *    *    *

        Q: Did anybody from the Libyan Shield militia go inside 
        as well?

        A: Yes.

        Q: All right. And can you explain the situation?

        A: When the Tripoli team arrived, they brought with 
        them a commander of that force that escorted them from 
        the airport to the Annex.

        Q: Okay. And he ended up going inside one of the 
        villas?

        A: Yes.

                              *    *    *

        I asked him to shut off his phone and stop talking on 
        the phone after the mortar--especially specifically 
        after the mortar landed.

                              *    *    *

        He was talking to his force and wondering why they left 
        him behind and informed them that we had just got hit 
        with mortars, and he was trying to find out why they 
        left him behind.\417\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \417\Officer A Testimony at 118.

    The witness stated the Commander of the force was frantic 
and was ``surprised that the attack took place when he thought 
that his force outside was securing the perimeter.''\418\ He 
testified about the Commander's actions:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \418\Id.

        When he came inside, he was under the impression that 
        the force that he brought with him, the commander that 
        he left behind and his forces will secure the area. But 
        when he called them on the phone, he realized they had 
        departed the area. And he asked them, why did you 
        depart the area? And they said that the commander of 
        the militia, Wissam bin Hamid, gave them orders to 
        return to their base on the other side of town. And he 
        asked them, why are you going back to the base and 
        leaving me behind? And they told him that, oh, we are 
        going to get more weapons and more additional 
        forces.\419\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \419\Id.

    Wissam bin Hamid was standing with Abu Khattala during the 
attack[.]\420\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \420\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    One GRS member of Team Tripoli provided his assessment of 
the mortar attacks in an after-action interview conducted by 
the CIA. The GRS member was:

        100% confident that the enemy was waiting for the QRF 
        to arrive at the Annex so they could hit them upon 
        arrival. Communication was given to local militias and 
        police upon the arrival of the QRF team to Benghazi 
        airport. Many Libyan militia members and police knew of 
        the QRF team's arrival and movement to the annex.

        He [was] confident it was a well-trained mortar team 
        that hit the compound.\421\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \421\CIA Document 1-004067 at 71.

    A military member of Team Tripoli described his assessment 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
of the mortar attacks that evening:

        Q: And so what's your opinion on the skill of those who 
        were actually employing the mortars that evening in the 
        attack on the Benghazi Annex?

        A: I would say personally that it was probably a 
        skilled mortar team. It's not easy. And you, being a 
        trained mortar man, know how hard that would be to 
        shoot inside the city and get something on the target 
        within two shots. That's difficult. I would say they 
        were definitely a trained mortar team or had been 
        trained to do something similar to that . . . I was 
        kind of surprised. I had not heard of or seen anybody 
        or talked to anyone that had been trained on mortars at 
        all [during my time in Tripoli]. So it was 
        unusual.\422\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \422\Special Operator Testimony at 82-83.

    The mortar attack was reported at 5:32 a.m. and a medical 
evacuation was requested.\423\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \423\DSCC Timeline.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    One CIA agent discussed his actions:

        A: [M]inutes later is when we got attacked by the first 
        few mortars.

        Q: And you were in the SCIF when the mortar attack 
        happened?

        A: The initial, correct, yes, sir.

        Q: Well, actually I was trying to go to the bathroom; 
        so I put my gear back on, and we were all stacked at 
        the front door, myself, the team leader, the two DOD 
        personnel, and there were several more volleys of 
        impacts on the building, mortar fire. And I heard small 
        arms going out from our team, and then small arms 
        coming in on our building. And as soon as it subsided, 
        I asked for [GRS Agent] because . . . he had [s]ome of 
        my gear . . . and that's when he didn't answer up. And 
        that's when one of the other GRS personnel said they 
        were all down on the roof. So as soon as it subsided, 
        we made our way to the roof.

        Q: Okay, and then what actions did you take at that 
        point?

        A: I came around a few seconds after the main element . 
        . . so I stepped back . . . and that's when I was met 
        halfway down the ladder by the GRS operator [GRS 2]. 
        And I put my light on him because I heard a funny 
        noise, and it was obvious that he was severely injured. 
        And that's when he came down on top of me. I noticed he 
        was severely wounded, bleeding a lot and everything 
        like that.

                              *    *    *

        Well, they actually put bathroom tile outside there, 
        and so it was real slick. He ended up falling on top of 
        me, and I ended up hyperextending my leg to the rear. 
        So now I'm injured, so I drug him out because we 
        started getting hit by small arms fire. So I dragged 
        him around the corner. I started putting a tourniquet 
        on his arm. He was bleeding from his left arm. He had a 
        hole in his neck, and he had a hole in his chest.

        So I put tourniquets on his arm and started patching up 
        with the help of others from the shrapnel wounds. And 
        it seemed like seconds later when I heard somebody say 
        [GRS Tripoli] I have another one for you. That's when 
        the second State Department guy, [Agent 4] . . . came 
        down. And I pushed [GRS 2] up on to the couch, and 
        that's when [Agent 4] was there.

                              *    *    *

        So I readjusted the tourniquet on his right leg, put 
        another one on his right leg, and ended up putting a 
        tourniquet on his left arm and packing his neck with 
        combat gauze to help stop the bleeding. I ended up 
        starting an IV on him. And then I went back to [GRS 2], 
        put an IV in him. That's one of the State Department 
        personnel--I don't know who it was--had morphine, and I 
        made the call to give [Agent 4] morphine because he was 
        in so much pain he started pawing at the tourniquets 
        and the gauzes, some of the dressings I put on. And 
        that seemed like seconds.

        During this process is when [redacted text] asked me to 
        . . . contact Tripoli and give them a SITREP. That's 
        when I called Tripoli . . . [and] asked them for blood 
        for [Agent 4] because I didn't think he was going to 
        make it much longer.

                              *    *    *

        We had two severely injured, so I asked for blood, 
        because I thought our plane, the one we rented, had 
        taken off already. . . . And then, right after that, I 
        went back in, made sure both patients were stable, and 
        I worked on [Agent 4] more. I started another IV 
        because he had sucked that one down so fast. And that's 
        when I went outside, and the sun was actually up. I 
        know it doesn't sound significant, but it was to me 
        because I really felt with the sun up, it would give us 
        time, room to breath, because hopefully it would drive 
        away the attackers.

        I was still handling care of the patients . . . And I 
        was in the back of the truck with the wounded GRS guy 
        because I had no--there was no more room to sit inside 
        a vehicle, so we put a stretcher in the back of a small 
        truck. I jumped in the back with him and held on to 
        him, and we drove out the gate; and that's when we were 
        met by several gun trucks and militia that were there 
        to escort us. And we drove out, and it looked to be 
        several militias or several different groups because it 
        looked like they were trying to determine which way 
        they were going to go to the airport.

        So there was a few minutes delay there before we 
        actually started to drive towards the airport. And 
        that's when we made it back to the airport. And I 
        loaded on a plane with the nonessential personnel, and 
        the two wounded, and made it back to Tripoli where we 
        landed in Tripoli because the hospital was close to the 
        Tripoli airport.

                              *    *    *

        I gave [Agent 4] another morphine on the plane. I 
        adjusted [GRS 2] bandage. And then when I was moving 
        [Agent 4] off the plane--we were bring him off without 
        the stretcher because the stretcher was so big and the 
        plane was so small--he stopped breathing, so I had to 
        give him CPR. Got him back breathing, and that's when 
        the State Department nurse met me on the plane. . . .

        And then we loaded them on to an ambulance, and at that 
        point, the ambulance took them to Afia Hospital in 
        Tripoli. And I went back in a Suburban with all the 
        other State Department personnel and gear. And that was 
        it. I received a call from the flight medic from 
        Ramstein, the military airlift, and I went over the 
        view of what I did and what I gave them as far as 
        tourniquets, morphine, and IV bags, how much, and the 
        times and stuff. And that was it in reference to my 
        medical service.

        Q: You said they asked if the patients were capable of 
        going directly to Germany. Was that the request?

        A: I believe, yeah. And I said, no, they need to go to 
        the hospital now. This is when I just got [Agent 4] 
        breathing again. But I made the suggestion, you know, I 
        remember they said can they wait for the Ramstein bird. 
        And I was like no, because I really think [the agent] 
        was going to die any minute.

        Q: We're coming close to the end of our hour. This is 
        the last question. Setting modesty aside, do you 
        believe that [the agent] or [GRS 2] would have survived 
        to make it to Tripoli without your intervention?

        A: No.\424\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \424\Officer A Testimony at 37-46.

                  At the Time of the Mortar Attacks, 
                     No Asset was rn route to Libya

    At 11:45 p.m. in Washington [5:45 a.m. in Benghazi], Denis 
R. McDonough sent an email to Sullivan, Sherman, Rhodes, Bash, 
Winnefeld, and other high level representatives of the 
Executive Branch with the subject line, ``Quick level set 
before we head into tomorrow AM SVTC.''\425\ McDonough wrote:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \425\Email from Denis R. McDonough to Wendy R. Sherman, et al. 
(Sept. 11, 2012 11:45 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05562167).

        The situation in Benghazi remains fluid. Amb. Chris 
        Stevens remains unaccounted for; one State Department 
        officer is confirmed dead (next of kin notification is 
        complete); five State Department officers are accounted 
        for and at another USG compound in Benghazi, which had 
        been taking fire earlier in the evening (until at least 
        2030 EDT). . . . Five DOD personnel arrived in Benghazi 
        about an hour ago from Tripoli to reinforce security 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        there.

        On our people in Libya, the Joint Staff is deploying 
        three sets of teams into the region appropriate to the 
        mission(s).

                              *    *    *

        And on getting the video(s) in question taken down, I 
        reached [out] to YouTube to ask them to take down two 
        videos: one that was not developed by Pastor Jones but 
        which he is promoting, and another--of him burning the 
        Prophet in effigy--that he did film. Sec. Panetta has 
        also reached out to Pastor Jones to ask him to pull 
        down his video, knowing that even if YouTube takes the 
        video down, Pastor Jones can put it up somewhere else. 
        . . .\426\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \426\Id.

    This McDonough email was sent more than six hours after 
President Obama and the Secretary first met to discuss the 
initial attack in Benghazi, more than six hours after the 
Commander in Chief said to do everything possible to help our 
people, more than five hours after the Secretary of Defense 
issued an order to deploy elements--active tense--and more than 
four hours after the Secretary's Chief of Staff sent an email 
saying elements were ``spinning up.'' McDonough writes: ``[T]he 
Joint Staff is deploying three sets of teams into the region 
appropriate to the mission(s).''\427\ This ``deploying'' was 
supposed to occur hours earlier at the order of the Secretary.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \427\Email from Denis R. McDonough, Dep. Nat'l Sec. Advisor, Nat'l 
Sec. Council, to Wendy R. Sherman, Under Sec'y for Political Affairs, 
U.S. Dep't of State, et al. (Sept. 11, 2012 11:45 PM) (on file with the 
Committee, C05562167).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Moreover, McDonough references ``five DOD personnel arrived 
in Benghazi about an hour ago from Tripoli to reinforce 
security there.''\428\ This reference to DOD personnel is 
noteworthy because this ``asset'' or ``element'' was not even 
on the list of ``assets'' and ``elements'' provided to the 
Secretary of Defense. As discussed above, these individuals 
went to Benghazi from Tripoli at the direction of the Chief of 
Station in Libya, not at the order of anyone in Washington, 
D.C.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \428\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    By this time, both McDonough and the Secretary of Defense 
had made calls to have the YouTube video removed from the 
internet.\429\ Yet, none of the forces the Secretary ordered to 
deploy had actually moved.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \429\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Moments after McDonough sent this email, word of the mortar 
attacks on the Annex would make its way through the State 
Department, the White House, and the Defense Department.
    At 1:40 a.m. in Washington, the assets the Secretary 
ordered to deploy more than six hours earlier had still not 
deployed, though Libya had finally given approval for assets to 
fly into Tripoli.\430\ At that time, Winnefeld emailed 
McDonough and others relaying to them diplomatic clearance had 
been obtained from Libya allowing the FAST platoon to fly into 
Tripoli.\431\ Of course, all State and CIA personnel had 
already evacuated the Annex in Benghazi, and the first aircraft 
evacuating the American personnel was preparing to depart for 
Tripoli within minutes. Winnefeld wrote:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \430\Email from James A. Winnefeld, Jr., Vice Chairman, J. Chiefs 
of Staff, U.S. Dep't of Defense, to Benjamin J. Rhodes, Dep. Nat'l Sec. 
Advisor, White House, et al. (Sept. 12, 2012 1:40 AM) (on file with the 
Committee, C05562167).
    \431\Id.

        Two C-130s will move to Rota then Tripoli. One departs 
        at 0600z, the other at 0700z. 3+40 transit time to 
        Rota, 1 hour load time. Estimated arrival at Tripoli is 
        1300z. We now have country clearances for Spain and 
        Libya. Working to expedite movement (for example, 
        faster load time than one hour), but not sure we can go 
        faster now that aircrews are on the ramp.\432\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \432\Id.

    Winnefeld's email meant this: Now that host nation approval 
had been obtained, the transport aircraft would depart Ramstein 
Air Base in Germany in 20 minutes to pick up the FAST team that 
was waiting in Rota, Spain.

                     Evacuation to Benghazi Airport

    After the lethal mortar strikes, the team at the Annex was 
determined to evacuate all personnel. A member of Team Tripoli 
testified:

        We decided that the situation we had was untenable to 
        stay at the compound. We didn't have enough shooters 
        and there were too many wounded, and we were definitely 
        going to lose our State Department wounded if we had 
        stayed there much longer. So we were pushing to get out 
        as fast as we could.\433\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \433\Special Operator Testimony at 68.

    A key issue remained in that, ``There was no security 
vehicle, no gun trucks that would help us get to the airport. 
And we determined we could probably not make it with the 
vehicles we had inside the compound.''\434\ At 6:16 a.m., a 50-
vehicle motorcade arrived at the Annex to provide transport 
support by the Libyan Military Intelligence. The motorcade 
included technical, pick-up trucks retrofitted with mounted 
machine gun-like weapons.\435\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \434\Special Operator Testimony at 69.
    \435\DVR Footage of the CIA Annex (Sept. 11, 2012, 0616); LMI 
insignia is printed on vehicles.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The forces that arrived at the Annex shortly after the 
mortar attacks were able to transport all State Department and 
CIA personnel safely to the airport. The forces, known as 
Libyan Military Intelligence, arrived with 50 heavily-armed 
security vehicles.\436\ Libyan Military Intelligence was not 
part of the Libyan government, nor affiliated with any of the 
militias the CIA or State Department had developed a 
relationship with during the prior 18 months since the Libyan 
revolution took place.\437\ Instead, Libya Military 
Intelligence--whom the CIA did not even know existed until the 
night of the attacks--were comprised of former military 
officers under the Qadhafi regime who had gone into hiding in 
fear of being assassinated, and wanted to keep their presence 
in Benghazi as quiet as possible so as to not attract attention 
from the militias in control of Benghazi.\438\ In other words, 
some of the very individuals the United States had helped 
remove from power during the Libyan revolution were the only 
Libyans that came to the assistance of the United States on the 
night of the Benghazi attacks.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \436\TRIPOLI 27900, Sept. 19, 2012 [REQUEST 1-002982 to REQUEST 1-
002991].
    \437\Officer A Testimony at 71.
    \438\Id. at 71-72.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The reason Libyan Military Intelligence was able to rescue 
the Americans from the CIA base after the mortar attacks--
likely saving over two dozen lives--was due solely to the 
extraordinary efforts of Officer A, [redacted text] stationed 
in Benghazi. Officer A, [redacted text], spent a lot of time on 
the night of the attacks trying to secure help. In the early 
morning hours of September 12, a commander in the February 17 
militia told Officer A that February 17 would be unable to 
protect the Base and that they were leaving.\439\ This 
commander referred Officer A to the National Police, who the 
commander said was taking over their duties. Officer A 
described the National Police as ``next to helpless.''\440\ An 
officer in the National Police told Officer A ``There's nothing 
I can do. . . . I cannot continue to secure the perimeter [of 
the Base].''\441\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \439\Id. at 19-20.
    \440\Id. at 20.
    \441\Id.

    After some convincing by Officer A, the police officer 
referred Officer A to a colonel in Libyan Military 
Intelligence.\442\ Officer A had never spoken to this 
individual before, nor was he even aware of Libyan Military 
Intelligence. Officer A first had a conversation with this 
individual around 4:30 am, and testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \442\Id. at 23-24.

        And I immediately made contact with this commander. He 
        asked how he could help, and I told him, again, our 
        general location, and I said, you know, we need you to 
        come and secure this area. He had an idea, at that 
        point, of events happening in that part of the city, 
        and he told me that he would need to put a big force 
        together, he cannot just come with one of his--I mean, 
        like, two or three vehicles, that he would need to put 
        a large force together and for me to give him some time 
        to put that force together.\443\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \443\Id. at 24.

    Immediately after the mortar attacks, Officer A called the 
colonel back and said, ``[We] now really need you to come 
here.''\444\ Within minutes, the 50-truck force from Libyan 
Military Intelligence arrived and all American personnel safely 
evacuated to the airport.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \444\Id. at 27.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The group that ultimately came to the rescue of and 
facilitated the evacuation of the Americans in Benghazi was not 
the Libyan Government the State Department had worked 
tirelessly to appease; nor was it the February 17 Martyrs 
Brigade, recommended by the Libyan Government and contractually 
obligated to provide security to the Mission Compound. Instead, 
the group that came to rescue the Americans that night, the 
Libyan Military Intelligence, was a group most U.S. Government 
personnel did not even know existed. This group, ironically, 
had close ties to the former Qadhafi regime--the very regime 
the United States had helped remove from power. It was also 
this group, not groups previously given credit by previous 
investigations, that came to the rescue of the Americans in 
those early morning hours --likely saving dozens of lives as a 
result.
    It was the hard work and ingenuity of a single CIA case 
officer that located and developed this evacuation lead--a 
witness no other committee of Congress interviewed and a 
witness the CIA was reluctant to allow the Committee to 
interview.\445\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \445\Id. at 25-28.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Despite the ``assurance'' some principals in Washington had 
that U.S. personnel in Benghazi were evacuating earlier, it was 
not until the rescuing convoy actually arrived to at the Annex 
that the evacuation of all U.S. personnel was fully understood 
by those on the ground in Benghazi.
    Officer A described what happened after the Libyan Military 
Intelligence arrived: ``We lined up the trucks in order of 
movement. And then everybody that was a non-shooter was in an 
up-armored vehicle, and all the shooters were in thin-skinned 
vehicles to be able to shoot out of their cars.''\446\ After 
loading into the available vehicles at the Annex, at 6:34 a.m. 
the majority of Annex personnel and all the Diplomatic Security 
Agents evacuated in the LMI motorcade.\447\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \446\Special Operators Testimony at 71.
    \447\DVR Footage of the CIA Annex (Sept. 11, 2012, 0634).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A few minutes later, two GRS and two CIA Staff officers 
evacuated the Annex alone in a Toyota pick-up truck after an 
attempted destruction of the CIA equipment.\448\ One CIA 
personnel described the actions he took to destroy sensitive 
equipment:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \448\Video: DVR Footage of the CIA Annex (Sept. 11, 2012, 0637).

        Q: So you said the last four folks there was yourself, 
        [GRS 5], it was the chief of base, it was the GRS team 
        lead. Did you see any type of interaction between the 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        GRS team lead and the chief of base, any argument?

        A: No, and actually I felt bad because once the stuff 
        detonated--whew.

                              *    *    *

        A: You know, I looked down and I was kneeling in a 
        bunch of blood. I jumped in the truck, and the chief 
        didn't say a word, you know, but I was pretty happy, 
        you know, because the device went off and smoke was 
        already billowing out of the office. The door was 
        jammed open, and so I was pretty thrilled about that, 
        you know, and then I jumped in and said, let's go, you 
        know. And of course, the chief knew that [Woods] is 
        dead, and anyway, it is--I felt bad about that. And 
        then we took off and caught up with the rest of the 
        convoy.\449\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \449\Testimony of [redacted text], Cent. Intel. Agency, Tr. at 61-
64 (Jun 19, 2015) [hereinafter [redacted text] Testimony] (on file with 
the Committee).

                     AMERICANS IN BENGHAZI EVACUATE

                         Evacuation to Tripoli

    The survivors and four Diplomatic Security Agents departed 
at 7:31 a.m. local and landed in Tripoli at 8:38 p.m. 
local.\450\ The same private aircraft secured by Team Tripoli 
to come to the aid of those being attacked in Benghazi was the 
aircraft used to evacuate the first wave of Americans from 
Benghazi to Tripoli.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \450\See, U.S. Dep't of Defense Timeline.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    At 8:25 a.m. GRS and one Agent 3 received the body of 
Stevens from individuals delegated by the Libyan Ministry of 
Foreign Affairs.\451\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \451\Diplomatic Sec. Agent 3 Testimony at 170-172.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The second aircraft, a C-130 provided by the Libyan Air 
Force, departed with the remaining security officers and the 
remains of Stevens, Smith, Woods, and Doherty at 9:54 a.m. and 
arrived in Tripoli at 11:33 a.m.\452\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \452\U.S. Dep't of Defense Timeline (estimating the times of 
arrival and departure).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                         Evacuation to Germany

    At 2:15 p.m. on September 12, a C-17 departed Germany en 
route to Tripoli to evacuate the Americans.\453\ This departure 
occurred over eight hours after the 6:05 a.m. AFRICOM order to 
deploy the C-17 for use as part of the Medevac (medical 
evacuation).\454\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \453\U.S. Dep't of Defense Timeline.
    \454\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    At 7:17 p.m. the C-17 departed Tripoli returning to 
Ramstein, Germany with the Benghazi-based U.S. personnel, non-
essential U.S. Embassy State Department personnel and the 
remains of the fallen and arrived at 10:19p.m.\455\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \455\Id.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                FOUR DIED. OTHER LIVES UNDOUBTEDLY SAVED

    The initiative shown during the attacks by those on the 
ground in Benghazi and Tripoli not only embodied the service 
and sacrifice of those in military and the Foreign Service but 
undoubtedly saved the lives of other Americans.
    The Diplomatic Security Agents followed their training and 
responded appropriately after the Mission compound was 
attacked. The Diplomatic Security Agents showed heroism in 
their efforts to protect Sean Smith and Chris Stevens and to 
enter a burning building in search of their missing colleagues.
    Team Annex moved quickly and decisively to help fellow 
Americans at the Mission compound. Their actions during the 
night/early morning hours provided not only much needed 
intelligence about what was happening on the ground but also 
helped secure their State Department colleagues and saved the 
lives of fellow Americans.
    Likewise, Team Tripoli, which included military personnel 
based at the Tripoli Annex, acted with purpose, precision and 
ingenuity that night. The Secretary and the Joint Staff did not 
know those personnel were in Tripoli, much less were they 
considered as one of the potential assets to respond to the 
events in Benghazi. In fact, they represent the only military 
``asset'' to reach Benghazi during the attacks. They deployed 
themselves because fellow Americans needed them.
    The creativity, valor and selfless sacrifice of the 
Diplomatic Security Agents, the team from the Benghazi Annex 
and Team Tripoli stand in some contrast to the discussions held 
during the White House meeting occurring at roughly the same 
time, half a world away, in the safe confines of the U.S.

    THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT'S RESPONSE TO THE ATTACK WAS INSUFFICIENT

    When the attacks in Benghazi began, the Defense Department 
was unprepared to respond. Despite there being a missing U.S. 
Ambassador, its response--from the start of the attack at 9:42 
p.m. in Libya, to the amount of time it took for the forces to 
actually deploy late the next morning in Libya--at best 
illustrates a rusty bureaucratic process not in keeping with 
the gravity and urgency of the events happening on the ground.
    The decisions made earlier in the year by senior State 
Department officials to maintain a presence in Benghazi without 
adequate security forces and an inadequately fortified Mission 
compound contributed to what amounted to a worst case scenario 
of circumstances that would test the military's preparedness 
and ability to respond. Nevertheless, the Defense Department 
did not pass the test. Whether this failure is shouldered by it 
alone, or rests in part on decisions made by the State 
Department in Washington D.C. or with the White House who 
presided over a two hour meeting where half of the action items 
related to an anti-Muslim video wholly unconnected to the 
attacks, is one of the lingering questions about Benghazi.
    To muster forces actually capable of responding to the 
second lethal attack in Benghazi, the Defense Department needed 
to overcome the ``tyranny of distance.'' From the moment the 
first attack occurred, the clock began to tick, and with each 
passing hour, the need to immediately deploy forces became more 
crucial. Any forces deployed by AFRICOM faced two inherent 
challenges.
    First, AFRICOM did not have a significant number of 
assigned forces. It had a standing arrangement with EUCOM to 
enable it to have access to EUCOM forces when a contingency 
arose. In essence, AFRICOM had to ask for help, creating 
another level of bureaucracy that ultimately played out in the 
orders to deploy forces.
    Second, since any force AFRICOM would use in response to 
the attack were EUCOM assets, those forces would deploy from 
bases in Europe, not Northern Africa. In fact, elements of the 
forces that were ordered to deploy, although based in southern 
Europe, needed C-130s or other transport aircraft to fly from 
central Europe to their location to transport them on to Libya.
    Of course, these challenges were known well in advance and 
came as no surprise. Whereas the facts and circumstances 
surrounding security related events in North Africa may change, 
the map and the time it takes to respond to the geographic 
challenges does not.
    Whether any of this was taken into account when no change 
in force posture was ordered on September 10 following the 
meeting with the President or on September 11 as the situation 
in Cairo unfolded is unclear. What is clear is the Secretary of 
Defense testified he was clear on both what the President 
ordered and what he ordered subsequent to the initial attack. 
Yet, no asset was ever ordered to respond to Benghazi and the 
decisions made--and not made--coupled with a lack of urgency in 
Washington D.C. delayed the response even, in some instances, 
with an Ambassador missing.

                   The Forces did not Meet Timelines

                      ISSUES WITH FAST DEPLOYMENT

    One of the FAST platoons ordered to deploy by the Secretary 
arrived in Tripoli at 8:56 p.m. local time [2:56 p.m. in 
Washington D.C.] the evening of September 12, nearly 24 hours 
after the attacks began.\456\ As military witnesses have 
posited on many occasions, the mission of a FAST Platoon is not 
hostage rescue but to ``put that layer of steel around a 
critical infrastructure of the United States to say to our 
enemy, `Don't mess [with us].'''\457\ Nevertheless, the timing 
of the FAST Platoon's arrival is problematic. When the 
Secretary identified a FAST Platoon as an asset to deploy and 
said ``go,'' one U.S. facility in Libya had already been 
attacked, Sean Smith had been killed, Chris Stevens was 
missing, and the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli was facing threats of 
another attack. The fact that nearly 24 hours elapsed until 
those forces actually arrived in Tripoli to reinforce the 
security there belies the expectations of the American people 
that the U.S. Military can and will move expeditiously. The 
Secretary said this on the time it took for forces to arrive in 
Libya:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \456\U.S. Dep't of Defense Timeline.
    \457\Testimony of FAST Platoon Commander, U.S. Marines, Tr. at 35 
(Sept. 2, 2015) [hereinafter FAST Commander Testimony] (on file with 
the Committee).

        Q: Mr. Secretary, did you know it was going to take 23 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        hours to get the first assets in country?

        A: No.

        Q: So what did you expect it was going to take?

        A: I knew it was going to take some time, just because 
        of the preparedness for the units and then the time and 
        distance involved. You know, you've heard the term 
        ``tyranny of time and distance,'' and it's tough in 
        this area.

                              *    *    *

        But I didn't--and I assumed these units moved as 
        quickly as possible and that, you know, we can get them 
        in place as quickly as possible, recognizing that there 
        is a time element that's involved. And, you know, I 
        understand the time element involved here just because 
        of the nature of moving the military.

        I mean, as Secretary, I used to sit down with 
        deployment orders all the time of units. And you go 
        through a whole series of discussions about, you know, 
        units that have to be deployed. And, normally, the 
        timeframe to get these units deployed--it takes time. 
        It takes time to put them on a plane. It takes time for 
        them to locate, I understand that. But when you're 
        dealing with the kind of elite units we're talking 
        about here, my expectation is that they move as fast as 
        they can.\458\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \458\Panetta Testimony at 47-48.

    The Commander of the FAST Platoon testified he first became 
aware of the attack on the Mission compound in Benghazi through 
reports on Fox News.\459\ At the time, the FAST Platoon was 
stationed in Rota, Spain.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \459\FAST Commander Testimony at 26.

        So, that evening, I recall I was actually talking to my 
        dad on Skype, watching the Armed Forces Network news 
        channel, which rotates through news affiliates, and I 
        think it was Fox News that night. And all of a sudden 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        we see a consulate building on fire.

        As soon as I hung up with him, I got on the phone with 
        my commanding officer, and we had a short talk. . . . 
        And he said something more or less in the lines of, 
        ``Make sure you do your laundry and you got enough 
        soap.''

        A couple of hours later, he was calling me, telling me 
        he was going to go down to the commander of CTF 68, who 
        is the higher headquarters of FAST Company Europe, and 
        that I needed to start getting my Marines together. 
        This was around midnight [local time in Rota, Spain], 
        so it would be on September 12.

        Around midnight is when my platoon sergeant and I 
        initiated the recall.

                              *    *    *

        Q: Let's back up a little bit. In terms of the Rota 
        Naval Station, were there any air assets typically 
        stationed at Rota?

        A: No, sir. No. What we always planned upon is 
        primarily aircraft coming from Ramstein, because that's 
        where the preponderance of Air Force C-130s 
        were[.]\460\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \460\Id. at 27.

    Almost three hours after the FAST Platoon Commander 
initiated the recall order, which required his Marines to 
return to base, he received official notification at 2:39 a.m. 
[8:39 p.m. in Washington D.C.] the platoon was activated and he 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
was to prepared to deploy.

        Q: When did you receive VOCO [vocal order] or a warning 
        order that the FAST platoon was going to be mobilized?

        A: Around 0230 is when we got the official 
        notification. So that was our official [redacted]. We 
        already had some lead-in to it, obviously.

                              *    *    *

        Q: --was it at 0239? Does that sound familiar?

        A: Yes, sir.

                              *    *    *

        Q: What were your specific orders at that time?

        A: Prepare my platoon to deploy to Libya. We didn't 
        know where exactly we were going, but we knew through 
        open media sources of what was going on on the deck.

        At that time, we started to make contact with the 
        embassy to gain S[ituational] A[wareness] of what was 
        happening and what our potential mission would be.\461\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \461\Id. at 31-32.

    Three hours after he received official notification, at 
5:45 a.m. local time [11:45 p.m. in Washington D.C.], the FAST 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commander's platoon was prepped and ready to deploy.

        Q: When was your platoon packed out and ready to get on 
        a plane?

        A: I believe it was around 0545. I know it was before 
        6.

        Q: Obviously your company commander is aware of that.

        A: Yes, sir.

        Q: Did they notify anybody up the food chain that at 
        0545 you're ready to go?

        A: Yes, sir.\462\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \462\FAST Commander Testimony at 40.

    Yet, another six hours would elapse before C-130s arrived 
in Spain to transport the FAST Platoon to Libya. General Philip 
Breedlove, the Commander of the United States Air Forces in 
Europe, which is the component command which owned the C-130s 
used to transport the FAST Platoon, told the Committee he began 
generating C-130s on his own initiative after learning about 
the attacks in Benghazi.\463\ Breedlove said repeatedly his C-
130s were ready to deploy before he received official 
notification of deployment.\464\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \463\Breedlove Testimony at 21.
    \464\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The C-130s arrived six hours later, and the FAST Platoon 
loaded its gear within an hour.\465\ Yet, another three hours 
would elapse before the FAST Platoon departed for Libya.\466\ 
The FAST Platoon commander explained the cause of the delay:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \465\FAST Commander Testimony at 39-41.
    \466\Id. at 41.

        A: After we were loaded, which was around [1:00 p.m. 
        local time], so about an hour after the C-130s were 
        there, we still did not lift off until [4:00 p.m. local 
        time] was when the first aircraft took off.

                              *    *    *

        Q: Why was there another delay to get off the ground?

        A: So we were told multiple times to change what we 
        were wearing, to change from cammies into civilian 
        attire, civilian attire into cammies, cammies into 
        civilian attire.

        There was also some talk of whether or not we could 
        carry our personal weapons. I was basically holding 
        hard and fast to the point where we were carrying our 
        personal weapons. Like, we've got a very violent thing 
        going on the ground where we're going, so we're going 
        to be carrying something that can protect ourselves.

        But as far as what the Marines were wearing, that 
        continually changed, and we had to make those changes 
        inside of the aircraft.\467\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \467\Id. at 40-41.

    In fact, the FAST Platoon commander testified that during 
the course of three hours, he and his Marines changed in and 
out of their uniforms four times. Ham was not aware the FAST 
Platoon had been directed to change out of their uniforms until 
after the fact.\468\ When asked whether he had any explanation 
for why it took so long for the FAST Platoon to arrive in 
Tripoli, he replied, ``I do not.''\469\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \468\Ham Testimony at 90.
    \469\Id. at 91.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Although Dempsey told the U.S. Senate that once forces 
began moving, ``nothing stopped us, nothing slowed us,'' it 
appears the U.S. Military's response that night was delayed--
because it started too late.\470\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \470\Department of Defense's Response to the Attack on U.S. 
Facilities in Benghazi, Libya, and the Findings of Its Internal Review 
Following the Attack, Hearing before the S. Comm. on Armed Services, 
113th Cong. 66 (2013).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          Diplomatic Clearance

    On the ground in Tripoli, the Defense Attache had already 
begun working to obtain flight clearances from the Libyan 
government before the White House meeting began.\471\ 
Initially, he notified the Libyan government of a potential 
request for flight clearances as the night progressed.\472\ 
Because he had given advance notice to the Libyan government 
potential flight clearances would be needed, he fully expected 
the Libyan government to approve any formal request when it was 
made. He noted, however, that to submit a formal request, 
specific information about the tail numbers, expected arrival 
of the aircraft, the number of personnel, and types of weapons 
had to be conveyed to the Libyan government.\473\ Not only did 
a formal request have to be made, a representative of the 
Libyan government had to be available to receive the paperwork 
for the request. There was no Libyan representative on duty 
overnight.\474\ As to when formal approval was received, the 
Defense Attache testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \471\Defense Attache 2014 Testimony at 113-114.
    \472\Id.
    \473\Id.
    \474\Id.

        Q: Can you recall when the actual--the relevant 
        information that was needed, like tail numbers and 
        things, when was that transmitted to the Government of 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Libya?

        A: I don't. But I would also come back to the fact that 
        we had a green light from the Government of Libya to 
        bring it in. It was just a question of when we were 
        going to know the specific information that goes into a 
        standard flight clearance request. So it had to have 
        been, I would say, sometime midmorning to noon on the 
        12th. It could have been, I would say, sometime 
        midmorning to noon on the 12th. It could have been a 
        little bit after that.

        Q: And that's when you received the relevant 
        information you need to pass on, or what happened?

        A: Probably both. In the course of the morning, leading 
        up to the afternoon, we got the information we 
        required, and then we were able to subsequently 
        transmit it to the Libyans.\475\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \475\Id. at 159-160.

    An email from Winnefeld corroborates the Defense Attache's 
recollection that the final relevant information needed to 
obtain host nation approval was received sometime mid-morning 
on September 12. In Washington, at 1:40 a.m. [7:40 a.m. in 
Libya] on September 12, Winnefeld wrote, ``Understand we now 
have dip clearance for the FAST platoon in Tripoli.''\476\ At 
least six hours had transpired between the time the Secretary 
ordered the deployment of forces and the Libyan Government 
approved deployment of those forces into Libya. Prior to this 
approval, no forces had begun moving.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \476\Email from Admiral James Winnefeld, Jr., Vice Chairman of the 
J. Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Dep't of Defense, to Denis R. McDonough, 
Deputy Nat'l Sec. Advisor, White House, et al. (Sept. 12, 2012 1:19 AM) 
(on file with the Committee, C05562167).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Winnefeld did not believe the timing of host nation 
approval from the Government of Libya prevented forces from 
moving.\477\ Rather, from his perspective, what most impacted 
the ability of the forces to move was the availability of 
airlifts coming from Ramstein, Germany.\478\ Notably, Winnefeld 
stated one lesson learned that night was the need to ``synch 
up'' force deployment timelines with airlift availability 
timelines.\479\ Nevertheless, the question still remains if the 
request for host nation approval from Libya was merely pro 
forma and did not delay deployment of forces, why did the 
forces not move until approval was obtained?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \477\Winnefeld Testimony at 51.
    \478\Id. at 90.
    \479\Id. at 30.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      PROBLEMS WITH CIF DEPLOYMENT

    Twenty-two hours after the initial attack in Benghazi 
began, the CIF landed at the intermediate staging base in 
Sigonella, Italy.\480\ On the night of the attacks, the CIF was 
located in Croatia participating in a training exercise. The 
CIF Commander provided the following information about his 
instructions that night:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \480\See U.S. Dep't of Defense Timeline (``[At 7:57 PM EET t]he 
EUCOM special operations force, and associated equipment, arrives at an 
intermediate staging base in southern Europe'').

        A: The initial guidance was--I can't recall if someone 
        said prepare to deploy or you will deploy. The 
        notification we just operate under at all times, if 
        you're notified, we are operating under the premise 
        that we are going to deploy. But no one ever 
        specifically said you would; or that, we would. And as 
        the situation progressed from initial notification 
        around 02, through the early morning hours and 
        throughout the next day, there were various updates 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        along that timeline

        Q: And as the night progressed and the morning 
        developed, at what point were you told you will deploy 
        and this is the N Hour? At what point do you recall 
        receiving an N Hour notification? Or did you receive 
        one?

        A: I can't recall the official N Hour notification that 
        was set for official purposes. From my purview, when 
        someone told me, that is when I started working off it 
        at the tactical level so that we are prepared.

        So, from my recollection, it was in the middle of the 
        night, but I can't recall when the official N Hour was 
        set.\481\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \481\CIF Commander Testimony at 58-59. Some forces that are 
required to move within a pre-determined timeframe operate with a 
notification hour or ``N-hour.'' The N-hour is the established time 
that essentially starts the clock ticking for when the forces are 
required to be airborne.

    Notably, as he and his team were preparing after receiving 
their orders, the CIF Commander was receiving updates from his 
chain of command but never received any information about what 
was happening on the ground until he received word Ambassador 
Stevens had been killed.\482\ Despite the updates he was 
receiving, he was never told State Department personnel had 
evacuated to the Annex or even that the Annex had been struck 
by mortars and two more Americans were killed.\483\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \482\Id. at 63, 65.
    \483\Id. at 65-66.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The CIF faced several obstacles that slowed its ability to 
deploy. First, before they could execute, they had to have a 
fork-lift brought in from Zadar, Croatia, which was 
approximately 180 miles away from their current location.\484\ 
Once the forklift arrived, the CIF was able to load their 
pallets of gear and ammunition, then make the two-hour journey 
to Zagreb International Airport, where they would await their 
follow-on transportation.\485\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \484\General Repass Testimony at 54.
    \485\Id. at 54-55
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Despite these logistical obstacles, the CIF was packed and 
ready to go at approximately 7:00 a.m. local time [1:00 a.m. in 
Washington D.C.]. Yet, it was nearly another three hours until 
it was airborne. The CIF Commander described the delay:

        A: So in terms of the air, my recollection, I did not--
        I was waiting on the aircraft. I wasn't involved in the 
        planning of the aircraft, is the best way to describe 
        it. So I don't recall the N Hour sequence for the air 
        movement. It was--for us, we packed up every quickly 
        and then we were waiting at the airfield.

        And my comms--I packed up my comms and everything. So 
        once we were sitting at the airfield about seven 
        o'clock in the morning on September 12th, I had limited 
        communications with what was going on. I was just 
        waiting for the aircraft to show up.\486\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \486\CIF Commander Testimony at 76.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                              *    *    *

        A: But none of us knew--we weren't aware of the 
        aircraft deploying time. On that set N Hour to move 
        aircraft, I don't recall what that was.

        Q: Do you recall any efforts to try to coordinate back 
        with SOECUER headquarters to say, ``Hey, is there an N 
        Hour Sequence in effect?

        Were you tracking an N Hour sequence of any type or was 
        it more of a deliberate deployment sequence?

        A: I was tracking--for me, as a ground assault force, 
        the second I heard what was going on, that was kind of 
        what I was tracking. And we moved as quickly as we 
        could. And once we found out that the crisis was not 
        what it was originally articulated in terms of a U.S. 
        Ambassador or any Am[erican] cit[izen] missing, and 
        that he was killed and nobody was--that crisis was no 
        longer occurring as originally discussed, then it 
        became deliberative.
        So from my perspective, at that point the crisis was no 
        longer ongoing and it was more of a deliberate process. 
        So the N Hour sequence, I hate to use the term 
        irrelevant, but I didn't know what my mission was going 
        to be if there wasn't a crisis that we were prone to 
        look at.\487\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \487\Id. at 77-78.

    In support of its training exercise, the CIF's two C-130 
aircraft were located in Croatia.\488\ Based on reports 
regarding the attack in Benghazi, and well before receiving an 
order to deploy, at approximately midnight local time [6:00 
p.m. in Washington D.C.] the commander of the aircraft placed 
his pilots and air crews in ``crew rest'' in anticipation of a 
potential mission.\489\ ``Crew rest'' is typically a 12-hour 
period in which the pilots and air crew rest prior to engaging 
in a mission. The 12-hour period can be waived to eight hours 
(or more in exigent circumstances). General Repass, the SOCEUR 
Commander, waived the crew rest to eight hours in order to 
facilitate the CIFs movement to the intermediate staging base 
at Sigonella, Italy.\490\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \488\Repass Testimony at page 29.
    \489\Id. at 49.
    \490\Id. at 62.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Once he received word of Stevens's death, the CIF Commander 
testified the mission transitioned from a crisis action 
planning event to a deliberate planning event.\491\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \491\CIF Commander Testimony at 69.

        Q: Why did it transition from a crisis action planning 
        event to a deliberate planning event? What was the 
        nature of what his death generated in terms of your 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        planning sequence?

        A: From my recollection--and I wasn't in constant 
        communications about all of that; I just remember 
        hearing that he was killed, and there were no reports 
        of any other missing American citizens or any life, 
        limb, or eyesight threats to American personnel in the 
        original crisis point. Once we heard of that, and then 
        from that point we knew we were going to an ISB, for 
        sure. So there is no longer an in extremis, as we call 
        it, crisis, and personnel are safe, for a matter of 
        speaking, it became a much more deliberate planning 
        cycle.\492\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \492\Id. at 69-70.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                              *    *    *

        I was waiting for orders, to be honest with you, from 
        that point forward, outside of deploying. I knew I was 
        going to deploy. Aside from that, the scope of that 
        deployment in terms of a mission statement, was still 
        unknown.\493\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \493\Id. at 71.

    Once the U.S. based Special Operations Force was activated, 
the CIF--the closest military asset capable of quickly 
deploying to Benghazi--transitioned to a supporting role to 
help facilitate whatever mission was to be assigned to SOF 
forces.\494\ As such, the CIF's primary responsibility was then 
to simply get to the intermediate staging base prior to the 
U.S. based Special Operations Force and assist them as 
required.\495\ The CIF was essentially relegated to being an 
enabler of the U.S. based SOF, unless they were subsequently 
tasked otherwise.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \494\Repass Testimony at page 60.
    \495\Id. at 70.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ham disagreed that the CIF's sole role became to prepare 
for the U.S.-based Special Operations Force. He testified:

        Q: Did you anticipate as you did your planning that the 
        Commander's In-extremis Force was going to be relegated 
        to being nothing more than enablers for the National 
        Mission Force?

        A: In my view, that's an incorrect characterization of 
        the Commander's In-extremis Force.

                              *    *    *

        Q: [W]hat would be a more accurate characterization?

        A: Mr. Chairman, in my view, the Commander's In-
        extremis Force, again, these are specially trained, 
        equipped, prepared forces that can, as the name 
        implies, conduct missions in extremis. [Redacted text]

        [Redacted text] but they can, in fact, accomplish that 
        mission.

        And, Mr. Chairman, they do, in fact, have a mission to 
        receive and prepare for arrival of the National Mission 
        Force, but, in my view, their mission is much broader 
        than just that.

        Q: I think the tension that we're trying--particularly 
        those of us who have never served before--the tension 
        we're trying to reconcile is, when General Repass 
        testified--and he did a fantastic job, but one of the 
        impressions we were all left with based on his 
        testimony was, once the [U.S. SOF] was deployed, the 
        CIF's role then became to go to the ISB and await the 
        [U.S. SOF], which, in effect, took them out of the 
        realm of other assets that could deploy otherwise. That 
        is a fair characterization of his testimony.

        And I'm just wondering whether or not you agree that, 
        once both of those assets are put in place--the [U.S. 
        SOF], it's headed, it's got a longer travel time than 
        the CIF--that the CIF's job was to go to the ISB and 
        await the [U.S. SOF]?

        A: Mr. Chairman, I would say that that was one of their 
        missions, certainly, to facilitate the arrival and the 
        staging of the [U.S. SOF]. But, in my mind, that was an 
        operational force that was available to me, a highly 
        capable special operations force that was 
        available.\496\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \496\Ham Testimony at 91-92.

    Even still, Ham believed the CIF's failure to meet its 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
timeline was not justified and was inexcusable:

        Though I know now in hindsight that had the CIF made 
        its timelines, they would not have been in position to 
        affect the outcome as things eventually played out on 
        the ground, the reality is, they should have made their 
        timelines. And that's--there's no excuse for that. They 
        should have made their timelines. They should have been 
        postured for subsequent use. As it turns out, they 
        would not have been needed, but we didn't know that at 
        the time. So that, as I look back on this, the 
        disappointment of the Commander's In-extremis Force not 
        meeting its timeline is, to me, significant, and I 
        believe the steps taken by the command and by the 
        Department of Defense after that have addressed that 
        situation.\497\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \497\Id. at 108.

    The Secretary had this to say about the CIF's deployment 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
timeline:

        Q: Well that same unit then had to wait for aircraft 
        till about if you look at the timeline here, 10:21 a.m.

        So that N-hour that was set at 11 o'clock east coast 
        time on the night of the 11th, it was not until 11 
        hours later that EUCOM CIF was actually transported 
        down to Sigonella from Croatia.

        Does that timeframe seem reasonable to you, given what 
        you thought might be occurring in the region?

        A: I think it's a legitimate area to ask why did it 
        take that long.\498\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \498\Panetta Testimony at 176-177.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    PROBLEMS WITH US SOF DEPLOYMENT

    The U.S. SOF force is required to deploy within a specific 
number of hours after the order to deploy is given. As 
reflected in the Defense Department's timeline and after-action 
reviews, it actually took a significant amount of additional 
time to launch the U.S. SOF. Even given this delay, the U.S. 
SOF Force, which deployed from the United States, arrived at 
the staging base in southern Europe only an hour and a half 
after the CIF arrived.
    By the time CIF and the U.S. SOF Force landed at Sigonella, 
the crisis in Benghazi had ended. In fact, the units arrived in 
Sigonella nearly 12 hours after all U.S. personnel had 
evacuated from Benghazi. The assets ultimately deployed by the 
Defense Department in response to the Benghazi attacks were not 
positioned to arrive prior to the final lethal attack on the 
Annex. The fact that this is true does not mitigate the 
question of why the world's most powerful military was not 
positioned to respond or why the urgency and ingenuity 
displayed by team members at the Annex and Team Tripoli was 
seemingly not shared by all decision makers in Washington.
    What was disturbing from the evidence the Committee found 
was that at the time of the final lethal attack at the Annex, 
no asset ordered deployed by the Secretary had even left the 
ground. Not a single asset had launched, save the military 
personnel from Tripoli who did so on their own accord and whose 
presence no one in Washington seemed aware of when discussing 
which assets to deploy. Nothing was on its way to Benghazi as a 
result of the Secretary's initial order to deploy.
    More than 12 hours had passed since the first attack 
happened at the Mission compound, resulting in the death of 
Sean Smith (which was known) and Ambassador Stevens (which was 
not then known), yet in that time, the greatest military on 
earth was unable to launch one single asset toward the sound of 
the guns.
    The CIF's response timeline and the U.S. SOF's timeline 
exposed flaws in a process designed to ensure that when a 
crisis erupts, the military's decision and deployment cycles 
will prove adequate to the challenge being confronted.

        The U.S. Government's Response Lacked a Sense of Urgency

    Perhaps given the timing of the 7:30 p.m. meeting with the 
White House on September 11, shortly after all surviving State 
Department personnel had evacuated from the Mission compound to 
the Annex, there may have been a sense the worst of the attack 
was over. Indeed, Winnefeld stated when he was first briefed 
around 4:30 p.m. about the events in Benghazi, he recalled 
being told there had been an attack and the attack was 
over.\499\ The job left to be done was no longer a hostage 
rescue situation but was, at best, recovering Stevens from a 
hospital and, at worst, recovering Stevens's remains.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \499\Winnefeld Testimony at 11.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This sense, in fact, was false and should have been viewed 
as limited, if not false, at the time. As the participants of 
the White House meeting would soon learn, events were 
continuing to unfold on the ground in Benghazi. Those leaving 
the Benghazi Mission compound were attacked and ambushed en 
route to the Annex and once the Diplomatic Security Agents and 
Team Annex arrived at the Annex the attacks continued. 
Moreover, preparing for what could theoretically happen in 
Tripoli, or other cities and facilities was understandable. 
However, the lack of urgency in responding to what was actually 
happening on the ground in Benghazi is difficult to reconcile.
    Some may seek to argue a transferred focus onto Tripoli may 
explain why such topics as military attire, vehicles, and 
country clearances--topics that may seem irrelevant in a crisis 
situation--found their way into the discussions, and why other 
topics, such as deployment of the FEST, received short shrift. 
This belies the reality that--even as Bash indicated the assets 
were ``spinning up'' and the ensuing meeting took place--
Ambassador Stevens was missing in Benghazi. There is no 
evidence news of his death had reached Washington D.C. Indeed, 
news of his death could not have reached Washington D.C. 
because it was not known at the time. So, pivoting toward a 
Tripoli security analysis and the possibilities of unrest and 
violence there is hard to reconcile with the reality of what 
had happened in Benghazi, what was currently happening in 
Benghazi, and tragically what was soon to happen in Benghazi.
    With the storming of the compound in Benghazi, the killing 
of Smith, and Stevens missing, discussing the nature of the 
vehicles to be used and the clothing to be worn by those 
seeking to provide aid seemed to place a disproportionate 
emphasis on how the Libyan government might respond. After all, 
the Libyan government was supposed to play an active role in 
preventing the attack in the first instance and certainly in 
responding afterward.
    In addition, a fair review of read-outs and summaries of 
the White House meeting suggest the focus had already moved 
away from responding to Benghazi and toward responding to 
Tripoli and the broader region. Expressing concern about how 
forces might be received in Tripoli seems difficult to 
reconcile with an actively hostile security situation ongoing 
in Benghazi.

            The U.S. Government's Response Lacked Leadership

 THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT THOUGHT STATE WAS EVACUATING THE AMERICANS IN 
                                BENGHAZI

    The response to the attacks suffered from confusion and 
misinformation circulating between the agencies underscoring 
that no one effectively took charge of the U.S. Government's 
response the night and early morning of September 11-12. From 
the Defense Department's perspective, when the orders were 
issued, the plan on the ground was for the people in Benghazi, 
with the assistance from Team Tripoli, to make their way back 
to Tripoli. It would provide assets to augment the security in 
Tripoli where needed, and provide evacuation of the wounded and 
deceased. Several witnesses indicated that despite the 
Secretary's orders, the plan was not to insert any asset into 
Benghazi; their understanding was that assets needed to be sent 
to Tripoli to augment security at the Embassy, and that the 
State Department was working to move the State personnel from 
Benghazi to Tripoli.
    Tidd confirmed this understanding of the response plan 
following the 7:30 meeting with the White House:

        By the time we came out of the [White House meeting], 
        it was pretty clear that nobody was going to be left in 
        Benghazi. And so the decision--I think at the [White 
        House meeting] there was some discussion--but as I 
        recall, we weren't going to send them to Benghazi, 
        because everybody was going to be back in Tripoli by 
        the time we could actually get them there.\500\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \500\Tidd Testimony at 26.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    He further added:

        On the evening, at the time that all of this was 
        transpiring, our mindset, our sense was that everything 
        was going to Tripoli, that no one was left--or no one 
        would be left in Benghazi. So that--that's--that was 
        the mindset that we had.\501\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \501\Id. at 47.

    Even the diplomatic security timeline of events reflected 
this was the plan as understood by individuals on the ground in 
Libya. At approximately 10:15 p.m. in Washington D.C., the 
Diplomatic Security Command Center received a call from the CIA 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Annex in Tripoli relaying the following information:

        The Response Team has been on the ground for 
        approximately 60 minutes. They are waiting for to [sic] 
        escort them to the [redacted] annex.

                              *    *    *

        Once the six-member Response Team arrives they will 
        have non-essential employees and the remains of Sean P. 
        Smith depart.\502\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \502\DSCC Timeline.

    Word of the plan to evacuate the individuals from Benghazi 
seemed to spread throughout the State Department. Susan E. 
Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N., received an 
email update on the events of the evening which read: 
``Apparently the Department is considering an ordered departure 
of some personnel from both Tripoli and Benghazi.''\503\ One 
member of Team Tripoli also testified the plan, as he 
understood it, was to evacuate all non-essential personnel to 
Tripoli.\504\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \503\Email from Senior Advisor to the U.S. Permanent Representative 
to the U.N., to Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the 
U.N. (Sept. 11, 2012 10:37 PM) (on file with the Committee, 
SCB0051700).
    \504\Special Operator Testimony at 69.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yet several other witnesses believed a very different plan 
was in place: No one was evacuating until Stevens was 
found.\505\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \505\See DSCC Timeline (``[At 11:13 PM EDT] response team has 
arrived at the [redacted] Annex. Station is telling him all DS staff 
told to evacuate. [Redacted] has 3 people willing to stay behind. 
Director Bultrowicz stated no, DS will not evacuate all members due to 
the outstanding issue of the Ambassador.'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Defense Department was working off of the premise 
everyone in Benghazi was being evacuated, others were clear 
that no one was leaving, and even State Department senior 
officials did not authorize the Diplomatic Security Agents to 
evacuate until Stevens was found. The Committee was also struck 
by the sheer number of government officials involved in the 
decision making the evening/early morning hours of September 
11-12, who did not even know there was a separate U.S. facility 
in Benghazi referred to as the ``Annex'' or where the Annex 
was.
    The first time it is clear all agencies understood the 
people in Benghazi were evacuating to Tripoli was after the 
final, lethal mortar attack at 11:15 p.m. in Washington D.C., 
[5:15 a.m. in Benghazi]--and over seven hours after the initial 
attack.\506\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \506\See Email from Cheryl D. Mills, Chief of Staff to the U.S. 
Sec'y of State, U.S. Dep't of State, to Denis R. McDonough, Deputy 
Nat'l Sec. Advisor, White House (Sept. 12, 2012 12:12 AM) (on file with 
the Committee, SCB0051706) (``we're pulling everyone out of Benghazi 
[starting shortly]'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The lack of clarity on evacuation versus location of the 
missing Ambassador was not the only example of conflicting and 
confusing directives during the attacks and aftermath in 
Benghazi.
    The issue of military attire versus civilian clothes 
illustrated no one seemed to be taking charge and making final 
decisions. After the State Department request at the 7:30 p.m. 
White House meeting, the Defense Department began working the 
issue. Documents from the Defense Department show, and the FAST 
Platoon Commander testified it was well into the next afternoon 
on September 12th before the final decision was made. He 
testified further the Marines changed in and out of uniform and 
civilian clothes several times because the orders kept 
changing.

               THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT DID NOT ANTICIPATE 
                     ADDITIONAL ATTACKS IN BENGHAZI

    Several Defense Department witnesses testified that 
following the attack at the Benghazi Mission compound, they did 
not anticipate any additional attacks. Landolt explained:

        But you also have to remember that the first firefight 
        was around midnight. We didn't anticipate a second one 
        at 5:00 in the morning.

                              *    *    *

        Q: In terms of, though, after the first attack, was 
        there a sense that perhaps this thing had passed and 
        the dust had settled and---

        A: There was that sense.

        Q: Talk about that a little more. Was there a general 
        agreement amongst yourself and General Ham and Admiral 
        Leidig of that, well, we got through this thing with 
        minimal damage? Or what was the process? What was the 
        thought?

        A: Yeah, there was a sense that we needed more 
        information, that it looked like the initial attack had 
        ended. We had the one dead body on our hands, but we 
        still had a missing Ambassador. And then the Embassy, 
        through the DAT, was telling us that they were able to 
        get a plane and they were going to fly people over. So 
        I thought, okay, well, that will give us better 
        situational awareness. So there was that lull where, 
        Okay, let's wait and see what happens here.\507\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \507\Landolt Testimony at 33-34.

    Although the Defense Department did not anticipate an 
additional attack, the people on the ground in Benghazi most 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
assuredly did. One GRS agent on the ground testified:

        Q: Was there a sense from you that something was 
        building to something larger later in the evening?

        A: Yes. And what we were worried about was an even 
        larger force with gun-mounted weapons, which are much 
        larger, overtaking the compound.

        Q: Okay. But in terms of individuals with small arms, 
        that's something that you guys had sufficiently handled 
        and were able to continue handling based on your 
        defensive posture at the base?

        A: Right, but there was a limit to it. Like it's not 
        something that we could have done for days. I mean, we 
        were able to do it for as long as we could, but it 
        wasn't--there had to be something else.

        Q: Okay. Was there ever a sense throughout the evening 
        that the attacks were over and there was sort of a 
        calmness----

        A: Absolutely not.

        Q: --around the base?

        A: No. There were lulls, which are normal, but no, none 
        of us, and when I say ``us,'' the team, none of us 
        thought it was over, no.\508\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \508\GRS 5 Testimony at 65-66.


                THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT'S FOCUS SHIFTED 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      FROM BENGHAZI TO THE REGION

    The Defense Department's lack of comprehension of the 
events taking place in Benghazi, coupled with the emphasis on 
resolving potentially extraneous policy matters, hampered the 
administration's subsequent plan to respond to those events and 
dictated the urgency with which forces moved that night. As the 
CIF commander testified, their movements that night 
transitioned from crisis action to deliberate planning.\509\ 
Winnefeld explained why:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \509\CIF Commander Testimony at 69.

        I think there are a number of factors in play. One, it 
        wasn't a matter of not having enough urgency, I think 
        it was more a matter of posture, coupled with the fact 
        the focus was on regional challenges, not on something 
        additional was going to happen in Benghazi later that 
        night. And so when there was not the perception of an 
        immediate threat right there . . . people are going to 
        operate safely.\510\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \510\Winnefeld Testimony at 39-40.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                              *    *    *

        And remember, the reason we were moving the CIF, we 
        were moving it to, what, Sigonella. . . . It was not 
        because they were going to Benghazi.

                              *    *    *

        We were worried about the copycat attacks elsewhere in 
        the region. And so I think they were more in a--it 
        wasn't a lack of urgency, but it was--you know, they 
        keep safety in mind. It was, okay, there could be a 
        copycat attack; we need to reposture ourselves in 
        theater. Let's do it, but let's not kill ourselves 
        doing it.

        You know, in 20/20 hindsight, if anybody had known 
        there was going to be a second attack and that 
        potentially the CIF could end up going there, maybe 
        they would have asked that question that you're asking. 
        But again, their mindset was we're moving the CIF to 
        Sigonella because something else could happen in the 
        region.\511\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \511\Id. at 30-31.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
            THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT'S RESPONSE LACKED URGENCY

    Finally, the coordination for and deployment of the assets 
identified and ordered deployed by the Secretary lacked any 
real sense of urgency.
    The Defense Department knew of the initial attack in 
Benghazi, which killed Sean P. Smith, less than an hour after 
the attack began.
    Two hours after this initial attack began, the Secretary 
had met with the President and been given all of the authority 
he believed he needed to ``use all of the resources at our 
disposal to try to make sure we did everything possible to try 
to save lives there.''\512\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \512\Panetta Testimony at 23.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Three hours after the initial attack began, Bash emailed 
senior leaders at the State Department to inform them of the 
assets that could be deployed in response to the attack.
    Five hours after the initial attack began, formal 
authorization to deploy the assets was issued.
    Instead of setting the N hour at the time the Secretary of 
Defense gave his order before Bash's email, or even setting the 
N hour at the time orders were issued to the forces at 8:39 
p.m., the Joint Staff coordinated with the U.S. SOF force to 
ask, ``What would you like to set as N hour?''\513\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \513\Email from Vice Admiral Kurt Tidd, Dir. of Operations, J. 
Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Dep't of Defense, to Deputy Dir. of Operations, 
et al. (Sept. 11, 2012 8:53PM) (on file with the Committee, SCB001376).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Given the urgency of the Secretary's intended deployment of 
these units and particularly in light of what was continuing to 
happen in Benghazi, this cannot be justified, particularly 
since it was already known the likelihood of further unrest in 
the region was significant.
    N hour was ultimately set at 11:00 p.m.--more than seven 
hours after the attacks in Benghazi began, more than four hours 
after the Secretary gave the order to deploy the forces, and 
more than two hours after that order was finally relayed to the 
forces. Though, Petraeus quipped to the Committee, ``N hour has 
nothing to do with this whatsoever, with great respect. That is 
completely irrelevant[,]'' the setting of the N hour was 
symptomatic of a larger lack of urgency in responding to the 
situation on the ground.\514\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \514\Testimony of General David A. Petraeus, Dir., Cent. Intel. 
Agency, Tr. at 16 (Mar. 19, 2016) [hereinafter Petraeus Testimony 2] 
(on file with the Committee).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Almost six hours after first learning of the initial attack 
on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, no asset had been deployed to 
Benghazi or Tripoli. Moreover, no asset ordered by the 
Secretary was even moving toward Benghazi or Tripoli aside from 
military personnel in Tripoli who mustered the ingenuity, 
courage, and resolve to ferry themselves toward danger. At the 
White House, McDonough knew at 11:45 p.m. the situation in 
Benghazi remained ``fluid,'' Stevens was still ``unaccounted 
for,'' and one State Department officer had been killed. He 
included this in his 11:45 p.m. email on September 11.
    Despite the fact that more than six hours had lapsed 
between the time the first attack was known and the time of 
this email, McDonough was still speaking of assets 
``deploying'' rather than assets deployed. If there is evidence 
McDonough placed calls or sent emails inquiring about the 
status of the deployment, the White House has not shared that 
evidence with the Committee. Rather, what was learned is 
McDonough made mention of calling ``YouTube'' to request the 
taking down of two videos, and he references having had the 
Secretary call ``Pastor Jones to ask him to pull down his 
video.'' Why McDonough had time to concern himself with ``You 
Tube'' videos while an Ambassador was missing and unaccounted 
for remains unclear. And why the Secretary of Defense was used 
to call ``You Tube'' and a ``pastor'' about a video--that had 
not and would not be linked to the attacks in Benghazi--rather 
than inquiring about the status of the asset deployment he 
ordered five hours earlier is also unclear.
    What is clear is the United States Government sent 
personnel into a dangerous post-revolution environment in 
Benghazi, Libya. Those sent displayed heroism and valor. They 
also displayed a sense of urgency in discharging the mission 
assigned to them. Chris Stevens had the urgency to travel to 
Benghazi because decisions needed to be made before the end of 
the fiscal year. Chris Stevens felt the urgency to assign 
himself to cover a one-week gap in the Principal Officer 
position in Benghazi.
    Those Americans assigned to work at a nearby Annex had the 
sense of urgency to fight their way onto the Benghazi Mission 
compound because a sister U.S. agency was under attack. 
Diplomatic Security Agents had the urgency to return time and 
time again into a burning building in search of Smith and 
Stevens. Diplomatic Security Agents and the team from the Annex 
no doubt felt the urgency when they fought their way from the 
compound to the Annex overcoming point-blank machine gun fire 
and grenade attacks.
    Team Tripoli sensed the urgency of what was happening in 
Benghazi and negotiated for private aircraft to race toward the 
danger in defense of fellow Americans. Tyrone S. Woods and Glen 
A. Doherty felt the urgency of defending a second U.S. facility 
against a series of coordinated attacks before ultimately being 
killed by precision mortar attacks.
    There was life and death urgency felt in Libya with split-
second decisions being made: Do I fire on this crowd or not? Do 
we fire in the direction of a residence or not? Do we return to 
a smoke and fire engulfed building yet again in search of 
fallen colleagues? Do we go to the hospital to find Stevens or 
to the Annex? How do we fly from Tripoli to Benghazi?
    If that same degree of urgency was felt among the decision 
makers in Washington it is not reflected in the time within 
which decisions were made nor in the topics being debated in 
and around the deployment.
    The ``tyranny of time and distance'' may well explain why 
no U.S. military asset--save the bravery of the men serving in 
Tripoli--made it to Benghazi. It does not explain why no asset 
was even headed toward Benghazi. The ``tyranny of time and 
distance'' does not explain why Washington D.C. leaders were 
preoccupied with ancillary issues when they were responsible 
for sending our fellow Americans into harm's way in the first 
instance.
    Half of the action items that emerged from the White House 
meeting convened in response to the killing of an American 
Foreign Service officer and an attack on an American diplomatic 
facility related to a video. Half. There is more of a record of 
phone calls from White House officials to ``YouTube'' and a 
virtually anonymous ``pastor'' than there were calls imploring 
the Defense Department to move with greater urgency. The 
preoccupation the administration felt with safeguarding the 
feelings of the Libyan government and dealing with an anti-
Muslim video (which video prompted no change in force posture 
or readiness even after protests erupted in Cairo) is a 
foreshadowing of what would become an administration wide 
effort to conflate that same video with the attacks in 
Benghazi.

                                PART II:

                     Internal and Public Government

                   Communications about the Terrorist

                          Attacks in Benghazi

``Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Queda-
like
[sic] group.''

                        The Secretary of State to her daughter, 
                        September 11,
                        2012\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Email from Hillary R. Clinton (``H''), Sec'y of State, U.S. 
Dep't of State, to Chelsea Clinton (``Diane Reynolds'') (Sept. 11, 
2012, 11:12 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05795467).

``We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the
film. It was a planned attack--not a protest.''

                        Summary of a statement by the Secretary 
                        of State
                        to the Egyptian Prime Minister, 
                        September 12, 2012\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\Email from U.S. Dep't of State, to S_CallNotes, (Sept. 12, 2012, 
7:11 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05561911).

``To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet 
video,
and not a broader failure of policy.''

                        Benjamin J. Rhodes, defining one of the 
                        goals of Am-
                        bassador Susan E. Rice's appearances on 
                        the Sun-
                        day news programs following the 
                        Benghazi attacks,
                        September 14, 2012\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\Email from Benjamin J. Rhodes, Deputy Nat'l Sec. Advisor for 
Strategic Commc'cs, Nat'l Sec. Council, to Dagoberto Vega, Special 
Ass't to the President and Dir. of Broadcast Media, White House, et al. 
(Sept. 14, 2012, 8:09 PM) [hereinafter Rhodes Memo] (on file with the 
Committee, C05415285).

``I gave Hillary a hug and shook her hand, and she said we are
going to have the filmmaker arrested who was responsible for
the death of my son.''

                        Diary entry of Charles Woods, father of 
                        Tyrone Woods,
                        September 14, 2012\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Fox News Insider, Father of Benghazi Victim Reveals Journal 
Entry Documenting Meeting With Hillary, YouTube (Jan. 13, 2016), http:/
/www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMx0huMabos.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                        The Security Environment

    The attacks in Benghazi did not occur in a vacuum. They 
took place amidst a severely deteriorating security situation 
in eastern Libya--a permissive environment where extremist 
organizations were infiltrating the region, setting up camps, 
and carrying out attacks against Western targets.\5\ In June 
2012, State Department security officials were discussing ``an 
active terrorist cell in Benghazi'' that was ``planning and 
implementing attack operations against western interests 
including the U.S. Mission in Benghazi[.]''\6\ That same month 
another security official in Libya reported to Washington about 
the ``increase in extremist activity'' and described his ``fear 
that we have passed a threshold where we will see more 
targeting, attacks, and incidents involving western 
targets.''\7\ The official cited a series of recent attacks and 
noted that a source had warned of a ``group attack'' on an 
American facility.\8\ He specifically mentioned ``[t]argeting 
[and] attacks by extremist groups particularly in the eastern 
portion of Libya,'' where Benghazi is located.\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\This deteriorating security environment is discussed in detail 
in Section III of the report.
    \6\Memorandum from James Bacigalupo, Regional Dir. of the Near East 
Asia Bureau of Diplomatic Sec., U.S. Dep't of State, to Charlene Lamb, 
Deputy Ass't Sec'y for Diplomatic Sec., U.S. Dep't of State (June 15, 
2012) (on file with the Committee, C05578316).
    \7\Email from Diplomatic Sec. Agent 24, U.S. Dep't of State, to 
Diplomatic Sec. Agent 25, U.S. Dep't of State (June 14, 2012) (on file 
with the Committee, C05388987).
    \8\Id.
    \9\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In the months leading up to September 11, 2012, several 
major security incidents had taken place in Benghazi against 
Western targets, including:

     LApril 2, 2012: Attack on a United Kingdom [UK] 
armored vehicle;

     LApril 6, 2012: Improvised Explosive Device [IED] 
attack on the State Department facility in Benghazi;

     LApril 10, 2012: IED attack on the motorcade of 
the United Nations Envoy;

     LApril 27, 2012: IED attack on a courthouse in 
Benghazi;

     LMay 22, 2012: Rocket Propelled Grenade [RPG] 
attack on the International Committee for the Red Cross [ICRC] 
facility in Benghazi;

     LJune 6, 2012: IED attack on the State Department 
facility in Benghazi;

     LJune 11, 2012: RPG attack on the UK Ambassador's 
motorcade;

     LJune 12, 2012: RPG attack on the ICRC;

     LJuly 29, 2012: IED found at Tibesti Hotel; and

     LAugust 5, 2012: Attack on the ICRC facility.

    The threat environment in Benghazi was so severe that on 
September 11, 2012, on the anniversary of September 11, one 
Diplomatic Security agent in Benghazi feared an attack that 
night and was not planning on going to sleep. He testified:

        You know, I wasn't going to go to sleep that night. I 
        was probably going to stay up throughout the night just 
        because, one, it's September 11, you know, and what was 
        happening in Egypt. So if anything was to happen, it 
        would happen late at night, early morning. So I wasn't 
        going to go to bed. I believe [Agent 2] was along the 
        same mindset, but we hadn't ratified whether, yes, this 
        is what we are doing. It was just people are going to 
        stay up. I had taken my weapon and ammunition and put 
        it in my room. [Agent 2] had done the same thing. And I 
        believe they had--[Agent 5] had his weapon with him as 
        well in his room.\10\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \10\Testimony of Diplomatic Security Agent 1 [Agent 1], Diplomatic 
Sec. Agent, U.S. Dep't of State, Tr. at 49-50 (Mar. 6, 2015) 
[hereinafter Agent 1 Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

    Sean P. Smith, the Information Management Officer at the 
Benghazi Mission compound, also feared an attack, telling a 
community of online gamers shortly before the attack: 
``[A]ssuming we don't die tonight. We saw one of our `police' 
that guard the compound taking pictures.''\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\Matt Smith, Ex-SEALs, Online Gaming Maven among Benghazi Dead, 
CNN (Sept. 13, 2012, 8:53 PM), http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/13/us/
benghazi-victims.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    It was against this backdrop that the September 11, 2012 
attacks against U.S. facilities in Benghazi took place.

                         THE PROTESTS IN CAIRO

    In Cairo, Egypt earlier that day, approximately 2,000 
protestors demonstrated outside the U.S. Embassy--a protest 
that began in the middle of the day.\12\ A handful of 
protestors scaled the embassy wall, tore down the American 
flag, and sprayed graffiti inside the compound.\13\ Some 
protestors were eventually removed by Egyptian police. No 
Americans were injured or killed in the event.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \12\See, e.g., Email to Susan E. Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., 
et al., (Sept. 11, 2012, 7:55 PM) (on file with the Committee, 
C05390691).
    \13\See, e.g., id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In Cairo, protests had been planned for days in advance on 
social media as a result of a video posted on YouTube about the 
prophet Muhammad.\14\ On September 10, 2012, the CIA warned of 
social media chatter calling for a demonstration in front of 
the Embassy in Cairo,\15\ and Americans at the Embassy were 
sent home early due to the impending protests.\16\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \14\Sara Lynch and Oren Dorell, Deadly embassy attacks were days in 
the making, USA Today, (Sept. 12, 2012, 8:36 PM), http://
usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2012/09/12/libyan-
officials-us-ambassador-killed-in-attack/57752828/1.
    \15\See, e.g., email from Victoria J. Nuland, Spokesperson, U.S. 
Dep't of State, to Erin Pelton, Dir. of Commc'cs and Spokesperson, U.S. 
Mission to the U.N. (Sept. 15, 2012, 7:18 PM) (on file with the 
Committee, C05622933).
    \16\Egypt Protesters Scale U.S. Embassy Wall, Take Flag, CBS/AP 
(Sept. 11, 2012, 5:16 PM), http://www.cbsnews.com/news/egypt-
protesters-scale-us-embassy-wall-take-flag.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Although the attacks in Benghazi occurred later on the same 
day, they had little else in common with the Cairo protests. 
Significant differences included:

     LIn Cairo, plans for the protest appeared on 
social media well before the actual demonstration.\17\ In 
Benghazi the attacks occurred without warnings on social 
media;\18\

    \17\Sara Lynch and Oren Dorell, Deadly embassy attacks were days in 
the making, USA Today, Sept. 16, 2012.
    \18\See, e.g., Testimony of Tripoli Chief of Station, Cent. Intel. 
Ageny, Tr. at 42-45, July 16, 2015 [hereinafter Tripoli COS Testimony] 
(on file with the Committee).

     LIn Cairo, protestors did not brandish or use 
weapons.\19\ In Benghazi, attackers were armed with assault 
weapons, rocket propelled grenades, and sophisticated 
mortars;\20\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \19\See, e.g., Email to Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Rep. to the 
U.N. (Sept. 11, 2012, 7:55 PM) [hereinafter 7:55 P.M. Rice Email] (on 
file with Committee, C053906910).
    \20\See, e.g., Benghazi Accountability Review Board at 4, U.S. 
Dep't of State [hereinafter Benghazi ARB].

     LIn Cairo, protestors spray painted walls and did 
other minor damage.\21\ In Benghazi, the attackers burned down 
buildings and pounded U.S. facilities with mortars and machine 
gun fire;\22\ and
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \21\7:55 P.M. Rice Email, supra note 19.
    \22\Benghazi ARB, supra note 20, at 4.

     LIn Cairo, the protest was confined to a single 
location.\23\ In Benghazi, the attacks spanned nearly eight 
hours over two different locations.\24\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \23\See, e.g., 7:55 P.M. Rice Email, supra note 19.
    \24\Benghazi ARB, supra note 20, at 4.

    Diplomatic Security personnel in Washington D.C. recognized 
differences as well. At 5:13 p.m. on September 11, 2012 James 
Bacigalupo, Regional Director for Diplomatic Security, Near 
Eastern Affairs Bureau, State Department, notified all regional 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
security officers:

        Within the last few hours we have had one demonstration 
        in which protestors infiltrated the perimeter of the 
        compound in Cairo and an armed attack on our compound 
        in Benghazi. Both are currently on-going and may be in 
        response to the release of an anti-Islamic documentary 
        and upcoming demonstration by Terry Jones this 
        evening.\25\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \25\Email from James Bacigalupo, Regional Dir. of the Near East 
Asia Bureau of Diplomatic Sec., U.S. Dep't of State, to DS-IP-NEA-RSO 
(Sept. 11, 2012, 5:13 PM) (on file with the Committee, SCB0048896).

    The differences also were noted by senior State Department 
officials as well. Victoria J. Nuland, Spokesperson, State 
Department, sent an email at 6:09 p.m. that included Jacob J. 
Sullivan, Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Policy 
Planning, State Department, and Patrick F. Kennedy, Under 
Secretary for Management, State Department, among others. 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Nuland wrote:

        [Please] put out as two separate statements to bullpen, 
        asap. On record, me.

        We can confirm that our office in Benghazi, Libya has 
        been attacked by a group of militants. We are working 
        with the Libyans now to try to restore security.

        In Cairo, we can confirm that Egyptian police have now 
        removed the demonstrators who had entered our Embassy 
        grounds earlier.

        For [press] guidance, if pressed whether we see a 
        connection between these two.

        We have no information regarding a connection between 
        these incidents.\26\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \26\Email from Victoria Nuland, Spokesperson, U.S. Dep't of State, 
to Elizabeth Dibble, Deputy Ass't Sec'y in the Bureau of Near Eastern 
Affairs, U.S. Dep't of State, et al. (Sept. 11, 2012, 6:09 PM) (on file 
with the Committee, C05578255).

               WHAT BENGHAZI REPORTED DURING THE ATTACKS

    All five Diplomatic Security agents at the Benghazi Mission 
spoke with the Diplomatic Security Command Center while the 
attacks were ongoing. Agent 5, the Diplomatic Security agent 
who was with Smith and Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher 
Stevens during the attack, recounted his story:

        Okay, so the evening started with [Agent 4], [Agent 2] 
        and I sitting at a table near the pool at the end of 
        the night. Ambassador Stevens had come by and said, I'm 
        going to bed. Sean Smith said the same thing and went, 
        you know, went inside the villa, and we were just 
        sitting out kind of relaxing at the end of the night.

        While we were talking, I started hearing some kind of 
        chanting, I thought it was. So I told the others, you 
        know, I told the other two, hang on. Just listen for a 
        minute. And what we heard was chanting. And it was my 
        impression that it was coming closer. You know, so 
        immediately when I realized, you know, that this is a 
        potential security incident, or a potential something, 
        I said, you know, get your gear, right now. I ran into 
        Villa C where the Ambassador and Sean Smith were and 
        the other two ran in a different direction.

        I remember hearing the chants. I mean, they were fairly 
        close already. I mean, yelling distance, which is 
        pretty close especially in a city setting. So my 
        impression is that I don't have much time. So I ran 
        right to my room, you know, put my helmet on, put my 
        vest on, grabbed my weapons, my additional weapons, and 
        I turned to lock the gate, and basically, it was a jail 
        cell door with three locks on it. I locked all three 
        locks.

        And at about that time, Ambassador Stevens and Sean 
        Smith were coming out of their rooms. Sean Smith was 
        already, you know, donning his helmet and vest. I 
        guided them both into the safe haven, and I set myself 
        up in the safe haven with--I was holding my M4. I had a 
        pistol, a radio, a shotgun, and when we were, you know, 
        when we were in there, I radioed the other guy, hey, we 
        are all in the safe haven.

        I could hear outside explosions, yelling, chanting, 
        screaming, gunfire, and I reported all of this on the 
        radio just saying, this is what my senses are telling 
        me. Then people started banging on the doors of the 
        building, so I reported that. Hey, there is banging on 
        the doors. They are trying to come in, you know, we 
        need immediate assistance. And there wasn't any 
        response on the radio. Shortly after that, to my 
        recollection, the doors were blown open. And about 70 
        individuals, you know, rushed into the building, all of 
        them carrying AK-47s, grenades, RPGs, you know, a 
        mixture throughout everyone. Different--there were a 
        couple of different assault rifles.

        And with the number of individuals that came into the 
        building versus me, I chose just to stay in the shadow 
        that I was in. So I was partially in the safe haven, 
        partially outside the safe haven. This area was, you 
        know, there was a big shadow where I was sitting, and 
        my view through the jail cell door was into the common 
        area. So I could see where everybody was going, and 
        they began breaking everything. I could just hear glass 
        breaking. I could hear stuff being thrown around. I 
        could hear furniture being moved.

        If I may just back up a little bit. When we made it 
        into the safe haven, I handed my cell phone to the 
        Ambassador. I said, call everybody on my cell phone. 
        Call everybody that you know that can help us. At one 
        point, I handed Sean Smith the shotgun, but just like 
        me and everybody else that was in the safe haven, we 
        were scared. But as a security professional with my 
        military training and my agent training, I'm trained to 
        remain more calm than a non-security professional.

        So I took the weapon back from him seeing that he was 
        visibly shaken. And I just waited to see what was 
        unfolding. I was on the radio the whole time updating, 
        you know, whispering. Turned the volume way down, you 
        know, hey guys, they are in the building. Shortly after 
        that, two individuals came up to the jail cell door and 
        took out their AK-47s, and they are beating on the jail 
        cell door. They also had grenades on them. And I 
        thought they were going to take the grenades off and 
        pit them on the locks and blow the locks.

        So I tuned to the Ambassador, and said, you know, if 
        they take their grenades off the door and put them on 
        the locks, I'm going to start shooting. And when I go 
        down, pick up the gun, and keep fighting. Thankfully, 
        they didn't put the grenades on the locks. And they 
        just kind of turned away, and walked to a different, 
        you know, part of the house that I couldn't really see.

        And then slowly, people started to kind of trickle out. 
        And then the lights started to kind of dim. My initial 
        response or my initial thought was, well, they just 
        knocked out the generators. You know, we have regular 
        city power but we also have backup generators. So 
        flickering would be a likely, you know, cause of this. 
        But in reality, it was smoke. And it took me about, you 
        know, two or three seconds after that to determine that 
        it was smoke.

        As soon as I realized it was smoke, I turned to the 
        Ambassador and Sean Smith and said, we are moving to 
        the bathroom. And at that time, grabbed the Ambassador, 
        Sean Smith was right behind him and we started crawling 
        towards the bathroom. It's about a three- to four--
        meter crawl. And it only took seconds for us to reach--
        to reach the hallway that the bathroom was in. But by 
        that time--seconds later, the smoke had already filled 
        the entire room and I began basically army crawling 
        like on my belly, and breathing though my hands like 
        this, the last, you know, centimeter of air that was 
        left.

        And as soon as it became that thick, no light was 
        visible from the lights that were fully on. The sounds 
        were, you know, crackling and breaking of things from 
        heat. And so to lead them to the bathroom, I was 
        saying, Come on guys, follow me. And I was slapping my 
        hands on the floor, or you know, hitting stuff with my 
        hands if I felt anything. Like come on, you guys, 
        follow me. Come on. We are going to the bathroom.

        So I make it to the bathroom and nobody follows me in. 
        The whole time I was slapping and saying, come on, 
        follow me. My intention of going to the bathroom is 
        because if we made it to the bathroom, I know there is 
        a window that we can open. So what we would do is go 
        into the bathroom, close the door, wet towels on the 
        floor and open the window. And we could last, you know 
        probably much longer in the bathroom than anywhere else 
        in the house.

        But because nobody followed me in, I wasn't going to 
        close the door. So thinking about how I can better the 
        situation, I open the window. And I thought that that 
        could you know, provide some, you know, the lights in 
        the bathroom. I could provide some light, or I could 
        provide, you know, someplace with air and they could 
        see that. But by opening the window, I stood up to open 
        the window, and I thought my face was on fire. And I 
        opened the window anyway and it just became a chimney 
        and all the smoke started, you know, pouring out of the 
        window and being sucked in my direction.

        Because at that point that--I started to pass out. I 
        could feel myself becoming weak and just overcome with 
        smoke and heat. So I got back on the floor, took off my 
        M4, because crawling with a slung weapon is extremely 
        difficult. It was getting hung up on things, and I 
        didn't want to be stuck in that building because of my 
        M4. So I threw it in the bathroom, just left it there 
        and started crawling towards my bedroom. And when I 
        decided to do that, I was very clear to anybody else 
        who could hear me, I'm moving to my bedroom. Come on 
        guys, I'm moving to my bedroom. The whole time I'm 
        hitting the floor, slapping, yelling. Come on, guys. 
        Come on, you can do it. Let's go. Let's go. We are 
        moving to my bedroom.

        So I crawled to my bedroom. And as soon as I passed the 
        threshold to my bedroom, you know, I had seconds left 
        of life, essentially. And so I quickly went over to my 
        window and started to crank open the metal shutters, 
        but I was cranking the wrong way. So I had to turn back 
        and crank it the other way. Then I had to open up the 
        glass window, and then I had to pull a pin and push out 
        this big metal gate. And as soon as I did that, I 
        collapsed on to my little patio area.

        And around the patio area was, you know, maybe a 2\1/
        2\-foot tall cinderblock wall. And as soon as I went 
        out there, I just started taking fire immediately. I 
        remember hearing explosions, which I equate to 
        grenades. I remember feeling the cement exploding and 
        hitting me in the face. And I remember the sounds. So 
        after catching my breath, I jumped back into the 
        building and I searched for the Ambassador and Sean 
        Smith. I went as far as my threshold, and reached out 
        into the--into the area we had just come from to see if 
        I could feel anybody. But the smoke and heat were so 
        intense that, I mean, the smoke was coming in though my 
        eyes, even though they were closed. It was coming in 
        through my nose. And I stayed in there until I could--
        physically couldn't do it any more.

        When I was in the Navy, they engrain in you, 110 
        percent. And most people don't think you can do 110 
        percent, but it's part of my character. I do 110 
        percent and I stayed in there until--until I physically 
        could not and mentally could not stay in there any 
        longer.

        I went back out of the building, caught my breath on 
        the patio again, immediately taking rounds, the same 
        stuff, whizzing, you know, jumped back into the 
        building, and I had intentions--you know, I was just 
        thinking of any way that I could possibly signal them 
        or let them know where I was besides yelling and 
        slapping and hitting stuff.

        And I remembered that I had a lamp in my room, and I 
        went over to my lamp and I turned on my lamp, thinking 
        that they could see it in the smoke. But it didn't turn 
        on. And so I held it up to my eye to see if it was 
        working, and I remember seeing a very faint glow when 
        it was this close. I remember feeling the heat of the 
        lamp, and I could just barely see the actual light from 
        it.

        That's how thick the smoke was. And I went back to my 
        threshold, searched around, still yelling, still 
        saying, ``Come on guys,'' you know, to my bedroom. No 
        response. Nothing. I went back out and caught my breath 
        again, still taking rounds. And I went back in one or 
        two more times to try and find them, and I couldn't. 
        The last time I went out, you know, I decided that if I 
        went back into the building that I wasn't going to come 
        back out. The smoke and heat were way too powerful, and 
        way too strong, and it was extremely confusing feeling 
        my way in a smoke-filled building. And I didn't want to 
        get lost, and so I decided to climb up the ladder up to 
        the roof.

        I climbed up the ladder, and pulled up the ladder 
        behind me and that's the moment that I knew that 
        Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith were probably dead. 
        Immediately, upon getting up to the roof, I started 
        radioing for my colleagues, you know, telling them the 
        situation, you know, telling them my situation, you 
        know, I am exhausted. I am completely exhausted. I gave 
        everything I had. And I'm still thinking of ways to 
        help, still thinking of ways to get the guys out.

        So I remember that we have a skylight in the top of the 
        building, and so I, you know, we had a little stash of 
        gear up on the roof. So I went over and I grabbed an M4 
        magazine and I climbed up on to this little platform 
        which is near the window. But it's protected by these 
        metal bars. And I couldn't break the window. But I 
        remember yelling and hitting it as hard as I possibly 
        could.

        The bad guys saw me up there, started shooting at me 
        again. I remember seeing tracer fire right over my 
        head. I remember hearing the whizzing of the rounds 
        going past me. And so I climbed, you know, back down 
        off the ledge and just got on the radio. ``Hey, guys, 
        I'm on a frying pan. This thing is hot. The smoke is 
        coming out of the building and going right on to the 
        roof. If I pick my head up I'm getting shot at, and I 
        can't--I can't do this forever.''

        Finally, over the radio, [Agent 4] says, ``[Agent 5], 
        we are coming to get you.'' You know, at that time a 
        couple of seconds were gone, and he was like, ``Hang 
        on. Hang on. We are coming to get you'' I don't know 
        how long I was up on the roof, but for me it was a 
        while.

        Finally, the other guys came over in a fully-armored 
        vehicle and parked right at the base of kind of my 
        location and set up a small perimeter, called me down 
        off the roof. I climbed down and they were all amazed 
        to see me still alive. Just my condition was, you know, 
        my face was black. My eyeballs were black. My nose was 
        black. Everything I had was black. But as a security 
        professional, I said, ``Give me a gun.'' [Agent 2] gave 
        me a 9-millimeter pistol which I was a little unhappy 
        about, but I took it anyway and stood--stood a position 
        on the outside.

        And [Agent 4]--[Agent 4] and [Agent 1] tried to go 
        inside the building and find them, but shortly after 
        that, their report was way too hot, way too smokey. You 
        know, we are going to get lost in there. Somebody is 
        going to die if we keep this up.\27\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \27\Testimony of Diplomatic Security Agent 5 [Agent 5], Diplomatic 
Sec. Agent, U.S. Dep't of State, Tr. at 123 (Apr. 1, 2015) [hereinafter 
Agent 5 Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

    Agent 3, Diplomatic Security agent in charge at the 
Benghazi Mission compound, testified he was in constant contact 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
with the Diplomatic Security Command Center:

        I was in the best position to see the attacks happen, 
        unfold. I was in the TOC [Tactical Operations Center] 
        at the special mission compound. I manned the cameras. 
        You guys have seen the video. Any time you see the 
        camera moving, that's me. Subsequently, I was also in a 
        position to review the cameras and be aware of all the 
        situational awareness at the second compound, all of 
        which I have shared. Much of the attack was passed in 
        real-time through my phone to DS command center.\28\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \28\Testimony of Diplomatic Security Agent 3 [Agent 3], Diplomatic 
Sec. Agent, U.S. Dep't of State, Tr. at 77 (Oct. 8, 2013) [hereinafter 
Agent 3 Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Agent 3 also testified about what he saw:

        It was 9:42 at night, and I was wrapping up work and 
        had some emails. My shift should have been done three 
        or four hours earlier. I'm in the TOC office in the TOC 
        building. I hear several, three to four, gunshots and 
        an explosion that seemed substantially closer than what 
        I heard earlier, which was the fireworks. The fireworks 
        I kind of expected to happen every night at about 9:30 
        give or take. Initially I thought they were just a 
        little bit late.

        So I get up. I go to the window, which is actually 
        covered by two bookcases and has sandbags on the 
        outside, so not to see anything, but actually to hear a 
        little better I go to the window. I think I heard the 
        shots or explosions first and then something more 
        subsequent than that, either an additional explosion or 
        additional gunfire, that sounded very close. I turn. I 
        glance maybe a second, probably less, at the 
        surveillance camera monitors and see a large group of 
        personnel coming on. They're already on the compound, 
        effectively in the middle of compound C. Right where 
        this small roundabout is, there's a camera on a pole 
        there. And I saw a large group. My original assessment 
        was 16 to 20 armed men, a couple of them with 
        banners[.]\29\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \29\Id. at 135-136.

    Agent 3 testified this information was being relayed back 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
to the Diplomatic Security Command Center [DSCC]:

        We are relaying what is going on via the cameras, where 
        slowly the barrack buildings [Villa C], which is one of 
        the villas on the compound on the map, is set on fire, 
        and then slowly those forces migrate over to our side, 
        where they pin us in, basically, in both of our 
        locations, in Villa B and the TOC building, where they 
        proceed to gain entry into Villa B and attempt to kick 
        the door in to the TOC building for 10 to 15 minutes. . 
        . . [t]he situation on the ground was rough out there. 
        There was heavy weapons. Some guys have grenades that 
        have already gone off. Everybody is armed with either a 
        pistol or a long gun. Somebody shows up at some point 
        with, like, a bazooka. So it is tough.\30\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \30\Id. at 145-146.

    Diplomatic Security Agent 1 called the DSCC when attackers 
were attempting to break into the room where he and another 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
agent had barricaded themselves. He testified:

        Q: You mentioned earlier that you used your BlackBerry 
        to call the DS Command Center. When did you first call 
        the DS Command Center during this sequence of events?

        A: So before they breached, when they made the first 
        attempt, the first attempt they didn't breach into the 
        room yet. But it was imminent that they were going to 
        breach and they were going to come in. So at that point 
        we bunkered in and started to proceed making calls. So 
        [Agent 2] was calling Tripoli and I called the Command 
        Center. I believe it was 18 minutes after the 
        attack.\31\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \31\Agent 1 Testimony at 62.

    Diplomatic Security Agent 2 also spoke with the DSCC during 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
the attacks. He testified:

        I stayed on the roof of that building for the majority 
        of the night. I made several phone calls back and forth 
        to the DS Command Center in D.C. relaying information. 
        I also made phone calls to one of the Ambassador's 
        contacts to try to get some atmospherics about what was 
        going on in the rest of the city, should we need to do 
        a ground evac.\32\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \32\Testimony of [Agent 2], Diplomatic Sec. Agent, U.S. Dep't of 
State, Tr. at 100 (Mar. 19, 2015) [hereinafter Agent 2 Testimony] (on 
file with the Committee).

    Agent 2 told the Committee he was providing ``general 
situational awareness'' to the DSCC so they could ``make 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
accurate decisions.'' He testified:

        A: Yeah. He wanted to know the status of the 
        accountability of the Americans who were on post, 
        specifically the Ambassador, what information we had. 
        There were also additional reports coming in that the 
        Ambassador might have been at a hospital in a burn unit 
        and we were trying to verify the validity of those 
        claims. And then just general situational awareness for 
        the Command Center in D.C.

        Q: So your sense of kind of your--what you were doing 
        there was kind of giving an ongoing as things were 
        unfolding so that they would have the information to 
        help assess how to continue responding?

        A: Yes. My intent was to provide them the information 
        that I had so they had timely information so they could 
        make accurate decisions.\33\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \33\Id. at 102.

    Diplomatic Security Agent 4 testified it was his job to 
``immediately'' contact the DSCC in the event of an attack.\34\ 
He testified about the beginning of the attack:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \34\Testimony of Diplomatic Security Agent 4 [Agent 4], Diplomatic 
Sec. Agent, U.S. Dep't of State, Tr. at 85 (Mar. 16, 2015) [hereinafter 
Agent 4 Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

        Q: Would it be then an accurate description to describe 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        the attack as sort of a stealth attack?

        A: It was very sudden. As I had mentioned, the only 
        warning that I had that something was amiss was that--
        kind of that cry that I heard at the main gate. So it 
        was very sudden.\35\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \35\Id. at 144.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Agent 4 also testified of the attack:

        A: No, I never told them that there was a protest.

        Q: Was it your assessment that there was a protest?

        A: No.

        Q: Do you believe there was a protest?

        A: I don't.\36\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \36\Id. at 155.

    At the Diplomatic Security Command Center, Charlene R. 
Lamb, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs, 
State Department, was monitoring the situation in real time and 
was aware of the reports coming in from the agents under attack 
in Benghazi. She testified she was in ``constant contact'' with 
the agents on the ground and had an ``almost full-time 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
connection'' to them:

        A: I was in my office, and I received a phone call, I 
        don't remember if it was directly from the command 
        center or if it was from the desk officer, but I 
        received a phone call that notified me that there was a 
        problem.

        Q: And that's what they said, it was a problem? Did 
        they elaborate? Did they tell you anything more?

        A: They said that they had the RSO on the phone and 
        that the compound was under attack. And I didn't ask 
        any more questions. I believe I notified Scott 
        Bultrowicz, [Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for 
        Diplomatic Security, State Department] and we both went 
        down to the command center.

                              *    *    *

        Q: And so once you learned of the attack, then what did 
        you do?

        A: I had a liaison officer that worked for me who had 
        employees that worked in the Annex there, so I 
        immediately called him on my way down to the command 
        center and asked him to join me in the command center. 
        And when we went in there, we initially tried to assess 
        the situation the best we could, and then we started 
        working on trying to identify security assets who could 
        help them with the situation that was unfolding.

        Q: And what assets would those have been?

        A: Assets that were at the Annex facility. We made 
        phone calls to Stuttgart, to AFRICOM [United States 
        Africa Command] and EUCOM [United States Europe 
        Command] to see if they had any assets in theater that 
        were nearby that could possibly be drawn on for 
        additional support.

        Q: And did you discuss those assets and deployment with 
        PDAS [Principal Desputy Assistant Secretary] Bultrowicz 
        or Under Secretary Kennedy?

        A: Yes. PDAS Scott Bultrowicz was in the room, he was 
        on the phone with Pat Kennedy and Eric Boswell, and he 
        was relaying information. As we were getting 
        information in, he would relay it to them----

                              *    *    *

        Q: And was the DS command center your only source of 
        information that night or were you in constant contact 
        with the Annex as well via your liaison?

        A: Yes. My liaison had constant contact with the Annex. 
        We had almost full-time connection to the DS agents 
        that were on the ground, and then we were--you know, 
        towards the end, we were getting information off of 
        Twitter and public media. So those were our primary 
        sources of information.\37\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \37\Testimony of Charlene Lamb, Deputy Ass't Sec'y for Diplomatic 
Sec., U.S. Dep't of State, Tr. at 14-16 (Jan. 7, 2016) [hereinafter 
Lamb Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

    A senior watch officer at the DSCC described the events as 
``a full on attack against our compound.''\38\ The same 
individual also said there was ``zip, nothing nada'' when asked 
if there was any rioting in Benghazi reported prior to the 
attack.\39\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \38\Email from Diplomatic Sec. Agent 27, U.S. Dep't of State, to 
svcSMARTCrossLow (Sept. 12 2012, 10:20 AM) (on file with the Committee, 
C05389586).
    \39\Email from Diplomatic Sec. Agent 27, U.S. Dep't of State (Sept. 
18, 2012, 1:16 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05390678).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    At 6:34 p.m. on September 11, 2012, the DSCC sent a 
``terrorism event information'' to the Office of the 
Secretary.\40\ The update noted that ``host nation militia 
forces have responded to the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi'' and 
``were engaged with the attackers.''\41\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \40\Email from U.S. Dep't of State to S_SpecialAssistants (Sept. 
11, 2012, 6:34 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05578699).
    \41\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Lamb testified information received by the DSCC--directly 
from all of the agents on the ground--was relayed to 
Kennedy.\42\ None of the Diplomatic Security agents on the 
ground reported anything about a protest in Benghazi. None of 
the Diplomatic Security agents on the ground reported anything 
about a video.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \42\Lamb Testimony at 15.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Kennedy testified that he passed on information from the 
DSCC directly to Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton:

        I stayed in my office, except for the SVTC [Secure 
        Video Teleconference] the chairman referred to, 
        monitoring my telephone, monitoring my emails, and 
        making telephone calls or coordinating activities as 
        were required. . . . I went up several times to brief 
        the Secretary on the latest information that I was 
        receiving from Diplomatic Security, which was receiving 
        it from the ground.\43\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \43\Testimony of Patrick F. Kennedy, Under Sec'y for Mgmt., U.S. 
Dep't of State, Tr. at 119 (Feb. 3, 2016) [hereinafter Kennedy 
Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

                       KNOWLEDGE BY SENIOR STATE 
                          DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS

    At 4:06 p.m. in Washington D.C. on September 11, 2012, 24 
minutes after the attacks began in Benghazi, the State 
Department Operations Center issued a widely disseminated email 
to Department officials, including the Office of the Secretary, 
indicating an attack was occurring. With the subject ``U.S. 
Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack,'' the email 
stated:

        The Regional Security Officer reports the diplomatic 
        mission is under attack. Embassy Tripoli reports 
        approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions 
        have been heard as well. Ambassador Stevens, who is 
        currently in Benghazi, and four COM [Chief of Mission] 
        personnel are in the compound safe haven. The 17th of 
        February militia is providing security support.\44\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \44\Email from [email protected] to S_Special Assistants, et al. 
(Sept. 11, 2012, 4:05 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05272001).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Forty eight minutes later, a 4:54 p.m. update email stated:

        Embassy Tripoli reports the firing at the U.S. 
        Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi has stopped and the 
        compound has been cleared. A response team is on site 
        attempting to locate COM personnel.\45\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \45\Email from [email protected] to S_SpecialAssistants, et al. 
(Sept. 11, 2012, 4:54 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05272001).

    A 6:07 p.m. update email with the subject ``Ansar al-Sharia 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack'' stated:

        Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed 
        responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and has called 
        for attack on Embassy Tripoli.\46\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \46\Email from [email protected] to S_SpecialAssistants, et al. 
(Sept. 11, 2012, 6:07 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05272001).

    Gregory N. Hicks, Deputy Chief of Mission in Tripoli, was 
the United States' highest ranking official in Tripoli at the 
time of the attacks in Benghazi. Hicks testified that he talked 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
with Ambassador Stevens moments after the attack started:

        A: I punched the number that I did not recognize and 
        called it back, to call it back, and I got Chris on the 
        line. And he said, ``Greg, we are under attack.'' And I 
        am walking outside, trying to get outside, because we 
        have notoriously bad cell phone connectivity at our 
        residence, and usually it's better outside. So I say, 
        my response is, ``Okay,'' and I am about to say 
        something else, and the line clicks.

        I try to reach him back on the--I begin walking 
        immediately to our tactical operations center, because 
        I knew that everybody would be gathering there, and I 
        could then also summon everybody that needed to be at 
        the--to begin the process of responding. And I am 
        trying to call back on those numbers to reconnect, and 
        not getting--either not getting a signal or not getting 
        a response.

        Q: And did you ever make a connection with the 
        Ambassador again?

        A: No. I never did.

        Q: That was the last you spoke to him?

        A: That was the last I spoke to him.\47\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \47\Testimony of Gregory N. Hicks, Deputy Chief of Mission at U.S. 
Embassy Tripoli, U.S. Dep't of State, Tr. at 18-19 (Apr. 11, 2013) 
[hereinafter Hicks Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

    Hicks also testified that Stevens would have reported a 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
protest had one occurred prior to the attack:

        Absolutely, I mean, we're talking about both security 
        officers who know their trade, even though they are 
        brand new, and one of the finest political officers in 
        the history of the Foreign Service. You know, for there 
        to have been a demonstration on Chris Stevens' front 
        door and him not to have reported it is unbelievable. 
        And secondly, if he had reported it, he would have been 
        out the back door within minutes of any demonstration 
        appearing anywhere near that facility. And there was a 
        back gate to the facility, and, you know, it 
        worked.\48\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \48\Id. at 81-82.

    Throughout the course of the evening, Hicks was on the 
phone with Elizabeth Jones, Acting Assistant Secretary of 
State, Near Eastern Affairs, State Department,who was in 
Washington D.C. at the time, updating her about the events on 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
the ground in Benghazi. Jones testified:

        I sat down and called Greg Hicks and said, Tell me what 
        is going on. I have this report from my special 
        assistant, from the op[erations] center; what's going 
        on? He said, I talked to Chris 20 minutes ago. Chris 
        called me. He said, We're under attack.

        I said, What do you mean we're under attack? He said 
        there are people firing guns at us, firing weapons, 
        firing at us. And I said, Where is Chris?

        He said--he said that the RSO [Regional Security 
        Officer] told him that they had taken--that Chris had 
        said, We're going to the safe haven, and the regional 
        security officer in Tripoli have reported, yes, the 
        security officers in Benghazi had taken the ambassador 
        to the safe haven.

        I said, Okay. You talked to him 20 minutes ago. Call 
        him again. He said, I've been trying. He doesn't answer 
        the phone.

        I asked, Who else was in the--in the building, where 
        was Chris exactly, who else was in the building. He 
        explained that Sean Smith was, that's the communicator, 
        that there were three RSOs there and that they would--
        they were moving the two to the safe haven and that the 
        others were trying to protect the building.

        I immediately notified by email as many people as I 
        could think of off the top of my head on the Seventh 
        Floor [senior State Department leaders], that I had 
        spoken to Greg, that this is what the situation was, 
        that--that I would continue to stay in touch with him. 
        In the meantime, I had a secure call from my CIA 
        counterpart saying the same thing, We're hearing that 
        Benghazi is under attack. I said, Is your annex under 
        attack, which I knew to be a few minutes away.

        He said, No. And I continued to be in touch with him, 
        the--my CIA colleague and my staff. I decided to not 
        work out of my office initially but work closer to 
        where the secure phone is, which is on the other end of 
        the suite and stayed in very close touch with Greg 
        essentially all night long till the next morning.

        The--what I did in the second phone call, I believe it 
        was with Greg, I said, Okay. Who are you talking to in 
        the Libyan government?

        He said, I've talked to--I've forgotten, the chief of 
        staff of various of the senior people.

        I said, Talk to the President, talk to the Prime 
        Minister, don't just stay with the chief of staff. Talk 
        to the senior people yourself and ask them for help. 
        Tell them they've got to get their people up there, 
        not--get their people up there to go over to the 
        compound to render assistance to get the--get the 
        attackers out of there, and I kept asking, Have you 
        heard from Chris? Have you heard from Chris?

        No, we can't find him. No, he's not--no, he's not 
        answering. That was the first. And I don't remember the 
        timeline anymore. It seemed like forever, but it 
        probably w[as]n't that long.\49\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \49\Testimony of Elizabeth Jones, Acting Ass't Sec'y, U.S. Dep't of 
State, Tr. at 39-40 (July 11, 2013) [hereinafter Jones Testimony] (on 
file with the Committee).

    Jones testified that she spoke with Hicks throughout the 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
evening, almost every ten minutes:

        Q: Okay. As the night wore on, was the phone just 
        essentially left almost in permanent communication with 
        Tripoli?

        A: Yes.

        Q: I mean, do you have that capability that you have an 
        open line that just essentially stays open, or is 
        this--or calling every 5 or 10 minutes? I'm just 
        curious how that works.

        A: Yeah. No, that's a good question. I didn't have an 
        open line.

        We did two things. I stayed in my office with my front 
        office team and with my staff assistants and with--
        Agent 1 was there. We, at the same time, started a task 
        force in the Operations Center, so the Libya desk 
        officers were up there helping manage some of the more 
        routine issues, getting the evacuation going, working 
        with EX [logistics] on those kinds of issues and sort 
        of doing the--helping us with the nuts and bolts on 
        implementing the things that we were deciding that we 
        needed to do.

        Because DS kept the open--Diplomatic Secretary kept an 
        open line--actually, I don't know that it was an open 
        line. They had communication directly with the RSO. I 
        basically worked primarily with Greg Hicks on his cell 
        phone because that worked better in terms of Embassy 
        communications and I could reach him wherever he was--
        wherever he was in the compound when he was moving 
        around. So I communicated by my office manager dialing 
        him directly on his cell phone.

        So it was not an open line, but it was--I don't know 
        that we talked every 10 minutes, but it seemed like it 
        was every 10 minutes. It was close to that.\50\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \50\Id. at 79-80.

    After some of Jones' discussions with Hicks, an assistant 
from the Office of the Secretary drafted emails about Jones' 
conversations with Hicks. These emails were disseminated to 
senior officials within the State Department, including 
Sullivan, Nuland, and William J. Burns, the Deputy Secretary of 
State.\51\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \51\See, e.g., Email from U.S. Dep't of State to Victoria J. 
Nuland, Spokesperson, U.S. Dep't of State, et al. (Sept. 11, 2012, 5:32 
PM) (on file with the Committee, C05391036).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    At 4:49 p.m., just over an hour after the attacks began, an 
assistant in the Office of the Secretary wrote:

        Beth Jones just spoke with DCM Tripoli Greg Hicks, who 
        advised a Libyan militia (we now know this is the 17th 
        Feb brigade, as requested by Emb[assy] office) is 
        responding to the attack on the diplomatic mission in 
        Benghazi. The QRF [Quick Reaction Force] is in the 
        compound, engaging the attackers, taking fire, and 
        working its way through the compound to get to the 
        villa, where Ambassador Stevens is in safe haven for 
        extraction. The ARSO [Assistant Regional Security 
        Officer] is also there in the compound. Greg spoke with 
        Amb Stevens by phone 20 minutes before my call (which 
        was about ten minutes ago). Greg will talk to the Prime 
        Minister's Chief of Staff, and then speak with the 
        Foreign Minister . . . Embassy is sending medical 
        assistance to Benghazi to be on stand-by. More updates 
        to follow.\52\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \52\Email from U.S. Dep't of State to William J. Burns, Deputy 
Sec'y of State, U.S. Dep't of State, et al. (Sept. 11, 2012, 4:49 PM) 
(on file with the Committee, C05391036).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    At 5:13 p.m. a new email was sent to the group. It stated:

        Just spoke again with Greg Hicks, who confirmed the 
        party includes Ambassador Stevens plus three, not plus 
        four. Hicks has been in contact twice with the Libyan 
        President's office and twice with the Libyan PM's 
        [Prime Minister's] office; their offices assured him 
        they are fully engaged and consider themselves personal 
        friends of Ambassador Stevens. Hicks has been 
        coordinating with the [CIA] who has learned from the 
        QRF about the status of the compound--currently they 
        are clearing the compound and working to access the 
        party. I also urged Libyan Ambassador to the U.S. 
        Aujali to engage on this immediately at the highest 
        level.\53\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \53\Email from U.S. Dep't of State to Jacob J. Sullivan, Deputy 
Chief of Staff and Dir. of Policy Planning, U.S. Dep't of State, et al. 
(Sept. 11, 2012, 5:13 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05391036).

    An email at 5:32 p.m., the first in the chain sent to 
Cheryl Mills, Chief of Staff and Counselor, State Department, 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
stated:

        The fighting has stopped, DCM Greg Hicks just confirmed 
        to me. He also confirmed one fatality: Sean Smith--a 
        TDY'er from The Hague--has died. His body has been 
        recovered. The five ARSO's are accounted for, but 
        they're still trying to find the Ambassador. The 
        Principal Officer's residence is still on fire with 
        toxic smoke. I have spoken to A/S [Assistant Secretary] 
        Gordon and Liz Dibble is contacting the Charge at The 
        Hague, [redacted text], to inform them.\54\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \54\Email from U.S. Dep't of State to Cheryl D. Mills, Chief of 
Staff & Counselor to the U.S. Sec'y of State, U.S. Dep't of State, et 
al. (Sept. 11, 2012, 5:32 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05391036).

    A 5:55 p.m. email to the same chain sent by an assistant in 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
the Office of the Secretary stated:

        I just spoke again to Greg Hicks, who himself spoke 
        again to the offices of the Libyan President and Prime 
        Minister, asking them to provide firefighting equipment 
        to the Benghazi compound. He said the PD shop at 
        Embassy Tripoli has found postings on Facebook 
        indicating that the ``Tripoli Council'' plans to carry 
        out an attack on Embassy Tripoli. He said he was 
        promised increased police protection but it had not yet 
        materialized.

        Greg said his team reports that the extremist group 
        Ansar Al Sharia has taken credit for the attack in 
        Benghazi. He heard reports that the February 17 Brigade 
        is currently engaged in a running battle with Ansar Al 
        Sharia; he asked the offices of the President and PM to 
        pursue Ansar al Sharia.

        On working to locate Ambassador Stevens, the RSO team 
        and militia are still on compound, which is 50 acres--
        Greg expressed the hope that Ambassador Stevens is in 
        hiding somewhere on the compound. The PO's residence is 
        still on fire.\55\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \55\Email from U.S. Dep't of State to Victoria J. Nuland, 
Spokesperson, U.S. Dep't of State, et al. (Sept. 11, 2012, 5:55PM) (on 
file with the Committee, C05391036).

    These emails consistently used the term ``attack.'' None of 
these emails mentioned anything about a protest. None of these 
emails mentioned anything about a video.
    Hicks also spoke directly with the Secretary while the 
attacks were still ongoing. He testified:

        A: No. I really didn't get--you know, about 2:00 a.m. 
        [8:00 p.m. in Washington D.C.], the Secretary called--
        --

        Q: Okay.

        A: --along with--her senior staff was on the----

        Q: Okay. Do you recall who was on that call?

        A: It was Wendy Sherman, Cheryl Mills, Steve Mull, Beth 
        Jones, Liz--I am not sure whether Liz Dibble was on the 
        phone or not at that time. I know Beth Jones was. Jake 
        Sullivan.

        And so I briefed her on what was going on, talked about 
        the situation. And at 2:00 a.m., of course, Chris 
        [Stevens] is in the hospital, although the Libyan 
        Government will not confirm that he's in the hospital. 
        All they will tell us is he's in a safe place, or they 
        will imply that he's with us at the [Annex] facility, 
        which, of course, we have to feed back to them and say, 
        no, we don't know where he is. It is a constant 
        conversation, and I'm still talking to the same people.

        The Vice Minister of the Interior chimes in sometime 
        before midnight. And I'm pressing him to get their 
        firefighters to the building to put the fire out, 
        assuming that if they go to put the fire out, that they 
        will send some security people with the firefighters to 
        protect the firefighters. We tried everything that we 
        could.

        So we brief her on what's going on. She asks, How can 
        we help? And I said, Well, we could use some 
        reinforcements. And we have--we know we have wounded. 
        And----

        Q: What was the answer?

        A: The answer was that the FAST team in Rota was being 
        mobilized to come to Tripoli, and there would be a 
        medevac flight coming down to pick up wounded.

        And then we discussed also whether we were going to--
        they asked me if we were going to stay in the 
        residential compound. And I said, no, we needed to 
        consolidate our facilities here, because we basically 
        sent everybody we have to protect us to Tripoli to 
        rescue them.

        Q: To?

        A: To Benghazi. Sorry. Benghazi. Apologies. And they 
        said, good.

        Q: And how long does that call last?

        A: Ten minutes.\56\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \56\Hicks Testimony at 32-34.

    None of the information coming directly from the agents on 
the ground in Benghazi during the attacks mentioned anything 
about a video or a protest. These first-hand accounts made 
their way to the Office of the Secretary through multiple 
channels quickly: through the Diplomatic Security Command 
Center; through the State Department Operations Center; through 
emails recounting Jones' phone calls with Hicks; through 
Kennedy, who briefed the Secretary directly; and through Hicks 
himself during a phone call with the Secretary.

                       THE SECRETARY'S STATEMENT

    The principal public statement from the U.S. government the 
night of the Benghazi attacks, September 11, 2012, came from 
the Secretary of State and was issued at 10:08 p.m. It stated 
in full:

                  Statement on the Attack in Benghazi

        I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our 
        mission in Benghazi today. As we work to secure our 
        personnel and facilities, we have confirmed that one of 
        our State Department officers was killed. We are 
        heartbroken by this terrible loss. Our thoughts and 
        prayers are with his family and those who have suffered 
        in this attack.

        This evening, I called Libyan President Magariaf to 
        coordinate additional support to protect Americans in 
        Libya. President Magariaf expressed his condemnation 
        and condolences and pledged his government's full 
        cooperation.

        Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a 
        response to inflammatory material posted on the 
        Internet. The United States deplores any intentional 
        effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. 
        Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the 
        very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: 
        There is never any justification for violent acts of 
        this kind.

        In light of the events of today, the United States 
        government is working with partner countries around the 
        world to protect our personnel, our missions, and 
        American citizens worldwide.\57\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \57\Press Release, U.S. Dep't of State, Statement on the Attack in 
Benghazi (Sept. 11, 2012), http://www.state.gov/secretary/
20092013clinton/rm/2012/09/197628.htm [hereinafter September 11 
Statement].

    The decision for the Secretary to issue the statement 
appears to have been made earlier that evening during a 7:30 
p.m. secure video teleconference [SVTC], a meeting hosted by 
the White House, that included senior officials from the State 
Department, Intelligence Community, and Defense Department to 
discuss the events unfolding in Benghazi.
    Rough notes from the White House meeting describe ten 
specific action items. One of these action items stated:

        The Secretary will issue a statement tonight condemning 
        the attacks and stating an official American was 
        killed. . . . S may issue another statement to distance 
        the United States from the Pastor Jones video.\58\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \58\Email from Watch Officer, U.S. Dep't of State, to 
P_StaffAssistants & D(N)_StaffAssistants (Sept. 11, 2012, 9:46 PM) (on 
file with the Committee, C05562037).

    The Secretary did not, however, issue two statements that 
evening. She issued one. And that single statement condemned 
the attack, stated an American was killed, and distanced the 
United States from an internet video. In doing so, the 
statement--specifically the language ``[s]ome have sought to 
justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory 
material posted on the Internet''--appeared to connect, or at 
least conflate, the attacks in Benghazi with the video.\59\ 
This connection between the attacks and the video continued for 
over a week, leading the public to believe that a video-
inspired protest led to the attacks that killed Ambassador 
Chris Stevens and Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \59\September 11 Statement, supra note 57.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The 7:30 p.m. White House meeting was convened to discuss 
the Benghazi attacks and included the Secretary of State and 
other high level officials from the State Department, Defense 
Department, and White House. The meeting, however, contained a 
great deal of discussion regarding the video. Matt Olsen, 
Director, National Counterterrorism Center, was a participant 
in the meeting. He testified:

        Q: Was there any discussion of sort of the video and 
        Benghazi being linked on the call?

        A: I don't remember specifically, you know, how we 
        talked about it. I'm sure that we did, right, because 
        we were--the fact is that it came--the discussion of 
        taking the video down was part of our conversation in 
        this call that was really focused on what was going on 
        in Benghazi.\60\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \60\Testimony of Matthew Olsen, Dir., Nat'l Counterterrorism 
Center, Tr. at 17-18 (Feb. 16, 2016) [hereinafter Olsen Testimony] (on 
file with the Committee).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Olsen also said:

        And in my own mind, at the time, I recall linking the 
        two, you know, that this--we were thinking about what 
        had happened in Cairo, we were thinking, okay, now this 
        seems to be happening in Benghazi, and we're worried 
        about other, obviously, other diplomatic posts in the 
        Middle East and North Africa.

        On that particular issue, one thing that I recall in 
        thinking, again, sort of preparing for coming here, 
        sort of trying to recollect as much as possible, one of 
        the issues that Denis [McDonough] asked me--and I think 
        Nick Rasmussen, my deputy, was there as well--was to 
        see if we could work with--if we could contact Google 
        to talk with them about enforcing their terms of 
        service, which was the way that we often thought about 
        offensive or problematic content.\61\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \61\Id. at 18.

    Five of the ten action items from the rough notes of the 
7:30 p.m. meeting reference the video--including an item 
mentioning Leon E. Panetta, Secretary of Defense, and Martin E. 
Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reaching out to 
``Pastor Jones'' directly.\62\ For nearly two years the White 
House had been issuing public statements in the wake of actions 
committed by ``Pastor Jones,''\63\ although no connection at 
the time linked ``Pastor Jones'' or the video to the Benghazi 
attacks.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \62\Email from Watch Officer, U.S. Dep't of State, to 
P_StaffAssistants and D(N)_StaffAssistants (Sept. 11, 2012) (on file 
with the Committee, C05562037).
    \63\See, e.g., Krissah Thompson and Tara Bahrampour, Obama renews 
call for religious tolerance after Koran-burning canceled, Wash. Post, 
Sept. 10, 2012 (``Obama denied that his administration's forceful 
intervention--Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates made a personal appeal 
to the Gainesville pastor, the Rev. Terry Jones--had unnecessarily 
drawn attention to the pastor's plans.''); and Obama criticizes Quran 
burning, Afghan attacks, NBC News, April 2, 2011, www.nbcnews.com/id/
42396945/ns/world_news-south_and_central_asia/t/obama-criticizes-quran-
burning-afghan-attacks/#.V1oSrvkjrJaR (``At least 10 people have been 
killed and 83 injured in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, 
officials said on Saturday, on a second day of violent protests over 
the actions of extremist Christian preacher Terry Jones . . . `No 
religion tolerates the slaughter and beheading of innocent people, and 
there is no justification for such a dishonorable and deplorable act,' 
Obama said.'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Avril Haines, Deputy Counsel to the President for National 
Security Affairs, held a conference call after the 7:30 p.m. 
meeting. Rough notes from the call stated:

        There is likely to be a statement from S[ecretary 
        Clinton] this evening addressing the violence and 
        distancing the USG [United States government] from the 
        videos that are believed to have instigated it (at 
        least in part); while no one is sure of the cause, 
        exactly, there is reportedly a new Terry Jones video 
        threatening to burn Korans and a second film that 
        includes a number of insulting statement about 
        Mohamed.\64\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \64\Email from Attorney, U.S. Dep't of State, to Harold Koh, Legal 
Advisor, U.S. Dep't of State, et al. (Sept. 11, 2012, 10:40 PM) (on 
file with the Committee, C05528017).

    The fact the 7:30 p.m. White House meeting, which took 
place while Ambassador Stevens was considered missing and 
before Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty were killed, was 
about the attacks in Benghazi but much of the conversation 
focused on the video is surprising given no direct link or 
solid evidence existed connecting the attacks in Benghazi and 
the video at the time the White House meeting took place. The 
State Department senior officials at the White House meeting 
had access to eyewitness accounts to the attack in real time. 
The Diplomatic Security Command Center was in direct contact 
with the Diplomatic Security Agents on the ground in Benghazi 
and sent out multiple updates about the situation, including a 
``Terrorism Event Notification.''\65\ The State Department 
Watch Center had also notified Sullivan and Mills that it was 
setting up a direct telephone line to Benghazi.\66\ There was 
no mention of the video from the agents on the ground. Hicks--
one of the last people to talk to Stevens before he died--said 
there was virtually no discussion about the video in Libya 
leading up to the attacks.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \65\Email from DS Command Center to DSCC_C DS Seniors, DSCC_E TIA/
PII, DSCC_E TIA/ITA, and DS-IP (Sept. 12, 2012, 5:05 AM) (on file with 
the Committee, C05389586).
    \66\Email from U.S. Dep't of State to Jacob J. Sullivan, Deputy 
Chief of Staff and Dir. of Policy Planning, U.S. Dep't of State, et al. 
(Sept. 11, 2012, 4:38 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05561866).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    That did not, however, deter participants at theWhite House 
meeting--led by Denis McDonough, Deputy National Security 
Advisor to the President--from extensively discussing the 
video.
    As a result of the White House meeting, the Secretary of 
State issued a statement about the attacks later that evening. 
Rather than relaying known facts from those experiencing the 
attacks firsthand, however, the Secretary's statement created a 
narrative tying the events in Benghazi to the video, despite a 
dearth of actual evidence. This was done by mentioning the 
video and the attacks in the same sentence: ``Some have sought 
to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory 
material posted on the Internet.''\67\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \67\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sullivan testified about the decision to include that 
sentence in the statement:

        Q: Do you recall whose idea it was to include that 
        sentence?

        A: I believe that it was my idea to include that 
        sentence. It was either mine or Toria's [State 
        Department spokesperson] or a combination of the two of 
        us, but I thought it was important to include that 
        sentence.

        Q: And why is that?

        A: Well there are two aspects to this. One was we 
        didn't know the motivation of the actual attackers of 
        Benghazi, so I didn't want to say they did it because 
        of the video, and so I chose the words very carefully 
        to say that some have sought to justify it on that 
        basis.

        But I thought it was really important for us to be able 
        to express our views on the video and to say there is 
        never any justification for violent acts of this kind, 
        as well as to say we deplore efforts to denigrate the 
        religious beliefs of others because I was deeply 
        concerned that we could potentially face attacks on our 
        embassies elsewhere. And, unfortunately, that's exactly 
        what happened.\68\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \68\Testimony of Jacob J. Sullivan, Deputy Chief of Staff and Dir. 
of Policy Planning, U.S. Dep't of State, Tr. at 220 (Jan. 12, 2016) 
[hereinafter Sullivan Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

    Sullivan did not say why it would not have been equally or 
even more important to denounce the video when it began 
circulating in the Middle East days earlier, or after the 
protests in Cairo where the link to the video was clear. 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sullivan testified:

        I thought very hard about exactly how to formulate 
        this. I didn't want to say the attackers did this 
        because of the video. That's why I chose to use the 
        phrase ``justify,'' because I just wanted to talk more 
        generally about people who might justify the attack on 
        the basis of the video. Who would those people be? They 
        would be the kind of people that would go try to gin up 
        protests elsewhere, whether in Benghazi again or in 
        Tripoli or anywhere else around the region.

        And my first concern in getting this out was to do 
        everything we could do to try to prevent further 
        violence from happening. And I really thought it was 
        important for the Secretary to get on the record on 
        this issue. And in the days that followed, I thought it 
        was important for her to continue getting on the record 
        on this issue, especially as we dealt with these 
        assaults on our embassies across the region.

        So I thought hard about this paragraph. I thought hard 
        about making sure we formulated it in a way that was 
        accurate to say that just some had sought to justify 
        it. Obviously, we have all seen a lot of public 
        reporting linking things as well. So this, to me, was 
        an important paragraph to include in this 
        statement.\69\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \69\Id. at 221.

    Sullivan apparently did not engage in nearly as much 
thought about the video when it first appeared online, or even 
when the U.S. Embassy was breached by protestors in Cairo 
earlier on September 11, 2012. Where there was a known 
connection to the video, Sullivan was silent. Where the video 
was not connected by even a scintilla of reliable evidence at 
the time, Sullivan thought it important enough to include.
    Dan Schwerin, Speechwriter, Department of State, helped 
draft the statement that went out that evening. Schwerin told 
the Committee the statement was intended to speak to a global 
audience. He testified:

        Q: You talked about speaking to a global audience. What 
        did you mean by that?

        A: I mean any time the Secretary of State speaks, the 
        world is listening. We had--it was a period of unrest 
        across the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond; 
        specifically, in the Muslim world, which was a source 
        of concern; and how to lower that temperature and speak 
        to that situation was an important issue.

        Q: Was that focused on the video?

        A: The video was the source of that unrest across the 
        world in that period. And so, you know, lowering the 
        temperature of that situation was one of our goals.\70\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \70\Testimony of Daniel B. Schwerin, Staff Assistant and 
Speechwriter, U.S. Dep't of State, Tr. at 21 (Oct. 9, 2015) 
[hereinafter Schwerin Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

    While protests around the Middle East flared up in the 
following days, at the time of the Benghazi attacks the protest 
in Cairo represented the only instance of unrest.
    Megan Rooney, Speechwriter, Department of State, also 
worked on the statement and told the Committee that it was a 
``commonsense conclusion'' that the video somehow sparked what 
happened in Benghazi, because it had done so in Cairo. She 
testified:

        Q: Right. As you sit here today, do you recall anything 
        generally about the conversation specific to the video 
        that night?

        A: No. Only that we thought it belonged in the 
        statement.

        Q: Do you recall why you thought it belonged in the 
        statement?

                              *    *    *

        A: . . . I believed that it played a role in sparking 
        the events of that night. And that any sort of 
        conversation about what had happened, and what has to 
        happen now would have to be taken into account in some 
        way.

        Q: Okay, just so I understand, it was your view that 
        night that the video should be referred to in the 
        statement because in your mind, the video had played 
        some role in the attack in Benghazi?

        A: Yeah, in sparking them or triggering them or 
        motivating some of the people that night. Yeah, yes.

        Q: And so you were kind of going back to your point 
        about one of the goals for this speech was to explain 
        to the American people what had happened. For that 
        reason you wanted to refer to the video. Is that fair?

        A: Yeah. I would say that's fair.

        Q: And as best you can, could you just tell us what you 
        based that conclusion on, or that opinion that the 
        video somehow sparked what occurred in Benghazi?

        A: Well, at the time it seems like the commonsense 
        conclusion. You know, there was this incident happening 
        in the same--not far from Benghazi, just a few 
        countries to the--well, shoot, one country to the east. 
        God, I'm failing on the geography--a nearby country, 
        Cairo, Egypt, on the same day there was this protest 
        that seemed--that was similarly targeting an American 
        facility that similarly had our facility breached in 
        this alarming way. And that seemed to be very clearly 
        connected to this video since, again, I believe that 
        not long before that protest broke out, the video had 
        been broadcast on Egyptian news. So, you know, I was 
        learning about what was happening in Egypt, and oh, 
        look, the same day, something is happening at an 
        American facility not far from there. . . .\71\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \71\Testimony of Megan E. Rooney, Policy Advisor and Speechwriter, 
U.S. Dep't of State, Tr. at 48-51 (Oct. 9, 2015) [hereinafter Rooney 
Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

    The gist is: a statement connecting the video with the 
Benghazi attacks was included by a speechwriter because the 
``thought''--half a world away--was that ``commonsense'' 
dictated it. But that same commonsense would not dictate 
listening to and following the real time information being 
provided by eyewitnesses who survived the initial attack and 
were preparing for subsequent attacks.
    Benjamin J. Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor to the 
President for Strategic Communications, spoke with Sullivan 
about the statement before it was released. Rhodes testified 
the sentence ``Some have sought to justify this vicious 
behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the 
Internet'' was not about Benghazi but served to respond ``to 
the general events taking place in the region as a whole.''\72\ 
He also said:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \72\Testimony of Benjamin J. Rhodes, Deputy Nat'l Sec. Advisor for 
Strategic Commc'cs, Nat'l Sec. Council, Tr. at 50-51 (Feb. 2, 2016) 
[hereinafter Rhodes Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

        A: Again, our concern--one of our concerns was that we 
        saw efforts to utilize the video to incite protests, 
        including the type of violent protests that we saw in 
        Cairo. And so I recall that we wanted to have messaging 
        in the statement that sought to reduce tensions 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        associated with the video.

        Q: So was this sentence not meant to convey anything 
        regarding Benghazi and Libya?

        A: No, I don't believe so.

        Q: You don't think--this sentence was not about Libya 
        in any way, shape, or form?

        A: Again, I believe that it was intended to address the 
        broader context in the region.

        Q: So that's what has me wondering. Then was there 
        vicious behavior in other places that day?

        A: Yes. Certainly in Cairo.

        Q: But no--I mean, Pat Kennedy described Cairo as spray 
        paint and rocks. Obviously, Benghazi was much 
        different. So you're saying that vicious behavior 
        applies to Cairo but doesn't apply to Benghazi?

        A: Again, I think it applies generally to the fact that 
        we had indications that there were individuals who 
        might seek to use this video to justify violence?

        Q: I'm asking about the two terms: vicious behavior. 
        You said this sentence doesn't apply to Libya in a 
        general sense or Benghazi in a specific sense, but does 
        apply to other events in the region; namely, Cairo. Is 
        that accurate?

        A: Again, this is taking place in the context where we 
        have a protest that turned violent at our Embassy in 
        Cairo, and we have the attacks in Benghazi. The 
        situation is fluid. There are indications that we are 
        getting from the State Department that there are other 
        actors who are seeking to incite people related to this 
        video. And so one of the objectives in our messaging 
        was to have a statement that, again, sought to minimize 
        our association with this video.

        Q: And I understand you conveyed that is one of your 
        objectives, but I'm specifically, again, just for the 
        record, asking that sentence you said does not apply, 
        is not meant in any way to convey anything about Libya, 
        it's about Cairo and the rest of the region.

        A: Again, it's not intended to assign responsibility 
        for what happened in Benghazi. It's meant to describe 
        the context of what happened, what's happening in the 
        region.

        Q: You mentioned context a couple of times here. When I 
        look at context, I look at this document. The heading 
        is ``Statement on the Attack in Benghazi.'' Paragraph 
        one: I condemn in the strongest way the attack on our 
        mission in Benghazi. We are securing personnel and 
        facilities. One of our officers was killed in Benghazi. 
        Next paragraph: I have talked to the Libyan President. 
        So everything in this document is about Libya and 
        Benghazi except you're saying this sentence doesn't 
        apply to Libya and Benghazi.

        A: Again, as I look at this statement, my recollection 
        is one of the objectives was to convey that we were 
        doing everything we could to secure our diplomats in 
        facilities around the world. If you look, for example, 
        at the last sentence of the statement, it's intended to 
        be about that general principle that we will work with 
        partner countries around the world to protect our 
        personnel, our missions, and our American citizens.\73\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \73\Id. at 61-64.

    Moreover, at Rhodes' direction, the Secretary's statement 
was the only statement issued on behalf of the United States 
government that night.\74\ This put additional emphasis on its 
contents. Rhodes told the Committee:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \74\See Email from Benjamin Rhodes, Deputy Nat'l Sec. Advisor for 
Strategic Commc'cs, Nat'l Sec. Council, to Steven Warren, Spokesman, 
U.S. Dep't of Defense, et al. (Sept. 11, 2012, 9:53 PM) (on file with 
the Committee, C05562046) (``[L]et the State Department' statement be 
our [USG] comment for the night.'').

        A: You know, I recall telling my staff that that would 
        be our comment for the night. So the people who work 
        for me in the NSC press office, you know, everybody was 
        being asked to respond to inquiries, and I remember 
        determining that, you know, we would just have that one 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        statement be our comment for the night.

        Q: What was the thinking behind that, have that one 
        statement coming from the State Department be the sole 
        statement from the U.S. Government?

        A: Again, my recollection is that this was an attack 
        that had targeted our Ambassador, that it was 
        appropriate for the Secretary of State to be speaking 
        for the U.S. Government given that this had happened to 
        people who worked in her department, and again, that 
        made them the appropriate agency to issue a 
        comment.\75\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \75\Rhodes Testimony at 15.

    The Secretary's private comments, however, were different 
than her public comments. In a phone call with Libyan President 
Mohammed el-Magariaf at approximately 6:00 p.m. in Washington 
D.C., the Secretary did not mention the video nor did she 
connect the video with the attacks. A summary of the phone call 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
is below:

        Secretary Clinton: Mr. President.

        Libyan General National Congress President Magarif: 
        Your Excellency.

        S: I appreciate you taking my call at this late hour.

        M: No problem. It's my duty.

        S: As you know, our diplomatic mission in Benghazi was 
        attacked earlier this evening. We need your immediate 
        help, as one of our diplomats was killed and our 
        Ambassador, who you know, is missing. We have asked for 
        the Libyan government to provide additional security to 
        the compound immediately as there is a gun battle 
        ongoing, which I understand Ansar al Sharia is claiming 
        responsibility for. We also need to provide additional 
        capacity for firefighting as there are reports that the 
        principle officers residence has been bombed or set on 
        fire. We believe that it is important for your 
        government, as well as ours, to condemn this attack in 
        the strongest possible terms and promise these 
        criminals will be brought to justice. I also need you 
        to help us secure our mission in Tripoli. We have 
        serious threats on social media sites, like Facebook, 
        and it is important that your government take all 
        possible measures, in an urgent manner, to secure our 
        facilities. We need you to have people who you are 
        confident in, who will follow your direction, and that 
        your government trusts to secure our compounds.

        M: Please accept my condolences for the death of the 
        American at the compound and our sincere apologies for 
        what has happened. We promise to find the criminals and 
        bring them to justice. We will do our utmost to protect 
        American buildings and every American citizen in Libya. 
        We were just in the midst of an emergency meeting with 
        the Prime Minister and all of his deputies to address 
        this situation.

        S: If there is anything that you need or that I can do 
        please do not hesitate to call me at any time, day or 
        night.

        M: Thank you.

        S: Thank you.

        M: Good Night.\76\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \76\Email from U.S. Dep't of State to S_CallNotes (Sept. 11, 2012, 
11:34 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05561906).

    In her call with the Libyan President, the Secretary 
mentioned a number of key facts not included in her public 
statement: that Stevens was still missing at the time;\77\ that 
the extremist organization Ansar al Sharia had taken credit for 
the attacks;\78\ that the compound may have been bombed and set 
on fire;\79\ and that the administration intended to bring the 
perpetrators to justice.\80\ Significantly, she also did not 
mention the video she referred to in her public statement.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \77\Id. (``[O]ur Ambassador, who you know, is missing.'').
    \78\Id. (``I understand Ansar al Sharia is claiming 
responsibility[.]'').
    \79\Id. (``[T]he principle officers residence has been bombed or 
set on fire.'').
    \80\Id. (``[I]t is important for your government, as well as ours, 
to condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms and promise 
these criminals will be brought to justice.'').

    The Secretary also sent a private email to her daughter 
that evening about an hour after her public statement. The 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
email said:

        Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al 
        Queda-like [sic] group: The Ambassador, whom I 
        handpicked and a young communications officer on 
        temporary duty w a wife and two very young children. 
        Very hard day and I fear more of the same tomorrow.\81\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \81\Email from Hillary R. Clinton (``H''), Sec'y of State, U.S. 
Dep't of State, to Chelsea Clinton (``Diane Reynolds'') (Sept. 11, 
2012, 11:12 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05795467).

    In that email, the Secretary states two individuals had 
been killed ``by an Al Queda-like [sic] group.''\82\ This key 
fact had been omitted from the Secretary's public statement. In 
sharing this fact with her daughter, the Secretary acknowledged 
the attack--with a link to al-Qaeda--was in fact terrorism. In 
omitting this fact from her public statement, however, the 
Secretary sent a very different message to the public--a 
message that suggested a protest over the video.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \82\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    It was not until ten days later the Secretary told the 
American people the events in Benghazi were terrorist 
attacks.\83\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \83\Glenn Kessler, From video to terrorist attack: a definitive 
timeline of administration statements on the Libya attack, Wash. Post 
(Sept. 27, 2012), https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/
post/from-video-to-terrorist-attack-a-definitive-timeline-of-
administration-
statements-on-the-libya-attack/2012/09/26/86105782-0826-11e2-afff-
d6c7f20a83bf_blog.html.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                       THE DAY AFTER THE ATTACKS

    The day after the attacks was a day of mourning for the 
families of the four Americans who lost their lives--Ambassador 
J. Christopher Stevens, Sean P. Smith, Tyrone S. Woods, and 
Glen A. Doherty. It was also a time of mourning and reflection 
for America. However, the day after the attacks also saw a 
marked difference in information shared by the administration 
with the American people compared with information shared by 
the administration privately.

         Public Statements Conflated the Video and the Attacks

    The following day brought additional press inquiries and 
additional statements. After the Secretary's statement on the 
evening of September 11, two more Americans, Tyrone Woods and 
Glen Doherty, died in Benghazi as a result of the mortar 
attacks on the Annex.\84\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \84\Scott Neuman, U.S. Ambassador To Libya, Three Other Americans 
Killed in Benghazi Attack, NPR (Sept. 12, 2012, 7:45 AM), http://
www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2012/09/12/160992840/u-s-ambassador-to-
libya-three-other-americans-killed-in-benghazi-attack.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The administration needed to act quickly to ensure each 
agency was on the same page about how to message the attacks. 
At 8:14 a.m. the morning after the attacks, Bernadette Meehan, 
Deputy Spokesperson, National Security Council, sent an email 
to nearly two dozen people from the White House, Defense 
Department, State Department, and intelligence community 
stating:

        Both the President and Secretary Clinton released 
        statements this morning. Both are pasted below. Please 
        refer to those for any comments for the time being. To 
        ensure we are all in sync on messaging for the rest of 
        the day, Ben Rhodes will host a conference call for USG 
        communicators on this chain at 9:15 ET today. . . .\85\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \85\Email from Bernadette M. Meehan, Deputy Spokesperson, Nat'l 
Sec. Council, to Benjamin J. Rhodes, Deputy Nat'l Sec. Advisor for 
Strategic Commc'cs, Nat'l Sec. Council, et al. (Sept. 12, 2012, 8:14 
AM) (emphasis original) (on file with the Committee, SCB000897).

    Rhodes responded, stating simply ``If possible, let's do 
this at 9 to get a little ahead of potential statements by 
S[ecretary Clinton] and POTUS [the President] later this 
morning.\86\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \86\Email from Mr. Rhodes to Ms. Meehan, et al. (Sept. 12, 2012, 
8:31 AM) (on file with the Committee, SCB000897).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The message emanating from the White House the morning 
after the attacks--similar to the message delivered by the U.S. 
government the night before through the Secretary's statement--
was that the video and the attack on U.S. facilities in 
Benghazi would be mentioned in the same breath.\87\ This 
therefore served the purpose of continuing to connect the two 
issues. As a result, this created confusion among the American 
public and the press as to whether or not these two events were 
directly related.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \87\See Press Release, The White House Office of the Press 
Secretary, Statement by the President on the Attack in Benghazi (Sept. 
12, 2012), https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/12/
statement-president-attack-benghazi (``While the United States rejects 
efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all 
unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives 
of these public servants.'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In the President's statement announcing the deaths of four 
Americans, he referred to ``efforts to denigrate the religious 
beliefs of others''--i.e. the video--and the ``senseless 
violence that took the lives of these public servants''--i.e. 
the Benghazi attacks--in the same sentence.\88\ The statement, 
titled ``Statement by the President on the Attack in Benghazi'' 
read:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \88\Press Release, The White House Office of the Press Secretary, 
Remarks by the President on the Deaths of U.S. Embassy Staff in Libya 
(Sept. 12, 2012), https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/
12/remarks-president-deaths-us-embassy-staff-libya.

        I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our 
        diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives 
        of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. 
        Right now, the American people have the families of 
        those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They 
        exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice, 
        and partnership with nations and people around the 
        globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        callously took their lives.

        I have directed my Administration to provide all 
        necessary resources to support the security of our 
        personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our 
        diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United 
        States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious 
        beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the 
        kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these 
        public servants.\89\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \89\Id.

    Later that morning the President addressed the Nation in a 
televised address from the Rose Garden about the attacks. The 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
President said in part:

        Yesterday, four of these extraordinary Americans were 
        killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi. 
        Among those killed was our Ambassador, Chris Stevens, 
        as well as Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith. We are 
        still notifying the families of the others who were 
        killed. And today, the American people stand united in 
        holding the families of the four Americans in our 
        thoughts and in our prayers.

        The United States condemns in the strongest terms this 
        outrageous and shocking attack. We're working with the 
        government of Libya to secure our diplomats. I've also 
        directed my administration to increase our security at 
        diplomatic posts around the world. And make no mistake, 
        we will work with the Libyan government to bring to 
        justice the killers who attacked our people.

        Since our founding, the United States has been a nation 
        that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to 
        denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is 
        absolutely no justification to this type of senseless 
        violence. None. The world must stand together to 
        unequivocally reject these brutal acts.\90\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \90\Press Release, The White House Office of the Press Secretary, 
Statement by the President on the Attack in Benghazi (Sept. 12, 2012), 
https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/12/statement-
president-attack-benghazi.

    In the speech about the attacks, drafted by Rhodes and 
similar to the President's statement about the attacks earlier 
in the morning, the President refers to ``efforts to denigrate 
the religious beliefs of others''\91\--i.e. the video. These 
comments, in a public address, gave a strong and continually 
reinforced impression to the public: the video was somehow 
linked to the attacks.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \91\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Secretary also made remarks about the attacks on the 
morning of September 12, 2012. She said in part:

        We are working to determine the precise motivations and 
        methods of those who carried out this assault. Some 
        have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along 
        with the protest that took place at our Embassy in 
        Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material 
        posted on the internet. America's commitment to 
        religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of 
        our nation. But let me be clear--there is no 
        justification for this, none. Violence like this is no 
        way to honor religion or faith. And as long as there 
        are those who would take innocent life in the name of 
        God, the world will never know a true and lasting 
        peace.\92\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \92\Secretary Clinton Delivers Remarks on the Deaths of U.S. 
Personnel in Benghazi, Libya, DIPNOTE (Sept. 12, 2012), https://
blogs.state.gov/stories/2012/09/12/secretary-clinton-delivers-
remarks-deaths-us-personnel-benghazi-libya.

    Rooney, who helped draft the speech, told the Committee it 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
was geared towards the American people:

        We knew basically a few things that we wanted to 
        accomplish. If indeed some people had died, we knew 
        that we wanted to give her some material that she could 
        say about them, so she could say gracious things about 
        them, which we knew she would have wanted to do. We 
        knew that we would want to give her some sort of a--
        something that she could say that would summarize what 
        had happened, anticipating that, you know, if Americans 
        were waking up and turning on their TV in the morning 
        and their Secretary of State was standing there, that 
        they would--one of the questions on their mind would be 
        what, what happened. We wanted to be able to give her 
        some language that would at least begin to answer 
        that.\93\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \93\Rooney Testimony at 35-36.

    The fact the speech served in part to answer a question on 
the minds of many Americans--``what happened''--is interesting 
because Rooney never talked with anybody in the Bureau of Near 
Eastern Affairs (NEA) while she was drafting the speech. The 
individuals in NEA had been on the phone all night with State 
Department personnel in Benghazi receiving real-time updates 
about what was transpiring.\94\ Rooney testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \94\Jones Testimony at 79-80.

        Q: Did you speak to anybody in the NEA bureau about 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        what had happened in the attacks?

        A: I don't recall speaking to anyone in the NEA bureau.

        Q: Is that something you would have done? I mean, you 
        talked earlier about the process. If you're writing a 
        speech about China, you go to----

        A: Right.

        Q: --the China experts and ask them. I mean, did that 
        happen that night with regard to Libya?

        A: No, I don't think so. I don't recall any 
        conversation with anyone from--no.\95\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \95\Rooney Testimony at 39.

    Instead, the only actual description in the statement of 
what had occurred in Benghazi was a late addition to the speech 
from Sullivan. Schwerin, who also worked on the speech, 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
explained:

        A: He said, you know, we have to keep making edits. He 
        didn't tell me the substance of the conversations he 
        had had, just that there were more edits to make.

        Q: Okay. What kind of edits?

        A: I can't, you know, all these years later, tell you 
        which sentences we changed, but the only thing that I 
        remember is, I think the formulation ``heavily-armed 
        militants'' we added that morning in his office. But I 
        could not beyond that give you chapter and verse about 
        what we changed.\96\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \96\Schwerin Testimony at 36.

    The public statements by the President and Secretary of 
State did not call the events in Benghazi a terrorist attack.
    The President also conducted an interview with Steve Kroft 
of 60 Minutes that same morning. Kroft began the interview by 
asking the President about the attack and the President's 
reluctance to call the attack a terrorist attack in his earlier 
Rose Garden remarks. Again, the President did not call what had 
transpired in Benghazi a terrorist attack:

        Q: Mr. President, this morning you went out of your way 
        to avoid the use of the word ``terrorism'' in 
        connection with the Libya attack.

        A: Right.

        Q: Do you believe that this was a terrorist attack?

        A: Well, it's too early to know exactly how this came 
        about, what group was involved, but obviously it was an 
        attack on Americans. And we are going to be working 
        with the Libyan government to make sure that we bring 
        these folks to justice, one way or the other.

        Q: This has been described as a mob action, but there 
        are reports that they were very heavily armed with 
        grenades. That doesn't sound like your normal 
        demonstration.

        A: As I said, we're still investigating exactly what 
        happened. I don't want to jump the gun on this. But 
        you're right that this is not a situation that was 
        exactly the same as what happened in Egypt, and my 
        suspicion is, is that there are folks involved in this 
        who were looking to target Americans from the 
        start.\97\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \97\See Email from Bernadette M. Meehan, Spokesperson, Nat'l Sec. 
Council, to Victoria J. Nuland, Spokesperson, Dep't of State, & Patrick 
H. Ventrell, Spokesperson, U.S. Dep't of State (Sept. 13, 2012, 9:17 
AM) (on file with the Committee, C05527907) (Attaching transcript of 
the Interview of the President by Steve Kroft, 60 Minutes).

    Later in the interview, the President raised the issue of 
the video while referring to the Benghazi attacks, implying the 
film was an ``excuse for violence against Americans'' and 
conflating the two issues.\98\ The President said:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \98\Id.

        And I do have to say that, more broadly, we believe in 
        the First Amendment. It is one of the hallmarks of our 
        Constitution that I'm sworn to uphold. And so we are 
        always going to uphold the rights for individuals to 
        speak their mind. On the other hand, this film is not 
        representative of who we are and our values, and I 
        think it's important for us to communicate that. That's 
        never an excuse for violence against Americans[.]\99\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \99\Id.

               Private Statements Tell a Different Story

    While administration officials may have been in sync with 
their public messaging regarding the Benghazi attacks on 
September 12, the messages shared privately told a completely 
different story.
    Minutes before the President delivered his speech in the 
Rose Garden, Sullivan wrote in an email to Rhodes and others:

        There was not really much violence in Egypt. And we are 
        not saying that the violence in Libya erupted ``over 
        inflammatory videos.''\100\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \100\Email from Jacob J. Sullivan, Deputy Chief of Staff and Dir. 
of Policy Planning, U.S. Dep't of State, to Senior Dir. for Commc'cs 
and Public Diplomacy, Afghanistan and Pakistan, U.S. Dep't of State, et 
al. (Sept. 12, 2012, 10:30 AM) (on file with the Committee, C05578214).

    Sullivan's private acknowledgement differs notably from the 
consistent public remarks connecting the video and the attacks 
in both the President's and the Secretary's statements that 
day.
    On September 12, 2012, the President made separate phone 
calls to Libya President Mohamad Magariaf and Egyptian 
President Mohamed Morsi. In his phone call with the Egyptian 
President, the President ``said that he rejects efforts to 
denigrate Islam, but underscored there is never any 
justification for violence against innocents and acts that 
endanger American personnel and facilities.''\101\ This is a 
reference to the video, which was the cause of the protest 
against the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \101\Press Release, The White House Office of the Press Secretary, 
Readout of the President's Call with Egyptian President Morsi (Sept. 
13, 2012), https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/13/
readout-president-s-call-egyptian-president-morsi.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In his phone call with the Libyan President, the President 
said the two countries ``must work together to do whatever is 
necessary to identify the perpetrators of this attack and bring 
them to justice.''\102\ Notably, however, President Obama did 
not make a reference to the video.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \102\Press Release, The White House Office of the Press Secretary, 
Readout of the President's Call with Libyan President Magariaf (Sept. 
13, 2012), https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/13/
readout-president-s-call-libyan-president-magariaf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Secretary also had a phone call with an Egyptian 
leader, Prime Minister Hisham Kandil, on the afternoon of 
September 12. According to the call notes, the Secretary told 
the Prime Minister the following:

        We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with 
        the film. It was a planned attack--not a protest. . . . 
        Your [sic] not kidding. Based on the information we saw 
        today we believe the group that claimed responsibility 
        for this was affiliated with al-Qaeda.\103\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \103\Email from U.S. Dep't of State to S_CallNotes (Sept. 12, 2012, 
7:11 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05561911).

    Not only did the Secretary tell the Prime Minister ``the 
attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film,'' she 
strengthened the statement by prefacing it with ``we 
know.''\104\ Such a definitive declaration made privately to 
another world leader stands in stark contrast to her speech 
earlier in the day to the American people where she mentioned 
the attack--``this vicious behavior''--in the same breath as 
the video--``inflammatory material posted on the 
internet.''\105\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \104\Id.
    \105\Though some may claim that ``vicious behavior'' also occurred 
in Cairo, in the Secretary's September 12 speech she specifically 
separates the ``vicious behavior'' from what transpired in Cairo by 
saying ``this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place 
at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday . . .'' Secretary Clinton Delivers 
Remarks on the Deaths of U.S. Personnel in Benghazi, Libya, DIPNOTE 
(Sept. 12, 2012), https://blogs.state.gov/stories/2012/09/12/
secretary-clinton-delivers-remarks-deaths-us-personnel-benghazi-libya.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Kennedy was also emphatic in privately conveying that no 
protests had occurred prior to the attack. In a separate, 
private briefing to congressional staff Kennedy was 
specifically asked whether this was ``an attack under the cover 
of a protest.''\106\ Kennedy, who oversaw the Bureau of 
Diplomatic Security and had ready access to real-time 
information from the Diplomatic Security agents on the ground 
in Benghazi, replied ``[n]o this was a direct breaching 
attack.''\107\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \106\Email from Legislative Management Officer for Near Eastern 
Affairs, U.S. Dep't of State, to H_Egypt, et al. (Sept. 12, 2012, 7:55 
PM) (on file with the Committee, C05580110).
    \107\Email from Legislative Management Officer, U.S. Dep't of 
State, to H_Egypt, et al. (Sept 12, 2012, 7:55 PM) (on file with the 
Committee, C05562234).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Kennedy's assertions also aligned with the intelligence 
product, the Executive Update, produced by the CIA analysts 
earlier that day and shared with senior administration 
officials. That piece stated ``the presence of armed assailants 
from the outset suggests this was an intentional assault and 
not the escalation of a peaceful protest.''\108\ This piece--
which was part of the President's Daily Brief and likely 
discussed with the President's Chief of Staff on September 13, 
2012--is discussed at length in Appendix H.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \108\Middle East and North Africa Situation Report, Sept. 12, 2012, 
0700 EDT (on file with CIA, REQUEST 17-0345 to REQUEST 0346).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Whether or not a protest occurred prior to the attack was a 
significant fact at the time because the absence of a protest 
would clearly distinguish what happened in Benghazi from what 
transpired in Cairo. If it therefore became clear no protests 
occurred in Benghazi over the video, then the administration 
would therefore no longer be able to connect the two events in 
statements about Benghazi.
    Privately, Kennedy did not hesitate to explain no protests 
had occurred prior to the attack.\109\ Publicly, however, it 
took the administration more than two weeks to do so.\110\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \109\See Email to H_Egypt, et al. (Sept 12, 2012, 7:55 PM) (on file 
with the Committee, C05562234) (answering question about whether the 
attack was under the cover of a protest, Kennedy responded ``[n]o this 
was a direct breaching attack.'').
    \110\Press Release, Office of the Dir. of Nat'l Intel., Statement 
by the Director of Public Affairs for ODNI, Shawn Turner, on the 
intelligence related to the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in 
Benghazi, Libya (Sept. 28, 2012), https://www.dni.gov/index.php/
newsroom/press-releases/96-press-
releases-2012/731-statement-by-the-odni-s-director-of-public-affairs-
on-
intelligence-related-to-the-terrorist-attack-on-the-u-s-consulate-in-
benghazi.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                  SEPTEMBER 13 INTELLIGENCE ASSESSMENT

    On September 11 and September 12, public comments by 
administration officials had relied mainly on press reports and 
eyewitness accounts. On September 13 the Central Intelligence 
Agency [CIA] published its first intelligence assessment 
exclusively regarding the Benghazi attacks. This assessment, 
known as a WIRe [World Intelligence Review] was the key 
intelligence piece produced by CIA analysts immediately 
following the Benghazi attacks. It was titled ``Libya: 
Government Poorly Positioned To Address Attacks.''\111\ As both 
Michael J Morell, Deputy Director, Central Intelligence Agency, 
and the Director of the Office of Terrorism Analysis (OTA)--an 
office of [redacted text] analysts focused on terrorism 
issues--acknowledge, this was the first time the analysts had 
coordinated a piece about the Benghazi attacks among the entire 
intelligence community.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \111\Cent. Intel. Agency, Libya: Government Poorly Positioned to 
Address Attacks, World Intelligence Review, Sept. 13, 2012 [hereinafter 
September 13 WIRe] (on file with CIA, REQUEST 17-0067 to REQUEST 17-
0070).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The OTA Director described the purposes of this piece to 
the Committee:

        This is something that by this point we would have been 
        writing on a regular basis trying to sort out. . . . 
        [T]o have done a WIRe would've been really the first 
        time where we said we're going to stand back, we're 
        going to really make sure this was fully IC 
        coordinated. We're going to work through this and say 
        this is a more formal look. So I don't believe it was 
        tasked so much as it was time for us to really take a 
        full look at where we were.\112\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \112\Testimony of Dir. of the Office of Terrorism Analysis, Cent. 
Intel. Agency, Tr. at 105 (Nov. 13, 2015) (on file with the Committee).

    Additionally, this particular piece was also included as 
part of the President's Daily Brief [PDB].
    Morell explained:

        Q: So the PDB staff would have edited this particular 
        WIRe?

        A: Yes, because it was a PDB.

        Q: This particular WIRe was a PDB?

        A: Yes.\113\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \113\Testimony of Michael Morell, Deputy Dir., Cent. Intel. Agency, 
Tr. at 39-41 (Sept. 28, 2015) [hereinafter Morell Testimony] (on file 
with the Committee).

    As a PDB, this piece received wide distribution throughout 
the intelligence community. As Morell notes in his book, this 
piece ``would be published and shown to senior policy-makers 
and to Congress on the morning of September 13.''\114\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \114\Michael Morell, The Great War of Our Time: The CIA's Fight 
Against Terrorism--From al Qa'ida to ISIS 217 (2015).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This September 13 piece was the pivotal piece coming from 
the intelligence community for several reasons. One, it was the 
first time the analysts had taken a step back to assess what 
had actually occurred in Benghazi; two, this piece was widely 
distributed across the U.S. government;\115\ and three, Morell 
viewed this piece as the ``assessment'' of the analysts when he 
edited the talking points for the House Permanent Select 
Committee on Intelligence two days later.\116\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \115\Id.
    \116\Morell Testimony at 135.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Despite the September 13 piece being heavily vetted, going 
through the PDB process, and being widely distributed, the 
piece was rife with errors as the analysts themselves would 
later acknowledge. There were improper footnotes, poor and 
confusing phrasing, and most importantly, headlines that were 
not supported by any text. The result was a very poorly written 
piece containing inaccurate information that was relied on by 
those analyzing, discussing, and messaging the Benghazi 
attacks.
    The focus of the September 13 piece was twofold: the 
ability of the Libyan government to respond to the attacks, and 
the fact extremists had participated in the attacks. A timeline 
of the attacks and the sequence of events leading up to the 
attacks were not discussed in the piece. Whether or not a 
protest occurred prior to the attacks was not a focal point of 
the piece, nor was it an issue the analysts found to be 
particularly germane. As the manager of the analysts who wrote 
the piece testified:

        A: We weren't particularly concerned, worried about, or 
        thinking about protests when we wrote this.

        Q: That was the next question I was going to ask you. 
        Yeah.

        A: I want to make that very, very clear. Because in CTC 
        [Counterterrorism Center] when something like this 
        happens, we look at who do we think did it and are they 
        about to do it again and is there anything we can do to 
        stop it.

        So we did not think the question of protests was 
        particularly germane to answering that question. In 
        fact, it was fully probably a week. And we had several 
        conversations among ourselves and even with more senior 
        people in the DI [Directorate of Analysis] about, why 
        in the hell would everybody care about protests?

        We just--we weren't tracking on it because it wasn't 
        germane to what we were trying to do, which it doesn't 
        really excuse our sloppy work, particularly in that 
        paragraph here. I mean the ticks are the ticks. They 
        are based on reporting. But our assessment was just 
        imprecisely written. We weren't careful enough about 
        it.\117\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \117\Testimony of [redacted text] Team Chief, Ofice of Terrorism 
Analysis, Cent. Intel. Agency, Tr. at 52-53 (Feb. 10, 2016) 
[hereinafter [redacted text] Team Chief Testimony] (on file with the 
Committee).

    The fact the piece was not focused on protests--nor did the 
analysts find the issue of protests germane--is ironic given 
this piece has received so much attention by Morell and others 
as supporting evidence that the analysts did in fact believe a 
protest had occurred.\118\ That is because this is the only 
intelligence assessment written by the CIA that can support the 
analytic line that a protest had occurred prior to the 
attacks.\119\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \118\Morell Testimony at 50.
    \119\The CIA notes that a September 15 WIRe ``includes reporting 
that `members of an AAS-affiliated group stated that they took 
advantage of a planned demonstration . . .''' However, citing a report 
is different than crafting an assessment. A report is just that, a 
report--citing information from somebody else. An assessment, however, 
is the collective thoughts of analysts after synthesizing multiple 
pieces of intelligence to reach an analytic conclusion.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Further, it was put in the intelligence piece by accident--
a mistake that was not caught during what was supposed to be a 
rigorous and airtight editing process.
    In his book, Morell says ``[t]he September 13 piece--the 
first piece to go beyond a simple factual update--said four 
things. First, that the assault on the [Benghazi Mission 
compound] had been a spontaneous event that evolved from a 
protest outside the [Benghazi Mission compound].''\120\ Except 
Morell is wrong. The piece did not say this at all. In fact, 
the exact language of the piece reads: ``We assess the attacks 
on Tuesday against the US Consulate in Benghazi began 
spontaneously following the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo 
and evolved into a direct assault against the Consulate and a 
separate US facility in the city.''\121\ In his book, Morell 
alters the plain language of this piece, ``began spontaneously 
following protests at the US Embassy in Cairo,'' with the 
wording in his book, ``a spontaneous event that evolved from a 
protest outside the [Benghazi Mission compound].''\122\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \120\Morell, supra note 114, at 218.
    \121\Id. at 218.
    \122\Id. (emphasis added).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    On the first page of the September 13 piece, titled 
``Libya: Government Poorly Positioned To Address Attacks,'' 
there is a single mention of ``the early stages of the 
protest'' buried in one of the bullet points.\123\ The Director 
of the Office of Terrorism Analysis acknowledged the supporting 
evidence for this statement was incorrect. She testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \123\Cent. Intel. Agency, Libya: Government Poorly Positioned to 
Address Attacks, World Intelligence Review, Sept. 13, 2012 [hereinafter 
September 13 WIRe] (on file with CIA, REQUEST 17-0067 to REQUEST 17-
0070).

        Q: ``I'm sorry. In the early stages of the protest''--
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        so a direct reference to a protest----

        A: Yes.

        Q: ``Benghazi's top Ministry of Interior official 
        personally ordered the withdrawal of Libyan Security 
        Forces protecting the consulate saying he believed the 
        action would avoid violence, according to the press 
        reporting.''

        A: Correct.

        Q: And we talked about that earlier.

        A: Yes.

        Q: Just really quickly, flip back to footnote 16, can 
        you read the date on footnote 16? What's the date of 
        that?

        A: That is 2012/09/04, so that would obviously be 
        wrong.\124\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \124\OTA Dir. Testimony at 128.

    The article cited to support the mention of a protest in 
this instance was titled ``Libyan Parliament Speaker, Interior 
Minister Discuss Country's Security'' and was from Doha Libya 
TV in Arabic from September 4, 2012.\125\ In other words, the 
analysts used an article from September 4, 2012--a full week 
before the lethal attacks--to support the premise that a 
protest had occurred just prior to the attack on September 11. 
A simple source check by the reader--or during any of the 
multiple levels of allegedly ``rigorous'' editing--would have 
caught the blatantly obvious error of relying on a news article 
from September 4 to support an event that occurred on September 
11.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \125\September 13 WIRe, supra note 123.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yet it was not this mention of a protest in the piece that 
caught Morell's attention. Rather, it was a headline on the 
following page titled ``Extremists Capitalized on Benghazi 
Protests.'' This page was a text box, which the OTA Director 
described as:

        So a text box is material that we believe is related to 
        the storyline, to the analytic--to the arc of the story 
        but is something that we kind of separate out, because 
        sometimes it doesn't flow from the analytic argument 
        but it's information we think is important to include. 
        So think of it as an adjunct to the piece.\126\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \126\OTA Dir. Testimony at 109.

    While the title of this text box was ``Extremists 
Capitalized on Benghazi Protests,'' nothing in the actual text 
box supports that title.\127\ The summary paragraph in the text 
box, through which the rest of the text box would flow, read:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \127\September 13 WIRe, supra note 123, at 2.

        We assess the attacks on Tuesday against the US 
        Consulate in Benghazi began spontaneously following the 
        protests at the US Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a 
        direct assault against the Consulate and a separate US 
        facility in the city. Extremists with ties to al-Qa-ida 
        were involved in the attacks, according to signals 
        intelligence.\128\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \128\Id.

    There is no mention--or even hint--of any protest in 
Benghazi in that paragraph or in any other text in the text 
box. Rather, the only mention of a protest relates to what had 
transpired in Cairo.\129\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \129\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    After a discussion of this document during their interviews 
with the Committee, both Morell and the OTA Director 
acknowledged this fact. Morell testified:

        Q: I'm trying to tie it all back to the headline----

        A: Yep.

        Q: --``Extremists Capitalized on Benghazi Protests,'' 
        I'm having a hard time understanding how that headline 
        is supported by the evidence.

        A: Right.

        Q: So far, nothing in the actual text of the WIRe 
        supports that, and so now we're looking at each 
        footnote, footnote 29--source note 29, we've looked at 
        the New York Times article, the body of the article 
        doesn't support that, just the headline, and now we're 
        looking at source note 30, ``according to [redacted 
        text].'' You know, where in here does it support that 
        but for collateral, is my question to you.

        A: And so--look, I don't know the answer to your 
        question, right, why they wrote it the way they 
        did.\130\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \130\Morell Testimony at 49.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The OTA Director testified:

        Q: Okay. Let's look at the first bullet point. . . . 
        That's a lengthy sentence.

        A: Not good trade craft. We try and make them shorter.

        Q: Is there anything in that sentence or that bullet 
        point that denotes that there was a protest in Benghazi 
        that you can see?

        A: ``After hearing how protesters breached the''--so, 
        no, not in Benghazi.

        Q: Not in Benghazi, okay.

        Let's look at the next tick. . . .

        Is there anything in that tick that mentions a protest 
        in Benghazi?

        A: No.

        Q: All right. Let's look at the third tick. . . . Is 
        there anything in that tick that mentions a protest in 
        Benghazi?

        A: No.

        Q: And then I'm just going to read the last paragraph 
        here. . . .

        Is there anything in that paragraph that mentions the 
        protest in Benghazi?

        A: No.\131\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \131\OTA Dir. Testimony at 110-12.

    The OTA Director also told the Committee the text box in 
the September 13 intelligence piece was not supposed to be 
about whether or not protests had occurred in Benghazi prior to 
the attack.\132\ Instead, it was supposed to focus on the 
involvement of extremists in the attacks. That was the point 
the analysts were trying to drive--extremists, not protests. 
This was true of the headline of the text box, too. The key 
word in that headline, according to the OTA Director, was 
``extremists,'' not ``protests.'' She testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \132\Id. at 112-13.

        Q: So the headline for this text box, ``Extremists 
        Capitalized on Benghazi Protests,'' do you see any 
        supporting evidence in the five paragraphs I've just 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        read that support that headline?

        A: So the headline--and I admit that in retrospect, if 
        I could go back and change this headline, I would. 
        Because the headline, it was more meant to be about 
        the, we know extremists were involved and less about 
        whether or not there were protests.

        So if you look at this idea that the first, the topic 
        sentence that talks--so, sorry, the second sentence, 
        where the bullets are then following immediately after, 
        about extremists with the ties to Al Qaeda were 
        involved. We then go on in the first bullet to talk 
        about we know that there was, you know [redacted text]. 
        That bullet was to not only talk about AQIM but to also 
        talk a little bit about motivation.

        The second bullet that talks about, you know, again, 
        extremists, as we were calling at that point, Ansar al-
        Sharia in Benghazi claimed responsibility, and also 
        talked about the timing that this was spontaneous, 
        [redacted text]. So, again, this idea of preplanning, 
        timing, and those involved.

        And the third bullet was, I think, meant to illustrate 
        that this was a series that the extremists were 
        involved at various points that was an opportunistic 
        attack sequence, as we talk about. They took advantage 
        of opportunities to attack U.S. facilities at various 
        points throughout the night.

        So are those things directly supporting in the way we 
        would like the title of this? No. Was it meant--and as 
        I said, so if I could take back that title, I would.

        Q: Sure. ``Extremists'' is the key word in the title?

        A: Yes, not the protests.\133\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \133\Id. at 112-13.

    She later called the title of the text box the 
``unfortunate title,''\134\ and, as the head of the Office of 
Terrorism Analysis, ultimately took responsibility for it.\135\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \134\Id. at 135.
    \135\Id. at 112-113.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    While there may have been no text in the text box to 
support the title, as it turns out, the title was intended to 
be something different. According to the manager of the 
analysts who wrote the piece, the title of the text box was 
supposed to be ``Extremists Capitalized on Cairo 
Protests.''\136\ That small but vital difference--from Cairo to 
Benghazi--had major implications in how people in the 
administration were able to message the attacks, and was used 
as support in the days and weeks after this piece was published 
for the claim that protests had occurred prior to the Benghazi 
attacks.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \136\[Redacted text] Team Chief Testimony at 49, 136.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Even worse, this mistake was not caught until more than a 
week later, when the analysts were updating their assessment. 
The manager of the analysts who wrote the piece testified:

        Q: The title here: ``Extremists Capitalized on Benghazi 
        Protests.'' So we talked to [the OTA Director] about 
        this. She called it an unfortunate title?

        A: It was a--we made a mistake.

        Q: Okay. So when you say ``we made a mistake,'' I mean, 
        where--how would that have been----

        A: So, God, how do I begin?

                              *    *    *

        A: . . . So ``Extremists Capitalized on Benghazi 
        Protests.'' Benghazi was supposed to be Cairo. So----

        Q: Okay.

        A: But let me explain that. So--and, frankly, it's a 
        mistake that we didn't even notice until we published 
        the WIRe on the 24th, where I was talking to a senior 
        person as he was reviewing it, and he was looking back 
        and asking, I thought: Oh, my God, we were talking 
        about Cairo.\137\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \137\Id. at 48-49.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    She also testified:

        Q: So I guess this is why I'm a little confused is you 
        say in the title Benghazi should have been Cairo?

        A: The title probably should have read something like 
        extremists motivated to attack in Benghazi because of 
        protests in Cairo.\138\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \138\Id. at 54.

    In the end, Morell conceded the obvious--this piece could 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
have been written better. He testified:

        Right. And if you want to get a bottom line from me, 
        from me, I don't think this was as well done as it 
        could have been for a lot of reasons. I have reasons 
        beyond yours as to why I don't think this is as well 
        done as it could be, and you're pointing out some 
        additional ones. So I don't think it is as well done as 
        it could have been.\139\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \139\Morell Testimony at 56.

    In addition to this piece being poorly written--
conveniently, in a way relied on by senior administration 
officials with respect to a key point--it also contained 
sourcing inaccuracies. One of these was described above. The 
lack of attention paid to sourcing has implications on future 
pieces shared with the President and other senior executive 
branch officials.\140\ From papers in high school, theses in 
college, law review articles to scientific research, assertions 
made are expected to be properly documented with sources to 
support them. Yet when it comes to CIA analysts and pieces they 
write for the President, for some reason these footnotes do not 
receive the scrutiny they deserve. Morell explains:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \140\Id.

        A: So context number two, right, is that analysts don't 
        spend a lot of time making sure that these footnotes 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        match. Okay. They just don't. They just don't.

        Q: Is that a problem?

        A: It certainly is when you have a situation like this.

        Q: I'm a lawyer. I mean, if you're writing a Law Review 
        article, those things are going to be footnoted to 
        death.

        A: Is it a problem? Yes. Is it a problem? Yes. So those 
        are the few pieces of context, right, is they believed 
        is what they believed, right? They had a set of--they 
        believed they had a set of information, a set of data 
        points that took them there. Third, I think you've got 
        to be a little bit careful going through this sentence 
        by sentence and source by source, because analysts 
        aren't as careful as they need to be.

        Q: Why aren't they as careful as they need to be? If 
        you're producing a piece for the [President], shouldn't 
        every sentence have a valid source note?

        A: Yes, absolutely. You're absolutely right. I couldn't 
        agree with you more.\141\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \141\Id. at 52-53.

    The OTA Director also acknowledged there is not enough 
emphasis on making sure the footnotes, known inside the CIA as 
source attributions, are accurate--especially for pieces that 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
become PDBs. She testified:

        A: The editing process would have differed for a PDB in 
        that it would have also gone through an additional 
        layer of review or several additional layers of review. 
        So a WIRe ceases, the review ceases pretty much after 
        the office director, as I said, except for some 
        technical edits.

        A PDB, our process is more--there are additional levels 
        that include a review within the organization we call 
        PASS. There's also then the DA [Directorate of 
        Analysis] front office would have reviewed a PDB, and 
        then it would also have gone to ODNI [Office of the 
        Director of National Intelligence].

                              *    *    *

        Q: Okay. So there are more senior analysts that would 
        review a PDB?

        A: Yes.

        Q: Does it undergo a certain extra level of rigor for 
        attributing sources and making sure everything lines up 
        properly?

        A: Attributing sources, not necessarily.\142\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \142\OTA Dir. Testimony at 106-08.

    Despite these myriad errors--the inaccurate title, the 
faulty sourcing, the lack of evidence in the text to support a 
headline--Morell and others have used this piece, and the title 
of the text box specifically, as the ``assessment'' of the 
analysts to buttress their statements that protests in Benghazi 
had occurred prior to the attacks.\143\ In fact, the title 
``Extremists Capitalized on Benghazi Protests'' alone does 
count as an ``assessment'' by the analysts. As the manager of 
the analysts testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \143\See e.g. Morell Testimony at 50.

        A: And our assessment--again, it's embarrassing, it's 
        poorly done--was that they had--really the title as it 
        stood was what our assessment was, but we didn't 
        explain it well--that they capitalized on these 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        protests in Benghazi.

        Q: Okay. So your title is what the assessment was, but 
        that's not supported--and this is my analysis--not 
        supported, Benghazi protests, by anything underneath--
        --

        A: That's true.

        Q: --in the ticks. Okay. So is that actually an 
        assessment, extremists capitalized on Benghazi 
        protests, or is the assessment sort of the body under 
        here, the paragraph, the three ticks, and then the 
        final paragraph?

        A: Well, it's all assessment. It's just sloppily done.

        Q: Okay. So extremists capitalized on Benghazi 
        protests, even though there's no supporting evidence 
        for that statement in this box----

        A: Yeah. Like I said, we weren't thinking about the 
        protests or we would have been, frankly, far more 
        careful about how we couched them.\144\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \144\[Redacted text] Team Chief Testimony at 55.

    In other words, the title of the text box itself was an 
assessment by the analysts. That title was inaccurate. That 
title was an accident and was supposed to be something else 
entirely, but nobody caught it. The analysts were not even 
focused on the issue of protests. Yet it was that title the 
administration could point to--and ultimately relied upon--to 
say the analysts had assessed that protests had occurred prior 
to the Benghazi attacks. That title is the only analytic piece 
fully vetted by the intelligence community prior to Morell's 
editing of the talking points and the appearance on the Sunday 
talk shows by Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to 
the United Nations, where she said protests had occurred in 
Benghazi.
    Nevertheless, despite the incorrect title and numerous 
other faults with the September 13 piece, there is still no 
assessment by the analysts that tied what transpired in 
Benghazi to the internet video. Even among the legion of 
mistakes made, the piece did not authoritatively connect 
Benghazi with protests or an internet video.

                        THE CONFLATION CONTINUES

    While the inaccurate and poorly written CIA analysis on 
September 13 gave an opening for administration officials to 
claim protests had occurred prior to the Benghazi attack, the 
public connection and conflation by administration officials 
between Benghazi and the video continued. This occurred despite 
any assessment by the CIA analysts of the video playing a role 
in the Benghazi attacks.
    During her remarks at the opening plenary of the U.S.-
Morocco strategic dialogue on September 13, 2012, the Secretary 
of State said there is ``no justification, none at all, for 
responding to this video with violence. We condemn the violence 
that has resulted in the strongest terms.''\145\ These comments 
were similar to prior public comments she had made regarding 
the video.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \145\Hillary R. Clinton, Sec'y of State, U.S. Dep't of State, 
Remarks at the Opening Plenary of the U.S.-Morocco Strategic Dialogue 
(Sept.13, 2012), http://www.state.gov/secretary/20092013clinton/rm/
2012/09/197711.htm.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A draft of the Secretary's comments, however, shows an 
attempt to draw a stronger link between Benghazi and the 
video--something unsupportable by the intelligence at the time, 
and not part of the CIA's assessment--than she stated publicly. 
A draft of the Secretary's speech states: ``But as I said 
yesterday, there is no justification--none--for responding to 
an Internet video with murder. We condemn the violence that has 
resulted in the strongest terms.''\146\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \146\Email from Jacob J. Sullivan, Deputy Chief of Staff and Dir. 
of Policy Planning, U.S. Dep't of State, to Daniel B. Schwerin, 
Speechwriter, U.S. Dep't of State, et al. (Sept. 13, 2012, 9:22 AM) (on 
file with the Committee, SCB00100122).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This subtle change from the draft to her speech--from 
``murder'' to ``violence''--is important. While some violence 
had occurred at other United States diplomatic facilities 
across the Arab World such as Cairo, murder had only occurred 
at one: Benghazi.\147\ By changing that one word, from 
``murder'' to ``violence,'' the Secretary did not draw an 
irrebuttable, direct link between the video and Benghazi--a 
link she had told the Egyptian Prime Minister she knew did not 
exist\148\--but instead continued to indirectly connect and 
conflate the two events to the American public, thus allowing 
her to claim she did not make a direct public connection 
between the video and the Benghazi attacks.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \147\Benghazi was the only U.S. facility during this time period 
where terrorists killed an American government official.
    \148\See Email from U.S. Dep't of State to S_CallNotes (Sept. 12, 
2012, 7:11 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05561911) (attaching notes 
from phone call with Egyptian Prime Minister).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    That same day, Thomas R. Nides, Deputy Secretary of State 
for Management and Resources, had a meeting with the new 
Egyptian Ambassador to the U.S. According to a summary of that 
meeting, ``Nides said he understood the difference between the 
targeted attack in Libya and the way the protest escalated in 
Egypt.''\149\ While this message was shared privately by the 
Deputy Secretary of State to the Egyptian Ambassador two days 
after the attacks, it was not until two weeks later that the 
administration finally shared this message publicly with the 
American people.\150\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \149\Email from Operations Center, U.S. Dep't of State to Prem G. 
Kumar, Dir. for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs, White House (Sept. 13, 
2012, 12:29 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05562242).
    \150\Press Release, Office of the Dir. of National Intel., 
Statement by the Director of Public Affairs for ODNI, Shawn Turner, on 
the intelligence related to the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate 
in Benghazi, Libya (Sept. 28, 2012), https://www.dni.gov/index.php/
newsroom/press-releases/96-press-
releases-2012/731-statement-by-the-odni-s-director-of-public-affairs-
on-
intelligence-related-to-the-terrorist-attack-on-the-u-s-consulate-in-
benghazi.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    At a press briefing later in the day on September 13, 
Nuland openly talked about the video while discussing the 
Benghazi attacks.\151\ At the briefing, she was asked whether 
any of the information she provided during the background 
briefing the day before had changed; said she did not have 
anything significantly different than what she had said 
privately on background.\152\ Yet when asked about the Benghazi 
attack, she answered the question, then pivoted to talking 
about the video:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \151\Daily Press Briefing by Spokesperson Victoria Nuland, Bureau 
of Public Affairs, U.S. Dep't of State (Sept. 13, 2012), http://
www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2012/09/197729.htm.
    \152\Id.

        Q: Toria, can you tell us whether there's been any 
        progress towards determining whether the Benghazi 
        attack was purely spontaneous or was premeditated by 
        militants, and also whether there's been any further 
        determination about the extent to which the Cairo, 
        Benghazi, and now Yemen attacks were related in some 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        way other than just theme?

        A: Well, as we said yesterday when we were on 
        background, we are very cautious about drawing any 
        conclusions with regard to who the perpetrators were, 
        what their motivations were, whether it was 
        premeditated, whether they had any external contacts, 
        whether there was any link, until we have a chance to 
        investigate along with the Libyans. So I know that's 
        going to be frustrating for you, but we really want to 
        make sure that we do this right and we don't jump to 
        conclusions.

        That said, obviously, there are plenty of people around 
        the region citing this disgusting video as something 
        that has been motivating. As the Secretary said this 
        morning, while we as Americans, of course, respect free 
        speech, respect free expression, there is never an 
        excuse for it to become violent.\153\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \153\Id.

    While the question addresses Cairo, Benghazi, and Yemen, 
Nuland does not differentiate among the three events and 
instead notes ``there are plenty of people around the region 
citing this disgusting video as something that has been 
motivating.''\154\ Nuland's failure to separate what transpired 
in Benghazi from what transpired in Cairo on the same day and 
Yemen one day later resulted in an administration official 
connecting again, publicly, Benghazi with the other two 
events--and thus Benghazi with the video.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \154\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Two days after the attacks ended, September 14, Jay Carney, 
Press Secretary, White House, held a press briefing at the 
White House. Reporters pressed on whether the administration 
believed the events in Benghazi were a reaction to the video:

        A: Jake, let's be clear, these protests were in 
        reaction to a video that had spread to the region----

        Q: At Benghazi? What happened at Benghazi----

        A: We certainly don't know. We don't know otherwise. We 
        have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned 
        attack. The unrest we've seen around the region has 
        been in reaction to a video that Muslims, many Muslims 
        find offensive. And while the violence is reprehensible 
        and unjustified, it is not a reaction to the 9/11 
        anniversary that we know of, or to U.S. policy.

        Q: But the group around the Benghazi post was well 
        armed. It was a well-coordinated attack. Do you think 
        it was a spontaneous protest against a movie?

        A: Look, this is obviously under investigation, and I 
        don't have----

        Q: But your operating assumption is that that was in 
        response to the video, in Benghazi? I just want to 
        clear that up. That's the framework? That's the 
        operating assumption?

        A: Look, it's not an assumption----

        Q: Because there are administration officials who 
        don't--who dispute that, who say that it looks like 
        this was something other than a protest.

        A: I think there has been news reports on this, Jake, 
        even in the press, which some of it has been 
        speculative. What I'm telling you is this is under 
        investigation. The unrest around the region has been in 
        response to this video. We do not, at this moment, have 
        information to suggest or to tell you that would 
        indicate that any of this unrest was preplanned.\155\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \155\Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, Office of the 
Press Secretary, The White House (Sept. 14, 2012), https://
www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/14/press-briefing-press-
secretary-jay-carney-9142012.

    In his response to a question about what happened at 
Benghazi, Carney switches gears to talking about the general 
unrest in the region as a whole--which was a result of the 
video. Carney does not distinguish the events in Benghazi from 
the events around the rest of the region thus connecting and 
conflating the two issues and again giving the impression that 
what happened in Benghazi happened as a result of the video. 
Carney is also asked twice whether or not a protest had 
occurred in Benghazi. Similar to his comments about the video, 
Carney talks about unrest in the region as a whole, conflating 
protests and Benghazi, and failing to distinguish Benghazi from 
what had transpired elsewhere in the region.
    Despite these public comments by senior administration 
officials, those on the ground in Libya knew otherwise. That 
same morning a public information officer from the Embassy in 
Tripoli sent an email to colleagues in Tripoli and at the State 
Department headquarters in Washington D.C. regarding 
``messaging on the attacks in Libya.''\156\ The email said:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \156\Email from Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Tripoli, to 
Spokesperson, U.S. Dep't of State, et al. (Sept 14, 2012, 6:43 AM) (on 
file with the Committee, C05396788).

        Colleagues, I . . . want to share with all of you, our 
        view at Embassy Tripoli that we must be cautious in our 
        local messaging with regard to the inflammatory film 
        trailer, adapting it to Libyan conditions. Our 
        monitoring of the Libyan media and conversations with 
        Libyans suggests that the film is not as explosive of 
        an issue here as it appears to be in other countries in 
        the region. The overwhelming majority of the FB 
        [Facebook] comments and tweets we're [sic] received 
        from Libyans since the Ambassador's death have 
        expressed deep sympathy, sorrow, and regret. They have 
        expressed anger at the attackers, and emphasized that 
        this attack does not represent Libyans or Islam. 
        Relatively few have even mentioned the inflammatory 
        video. So if we post messaging about the video 
        specifically, we may draw unwanted attention to it. And 
        it is becoming increasingly clear that the series of 
        events in Benghazi was much more terrorist attack than 
        a protest which escalated into violence. It is our 
        opinion that in our messaging, we want to distinguish, 
        not conflate, the events in other countries with this 
        well-planned attack by militant extremists. I have 
        discussed this with Charge Hicks and shares PAS's 
        view.\157\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \157\Id.

    The purpose of this email was to discuss messaging to the 
Libyan people--similar to the part of the Secretary's September 
11 statement where her aides noted she wanted to speak to the 
region to ``lower the temperature.''\158\ What is significant 
about this email, however, is that in discussing messaging to 
the Libyans, the video is not emphasized at all--in fact the 
messaging on the ground in Libya sought to distinguish what 
happened from other countries.\159\ This again contrasts with 
the statements of senior administration officials, speaking to 
the American people, who consistently connect the video and 
Benghazi.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \158\Schwerin Testimony at 17.
    \159\Email from Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Tripoli, to 
Spokesperson, U.S. Dep't of State, et al. (Sept 14, 2012, 6:43 AM) (on 
file with the Committee, C05396788).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                           THE TALKING POINTS

    The talking points provided by the CIA to the House 
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence [HPSCI] on September 
15, 2012 were flawed. The individual who made the most 
substantial changes to those talking points was Michael 
Morell.\160\ While much has been written about these talking 
points and the flawed process undertaken to create them, this 
section focuses on what specific information Morell had at his 
disposal when he made the changes to the talking points, how 
this information affected his editing of the talking points, 
and subsequent portrayal of the talking points by others.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \160\White House e-mails on 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, 
Washington Post, http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/politics/white-
house-e-mails-on-2012-attacks-in-benghazi-libya/157.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                        Information from Tripoli

    While the September 13 WIRe represented an ``assessment'' 
that CIA analysts believed a protest had occurred prior to the 
Benghazi attack, CIA case officers and security personnel in 
Libya knew that was not the case. For the first two days after 
the attacks, the Chief of Station in Tripoli had been 
debriefing eyewitnesses to find out what happened and worked 
with his CIA counterparts--who had been in Benghazi--to contact 
their sources and collect as much information as possible about 
the attacks.\161\ The Chief of Station knew no protests or 
demonstrations occurred prior to the attack. None of the 
eyewitnesses he spoke with mentioned anything about 
protests.\162\ The Chief of Station testified he first learned 
that Washington D.C. created a narrative that protests had 
occurred around September 13 or 14:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \161\Testimony of Tripoli Chief of Station, Cent. Intel. Agency, 
Tr. at 129-31, 189 (July, 16, 2015) [hereinafter Chief of Station 
Testimony] (on file with the Committee).
    \162\Id. at 122-123.

        Q: I guess the first question would be, when did you 
        first become aware that there was a belief back in 
        Washington that the Benghazi attack was carried out 
        without a significant degree of preplanning, and that 
        the attack had somehow evolved from a demonstration at 
        the consulate, or perhaps used a demonstration as 
        cover? About three things there, but when did you first 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        become aware of those misconceptions?

        A: I want to say it was when--probably the 13th or 14th 
        we were asked to coordinate on that first intelligence 
        report that came out.

        Q: Sure.

        A: We provided our edits or our contributions to that. 
        They weren't incorporated or included.\163\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \163\Id. at 178.

    This was just the first time--in what would become a 
pattern--of analysts and others at CIA headquarters relying on 
accounts from the press and other sources over that of 
America's highest ranking intelligence officer in Libya.\164\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \164\The CIA told the Committee this part of the report ``suggests 
the intelligence community had no information on which to base our 
initial assessment that a protest preceded the attacks on the State 
compound. To the contrary, a significant body of information available 
immediately following the attacks indicated that there was a protest.'' 
This ``significant body of information,'' however, was almost 
exclusively press reporting, and with one exception, this information 
was not cited in either the September 13 or September 15 WIRe pieces.

On September 16, 2012, at the direction of Michael Morell, the CIA 
analysts finally tackled the issue of protests head-on. They wrote: 
``We have contradictory reporting about whether nonviolent 
demonstrations occurred prior to the attack on the US Consulate. The 
Station's assessment that there were no peaceful protests on the day of 
the attack is in contrast to other reports that peaceful protests 
preceded the violent assault.'' As supporting evidence for this 
paragraph the analysts used only public news articles from the 
Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and National Public Radio--all of 
which were at least three days old--in addition to articles by Al 
Jazirah and the Guardian of London. They did not cite any intelligence 
reports, instead relying on the Internet.
    The earliest evidence the Committee has seen where the 
Chief of Station told CIA headquarters a protest did not occur 
in Benghazi came early in the morning on Friday September 14, 
2012.\165\ A Worldwide Unrest Update sent to Morell's 
assistants and chief of staff said:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \165\Email from [EA to DDCIA] to DIR-EAs, (Sept. 14, 2012, 8:27 AM) 
(on file with the CIA, REQUEST 1-001673 to 1-001674).

        Tripoli: COS [Chief of Station] passed the following 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        update being formulated by NE [Near East] now.

        1. LFighters were trained, not an undisciplined 
        militia. State compound was an assult/probe [sic] vice 
        flash mob. This is based on the observations of CIA 
        officers who were in the fight assessing the fighting 
        method of the attackers.

        2. LMultiple militias and fluid political dynamics in 
        Benghazi. Central government not able to project 
        influence/power.

        3. LMortar attack was precise on base location. Per 
        JSOC [Joint Special Operations Command] operation on 
        the gorund [sic] one short, one long, two direct hits. 
        Their assessment this was a well-trained group--not 
        militia rabble. JSOC officer is training the Libyan 
        Special Forces and noted that they are not as capable 
        of precision mortar fire as was witness [sic] on 12 
        September.\166\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \166\Id.

    Morell explained the purpose of these Worldwide Unrest 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Updates:

        When the unrest began across the Muslim world as a 
        result of the video, there was unrest, there were 
        protests, the administration was deeply concerned about 
        the prospect--possibility prospect of violence against 
        U.S. facilities and U.S. persons. We were having daily 
        deputies meetings to discuss the safety of Americans 
        and the safety of U.S. facilities overseas, two a day 
        deputies meetings, one in the morning and one at night.

        One of the things the director and I did--and I don't 
        know which one of us in particular did--one of us asked 
        [redacted text] where there was unrest as a result of 
        the video to do a daily update, right? This is the 
        daily update from Tripoli for that day in response to 
        that request.\167\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \167\Morell Testimony at 111.

    In other words, the daily updates were done for Morell, 
sent to his Executive Assistants, and written for his 
consumption. Despite this, Morell assumed the analysts received 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
these updates as well. He testified:

        Q: Did this actually go to the analysts?

        A: I assume so. I assume so.

        Q: Okay. Why would you assume it went to the analyst if 
        it was created for you?

        A: Because I believe all the updates--the updates were 
        shared. I mean, that's something we can check, okay, 
        something we can check.

        Q: So you believe that this worldwide unrest update was 
        shared with you?

        A: Absolutely. And something you can ask [the OTA 
        Director].\168\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \168\Id. at 114-15.

    The Committee asked the OTA Director, if she received this 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
document. She was not aware they did. She testified:

        At the time, I was not aware. I have since become 
        aware. I believe this was part of the daily email that 
        was being done at the behest of DD/CIA.\169\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \169\OTA Dir. Testimony at 130.

    The manager of the analysts who conducted the analysis also 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
does not remember seeing this email. She testified:

        Q: Is this something that would have made it to your 
        desk or your analysts' desks?

        A: Not this email. . . .

        Q: Okay. Under Tripoli it says ``COS [Chief of Station] 
        passed the following update being formulated by NE 
        now.'' And then there are seven, I guess, individual 
        updates. Those seven updates in this format, is that 
        something that would have been passed to your team?

        A: No, I've never seen this.

        Q: Okay. I'm just trying to understand----

        A: Well, let me say, I don't remember seeing it. And I 
        don't know that my team would have passed it. I do know 
        [Chief of Station] was unhappy with our call on 
        protests because----\170\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \170\[Redacted text] Team Chief Testimony at 61-62.

    When asked about this specific Worldwide Unrest Update from 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
the Chief of Station, Morell responded:

        A: So, look, the point is--the point is--the point is 
        there is a flood of information coming in, right, and 
        it's not my job as the deputy director of CIA to assess 
        all this stuff. Right?

        Q: Right.

        A: It's the job of the analyst. So I'm looking at it 
        from the perspective of, geez, is there anything here 
        that's going to lead me to raise questions with the 
        analyst?

        Q: Okay. And was there anything in this particular 
        email, the worldwide unrest update that caused you to 
        raise questions with the analyst?

        A: So this is not the--this is not from the 14th. So, 
        no.\171\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \171\Morell Testimony at 117-18.

    As noted earlier, the email was sent at 8:27 a.m. on 
September 14, 2012. It is unclear why Morell did not 
acknowledge this fact.
    That afternoon, the Chief of Station also wrote an email 
directly to one of the analysts in the Office of Terrorism 
Analysis.\172\ That email, in response to a request to 
coordinate on talking points for a phone call for David 
Petraeus, Director, Central Intelligence Agency, on the Libya 
attack, said:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \172\Email from Tripoli Chief of Station, Cent. Intel. Agency, to 
[Office of Terrorism Analysis Analyst] (Sept. 14, 2012, 4:05 PM) (on 
file with the CIA, REQUEST 15-0005).

        We are verifying some of the events that took place in 
        fornt [sic] of the State department facility with some 
        of the embassy personnel. The RSO [Regional Security 
        Officer] noted that he was not aware of a protest in 
        front of the consulate (the DOS [Department of State] 
        facility where the Ambo and the ARSO's were staying. 
        (could it have been the AAmerican [sic] corner?) We 
        will be talking to the lead [redacted text] who was in 
        Benghazi to obtain additional background. I also do not 
        agree with the assessment that the attack was 
        opportunistic [sic] in origin. The GRS Agents and xx 
        operators on the scene noted that the fighters were 
        moving and shooting in a fashion that indicated 
        training--and set them apart for the militias fighters 
        typically found in Benghazi. Perhaps most compelling 
        point was the comment by the [redacted text] who noted 
        the percise [sic] and timing of mortar fire--one short, 
        one long two direct hits. He noted that the Libyan 
        special forces are unable to use mortars so effectively 
        and that U.S. forces mortar company would be hard 
        pressed to repeat the same performace [sic] as he 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        witnessed in Benghazi.

        I am basing my assessment mostly on the data from the 
        guys on the ground (not all source) and dealing with 
        Libyan contacts. Thanks for letting [sic] have an 
        opportunity to co[o]rd[inate].\173\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \173\Id.

    The Chief of Station noted he was relying on information 
from ``guys on the ground'' and ``Libyan contacts.''\174\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \174\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Even though this email was written to an analyst, the 
analysts sent it up the chain. The manager of the analysts 
testified:

        Q: Okay. So this email is from chief of station to her. 
        Do you recall whether or not she forwarded this to you 
        or disseminated this----

        A: Oh yeah. She forwarded it. Everything from the 
        [Chief of Station] I saw.

        Q: So when you received this email, is this something 
        you would have pushed up the chain?

        A: Oh, yeah. Chief of Station, you know, disagreeing 
        with something is no small thing. I mean, the chiefs of 
        station are not required for coordination. But we 
        absolutely, and especially NCTC [National 
        Counterterrorism Center], take into account what they 
        have to say.

        Q: All right. So you sounded confident that you pushed 
        this up the chain. I guess my question----

        A: I don't remember doing it, but, I mean, I would 
        have.

        Q: Okay. And you would have sent that to?

        A: [OTA Director].

        Q: [OTA Director]. Okay.

        A: And my boss, my----

        Q: Okay. And you don't know whether or not [the OTA 
        Director] would have sent it on further?

        A: I'm sure [the OTA Director] would have sent it on 
        further. But I don't--well, I say that. I can't be sure 
        what any other person does. But [the OTA Director] has 
        excellent judgment and a whole ton of bureaucratic 
        savvy. So----\175\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \175\[Redacted text] Team Chief Testimony at 68-69.

    The Chief of Station believes the email made its way up to 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Morell. He testified:

        Q: Do you know how high up the contents of your email 
        outlining your inform[ation] made it? Beyond the person 
        at CT that was coordinating it, do you have any idea? 
        Did it make it to Mr. Morell, for example?

        A: I believe it made it to Mr. Morell.

        Q: Okay.

        A: Because this is one of the responses. The reason why 
        I say that----

        Q: Yeah.
        A: --it went--this was a response. He was aware of our 
        view that either--so I have all--I don't have any 
        reason to doubt it didn't make it to him.

        Q: Yeah.

        A: And his questions to us were consistent that he got 
        this specific information or something like it.\176\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \176\Chief of Station Testimony at 208-09.

    Morell, however, testified he does not remember receiving 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
this email. He told the committee:

        Q: Okay. You don't believe this is something that you 
        have ever seen?

        A: Not that I remember.\177\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \177\Morell Testimony at 119.

                      Drafting the Talking Points

    Petraeus testified the House Permanent Select Committee on 
Intelligence [HPSCI] did not ask for unclassified talking 
points when he met with them on September 14, 2012, but rather 
he offered to provide them to the Committee. Petraeus 
testified:

        A: Yeah. The Ranking Member asked: What can we say 
        about this publicly? And so I said: Okay, we'll come up 
        with something for you. And, frankly, the thinking was 
        we could do something very quickly, give it to him, he 
        could have it that afternoon, and he could know what he 
        could and could not say.

        Q: So your expectations were this was something that 
        would be done internally at the CIA and knocked out 
        quickly and sent over in the afternoon?

        A: Yeah, yeah. And, obviously, that would be 
        inappropriate in the end because it would need to be 
        sent through the intelligence community, so it had to 
        be an IC. And then, of course, since it's now going to 
        be used publicly, then the respective public affairs 
        offices of various organizations get involved. And then 
        since it has overall government implications, then you 
        end up having to get State and FBI. There's security 
        concerns and a variety of other issues that start to 
        get factored in. So it became quite an involved process 
        in the end.

        Q: But what was your understanding of how the process 
        would evolve when the tasking was first issued by 
        HPSCI?

        A: I'm not sure I had a very clear--yeah, staff come up 
        with some talking points.\178\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \178\Testimony of David Petraeus, Dir., Cent. Intel. Agency, Tr. at 
50-51 (Mar. 19, 2016) (on file with the Committee).

    The OTA Director accompanied Petraeus to the HPSCI meeting, 
and upon returning to her office, drafted an initial set of 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
talking points. She testified:

        So as I said, the coffee was that morning. I 
        immediately came back. And knowing the sense of urgency 
        that the Members had, I took that as my, you know, top 
        task was to get them talking points because they had 
        all said they were going to be going out and speaking 
        to the media and to constituents and they wanted to 
        know what they could say.

        So I put together the talking points. And I wanted them 
        to be reflective of what the Members, of course, had 
        just heard. Thinking back on this now, I think part of 
        this is I definitely had in my mind that the Members 
        had heard a fuller explanation from the director, but 
        that this was my attempt to try and say of what they 
        had heard what could they say in an unclassified 
        setting.

        So I drafted these talking points immediately after 
        that. And then at 11:15, so it was pretty quickly, then 
        circulated them to make sure that everyone agreed with 
        both the content and that they were unclassified.\179\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \179\OTA Dir. Testimony at 194-95.

    The first draft of the talking points contained six bullet 
points. Nowhere in any of these six bullet points is a mention 
of demonstrations or protests in Benghazi. The OTA Director 
acknowledged that these six bullet points were factually 
accurate--both at the time they were crafted and today.\180\ 
The first bullet point was pulled almost verbatim from the 
September 13 WIRe, published the day before.\181\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \180\OTA Dir. Testimony at 197.
    \181\September 13 WIRe, supra note 123. The September 13 WIRe said 
``We assess the attacks on Tuesday against the US Consulate in Benghazi 
began spontaneously following the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo 
and evolved into a direct assault against the Consulate and a separate 
US facility in the city.'' The first bullet point stated ``We believe 
based on currently available information that the attacks in Benghazi 
were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo 
and evolved into a direct assault against the US Consulate and 
subsequently its annex.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The bullet points were:

     LWe believe based on currently available 
information that the attacks in Benghazi were spontaneously 
inspired by the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo and evolved 
into a direct assault against the US Consulate and subsequently 
its annex. This assessment may change as additional information 
is collected and analyzed and currently available information 
continues to be evaluated.

     LThe crowd almost certainly was a mix of 
individuals from across many sectors of Libyan society. That 
being said, we do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al-
Qa'ida participated in the attack.

     LInitial press reporting linked the attack to 
Ansar al-Sharia. The group has since released a statement that 
the its [sic] leadership did not order the attacks, but did not 
deny that some of its members were involved. Ansar al-Sharia's 
facebook page aims to spread sharia in Libya and emphasizes the 
need for jihad to counter what it views as false 
interpretations of Islam, according to an open source study.

     LThe wide availability of weapons and experienced 
fighters in Libya almost certainly contributed to the lethality 
of the attacks.

     LSince April, there have been at least five other 
attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified 
assailants, including the June attack against the British 
Ambassador's convoy. We cannot rule out that individuals had 
previously surveilled the US facilities, also contributing to 
the efficacy of the attacks.

     LWe are working with Libyan authorities and 
intelligence partners in an effort to help bring to justice 
those responsible for the deaths of US citizens.\182\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \182\Talking Points Timeline, ABC News, http://abcnews.go.com/
images/Politics/Benghazi%
20Talking%20Points%20Timeline.pdf (last visited May 17, 2016).

    The OTA Director sent these six talking points out for 
coordination with other offices within the CIA at 11:15 
a.m.\183\ A member of the National Clandestine Service--the 
operators who work on the ground, as opposed to the analysts 
who sit at headquarters--asked: ``Second tick says we know 
extremists with ties to AQ participated in the attack, which 
implies complicity in the deaths of the American officers. Do 
we know this?''\184\ The OTA Director responds and says ``Good 
point that it could be interpreted this way--perhaps better 
stated that we know they participated in the protests. We do 
not know who was responsible for the deaths.''\185\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \183\See Email from [National Clandestine Service Officer] to [Near 
East Division, et al.] (Sept. 14, 2012, 2:52 PM) (on file with the CIA, 
REQUEST17-0443 to REQUEST 17-0449) (sending talking points to multiple 
offices within the CIA).
    \184\Email from [National Clandestine Service Officer] to [Near 
East Division, et al.] (Sept. 14, 2012, 2:52 PM) (on file with the CIA, 
REQUEST 17-0443 to REQUEST 17-0449) (emphasis original).
    \185\Email from Dir., Office of Terrorism Analysis, Cent. Intel. 
Agency, to [National Clandestine Service Officer] (Sept. 14, 2012, 3:19 
PM) (on file with the CIA, REQUEST 17-0443 to REQUEST 17-0449) 
(emphasis added).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Given that no protests had occurred in Benghazi prior to 
the attack, this change had the effect of transforming the 
second bullet point from being accurate to being inaccurate. 
The OTA Director testified:

        Q: Sure. So I guess the way I read it is, you're trying 
        to appease legal, which is always a challenge, by 
        saying that--you wanted to back off the fact you know 
        they participated in the attack because you don't want 
        to interfere and potentially jeopardize the 
        investigation, showing complicity to the attacks. So 
        you altered it to we know they participated in protests 
        at the time you believe they were protests.

        A: Correct.

        Q: But you didn't know for a fact that they [Islamic 
        extremists with ties to al-Qa'ida] participated in the 
        protests. You just knew that they were there.

        A: Right.

        Q: So the change went from being accurate to being 
        inaccurate?

        A: Correct.

        Q: Okay and is that something you did solely on your 
        own?

        A: Yes.\186\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \186\OTA Dir. Testimony at 205-06.

    In a subsequent email, the word ``protests'' was changed to 
``violent demonstrations'' in that same bullet point.\187\ 
Those changes made it all the way through to the final version 
of the talking points, surviving the extensive deletions made 
near the end of this process by Morell.\188\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \187\See Email from [National Clandestine Service Officer] to [Near 
East Division, et al.] (Sept. 14, 2012, 2:52 PM) (on file with the CIA, 
REQUEST 17-0443 to REQUEST 17-0449).
    \188\See Talking Points Timeline, ABC News, http://abcnews.go.com/
images/Politics/Benghazi%
20Talking%20Points%20Timeline.pdf (last visited May 17, 2016).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Shortly after this change was made, a meeting took place to 
discuss the talking points. The CIA's ``Lessons Learned'' after 
action review described this meeting:

        At some point between 4-5 p.m., a group of officers 
        from OCA [Office of Congressional Affairs] and OPA 
        [Office of Public Affairs] met in OPA spaces to discuss 
        the talking points. Those officers included C [Chief]/
        OCA, COS [Chief of Staff]/OCA, D [Director]/OPA, the 
        Chief of OPA's Media Relations Branch and two OPA 
        spokespersons. Their efforts, over a period of 
        approximately 30 minutes, culminated in a revised 
        version of the talking points that was sent to CIA/COS 
        and the DDCIA's [Deputy Director, Central Intelligence 
        Agency] office by OPA at 4:42 p.m.

        Participants in this group editing session agree that 
        they did not have a complete picture of intelligence 
        regarding the events in Benghazi to guide them. Group 
        members were working under tremendous time pressure. 
        All agree that they were focused on several important 
        considerations, including ensuring that the talking 
        points contained no information that could compromise 
        sources and methods, and that nothing was said that 
        could compromise the then-nascent FBI investigation by 
        prematurely attributing responsibility for the attacks 
        on any one person or group.

        The group had access to an e-mail from NCS [National 
        Clandestine Service] noting that the original talking 
        points statement that ``we do know that Islamic 
        extremists participated in the attack'' implied 
        complicity in the deaths of American officers. The 
        original drafter of the talking points agreed that we 
        did not know who was responsible for the deaths and 
        suggested that the language be changed to say ``we know 
        that they participated in the protests.'' While the 
        editing group did not make this change, ``attacks'' in 
        the second bullet was changed to ``violent 
        demonstration,'' effectively accomplishing the same 
        purpose.

        In addition, the word ``attacks'' in the first bullet 
        of the talking points was changed to 
        ``demonstrations.'' The group also deleted reference in 
        the second bullet to al-Qa'ida. The reasons underlying 
        both changes are not clear, and participants in the 
        editing session have incomplete recollections regarding 
        the decision. Some have suggested that they believed 
        the sentence was somewhat awkward and illogical as 
        written, making reference to ``attacks'' ``evolving 
        into an assault,'' with ``attacks'' and ``assault'' 
        seeming to be synonyms. In addition to these changes, 
        the group added two sentences about CIA product 
        discussing threats, a statement noting that the 
        investigation was ongoing, and several non-substantive 
        word changes.\189\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \189\Letter from Michael Morell, Deputy Dir., Cent. Intel. Agency, 
to Sen. Richard M. Burr, S. Select Comm. on Intel., Lessons Learned 
From Formulation of Unclassified Talking Points re the Events in 
Benghazi, 11-12 September 2012 [hereinafter Lessons Learned] (Aug. 6, 
2013) (on file with the Committee), at 4-5.

    The meeting did not include the OTA Director, the drafter 
of the original talking points, or any substantive experts on 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Benghazi. The OTA Director testified:

        Q: So how did we go from ``attacks'' in bullet point 
        one at 3:33 to ``demonstrations'' in bullet point one 
        at 4:42?

        A: At some point in this process this entered into--it 
        became opaque to me. At some point in this process, as 
        I----

        Q: I'm sorry. Were you comfortable with it occur[ing] 
        that way given the fact that you were tasked with----

        A: I didn't know it was occurring. So when I say it was 
        opaque to me, I did not know this was happening.

        At some point in this process, as I know you have seen 
        from all this, there is a group from OPA, our Office of 
        Public Affairs, our Office of Congressional Affairs, 
        and others, took the talking points and made changes to 
        them. And I was not consulted on those changes. So I 
        cannot tell you how some of these changes took place. I 
        was not involved. I was not consulted beforehand.\190\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \190\OTA Dir. Testimony at 209-10.

    That change in the first bullet point--from ``attacks'' to 
``demonstrations''--also survived Morell's extensive edits and 
was in the final version of the talking points.\191\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \191\See Talking Points Timeline, ABC News, http://abcnews.go.com/
images/Politics/Benghazi%
20Talking%20Points%20Timeline.pdf (last visited May 17, 2016).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Around this same time, Morell first learned about the 
existence of the talking points. He testified:

        So there was a weekly meeting on Syria, followed by our 
        three-times-a-week meeting on counterterrorism. In 
        between those two meetings, the director's chief of 
        staff walked up to me in the director's conference room 
        and said, here, you need to see these. You need to be 
        aware of this, you need to get involved in this. I 
        said, what's this? And he explained the origin of the 
        talking points and he explained kind of where they were 
        in the process. I skimmed the talking points, and I 
        immediately reacted to the warning language [language 
        indicating that five prior attacks had ococurred in 
        Benghazi against foreign interests]. . . .

        So I say to my EA [Executive Assistant], where is this 
        in the process? And he said, it's being coordinated. I 
        say, okay, I will deal with it in the morning.\192\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \192\Morell Testimony at 124-25.

    Morell testified he did not edit the talking points that 
evening, nor did he speak with anybody about them.\193\ 
Instead, Morell edited them by himself the next morning, 
Saturday, September 15. He testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \193\Id. at 128-29.

        So I come in the next morning and my--and the next 
        morning, by the way, is a deputies meeting at eight. 
        Family day at CIA--once a year you allow families to 
        come on the compound, walk around, visit offices, et 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        cetera, et cetera--is at nine.

        And first thing my EA tells me is that Denis McDonough, 
        then the deputy National Security Advisor, wants to 
        talk about--wants to talk about the talking points in 
        the deputies meeting, and I say, okay. I have a 
        conversation with General Petraeus about the talking 
        points, and [Petraeus' Chief of Staff] was there, and I 
        believe he would--if he were here, he would agree with 
        what I'm about ready to tell you, that I told Director 
        Petraeus that the talking points were stuck, that the 
        State Department was objecting to the warning language, 
        and I told him that I agreed that the warning language 
        should be taken out, and the Director didn't say a word 
        to me. He didn't tell me that he was going to put it 
        in, he didn't say, keep--keep the warning language in 
        there, I think it's really important. He didn't say 
        anything.

        We do our family day stuff, which includes literally 
        hundreds of people coming through my office and shaking 
        hands with me, and the whole time I'm thinking these 
        talking points are sitting on my desk, actually my EA's 
        desk.

        So when the family thing is done, I go and edit the 
        talking points and I literally edit them in 5, 10 
        minutes and I fly through them. And as you know, I made 
        a bunch of changes, and the most significant of which 
        is taking out the warning language. So that's kind of 
        the--that's kind of the story there.\194\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \194\Id. at 126-28.

                    New Information on September 15

    When Morell edited the talking points on the morning of 
September 15, new information was fresh in his mind regarding 
the Benghazi attacks. That morning saw additional information 
written about Benghazi. A New York Times article was published 
that morning written by Peter Baker. It read in part:

        According to a guard at the compound, the attack began 
        at about 9:30 p.m., without advance warning or any 
        peaceful protest. ``I started hearing, `God is great! 
        God is great!''' one guard said. ``I thought to myself, 
        maybe it is a passing funeral.'' (All the guards spoke 
        on the condition of anonymity for their safety)

        ``Attack, attack,'' the guard said as he heard an 
        American calling over his walkie-talkie as the chants 
        came closer. Suddenly, there came a barrage of gunfire, 
        explosions, and rocket-propelled grenades.\195\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \195\Peter Baker, et al., Diplomats' Bodies Return to U.S., and 
Libyan Guards Recount Deadly Riot, N.Y. Times (Sept. 15, 2012), http://
www.nytimes.com/2012/09/15/world/middleeast/
ambassadors-body-back-in-us-libya-guards-recount-riot.html?_r=0.

    The Chief of Station found this article compelling. He 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
testified:

        Q: They told them attack or they told them fire, so I 
        mean--I don't know if you knew that at the time, but I 
        mean, in reading this, it seems like some of the folks 
        being interviewed here only know things that someone 
        who was there would know. Did you read this----

        A: Oh yeah, I found this compelling.\196\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \196\Chief of Station Testimony at 218.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Morell, however, did not. He testified:

        Q: Are you familiar with Peter Baker at all?

        A: Yes, I believe I have met him.

                              *    *    *

        Q: Okay. All right. Your assessment of the New York 
        Times as a media organization?

        A: My assessment of The New York Times is that, like 
        any media organization, it gets a lot of things wrong. 
        And my assessment of The New York Times is that its 
        reporting and editorials are fairly biased, in my 
        view.\197\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \197\Morell Testimony at 106.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Morell then said:

        Q: So the same paragraph we were talking about on page 
        two, here is the New York Times citing one guard from 
        the consulate. I mean, how would you assess that in 
        terms of credibility from what the guard said reported 
        in The New York Times article?

        A: How would I assess it?

        Q: How would you assess it?

        A: Michael Morell?

        Q: Yes.

        A: I wouldn't give it great credibility.

        Q: Okay.

        A: Right? I mean, it's a data point. It's a data point. 
        It's one guard. You don't know who it is. You don't 
        know the conditions under which he was talking. I mean, 
        it's a data point. I wouldn't discount it totally, but 
        I wouldn't say this is absolute fact.\198\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \198\Id. at 109.

    The CIA analysts published another WIRe that morning, 
September 15, with a new assessment.\199\ This piece, co-
written with the National Counterterrorism Center, had two main 
focuses: the extremists who participated in the Benghazi 
attacks, and Libyan authorities placing a high priority on 
tracking down the perpetrators of the attack.\200\ Similar to 
the September 13 WIRe two days earlier, the notion of a protest 
and the discussion of a video were not central--or even minor--
focuses of the piece.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \199\Cent. Intel. Agency, Libya: Variety of Extremists Participated 
in Benghazi Attacks, World Intelligence Review, Sept. 15, 2012 (on file 
with CIA, REQUEST 17-0262 to REQUEST 17-0265).
    \200\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The first paragraph of the September 15 WIRe contains the 
sentence ``The level of planning and exact sequence of events 
leading to the attack remain intelligence gaps.''\201\ This 
indicates the analysts did not know definitively what had 
transpired prior to the attacks--perhaps whether or not 
protests in Benghazi had occurred, or the motivation or level 
of planning for the attacks--and signaled to the reader that 
information still needed to be gleaned about these events.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \201\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Morell also reviewed an email from the Chief of Station on 
the morning of September 15. That email stated in part:

        INTEL: Station notes the following information from the 
        past 24hrs, which strengthen Station's assessment that 
        the attacks were not/not spontaneous and not/not an 
        escalation of protests. Press reports noted that at the 
        time of the attack, circa 2130 local, guards posted at 
        the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi and Libyans residing in 
        the vicinity reported the absence of protests at the 
        consulate and specific that the attack began without 
        warning. A CIA officer on the scene noted that at 
        approximately 2200 [10:00 p.m.], there was no sign of a 
        protest at the Consulate. Libya General National 
        Congress (GNC) President Magaryaf stated in an 
        interview that the attacks were planned in advance by 
        experienced individuals, most likely al-Qa'ida (AQ) and 
        not former regime elements (FRE).\202\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \202\Email from Tripoli Chief of Station, Cent. Intel. Agency, to 
[Morell Assistant] (Sept. 15, 2012) (on file with the CIA, REQUEST 15-
0011 to REQUEST 15-0022).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Morell testified about receiving this email:

        I go through it, I read this, right, and the line in 
        there about, we don't think this was a protest, right, 
        jumps out at me. Why did it jump out at me? Because the 
        analysts believed there was a protest. So here I have 
        my analysts saying there was a protest, and I've got my 
        Chief of Station, a guy I've got a lot of confidence 
        in, right, telling me there was no protest.

        The other thing that jumped out at me were that the 
        reasons he gave . . . why he thinks there was no 
        protest, the first is that there were press reports 
        saying no protest, but what goes through my mind, 
        right, is, look, I know that there's press reports that 
        say there were protests. Okay? . . .

        And then the next reason he gives is that a CIA officer 
        on the scene noted that at approximately 2200, there 
        was no sign of a protest at the consulate. And what 
        goes through my mind then is, well, you know what, 
        that's--2200 is 20 minutes after the attack started, 
        right? Maybe everybody dispersed by then. What I react 
        to now is that they didn't get there at 2200. They got 
        to the corner, they got to the corner of the street 
        that the TMF [Benghazi Mission compound] was on at 
        about 10 minutes after 10:00. They didn't even--they 
        didn't get to the TM--to the front of the TMF itself 
        until 2240, an hour after the attack started. So not 
        compelling at all, right?\203\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \203\Morell Testimony at 146-47.

    Morell also compared the language in this email from the 
Chief of Station to the language in the email the Chief of 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Station sent the day before.

        Q: So [the September 15 email] is stronger than the 
        assessment given by the Chief of Station a day earlier?

        A: I certainly remember it that way.\204\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \204\Id. at 150.

    Morell likely reviewed another piece of intelligence the 
morning of September 15 titled ``Observations from the 11-12 
September, 2012 Attacks Against the U.S. Consulate and a 
Separate Facility in Benghazi, Libya.''\205\ Morell received 
this piece of intelligence in an email at 8:50 a.m. and 
testified that he ``almost certainly would not have not read an 
email from the chief of staff [of the CIA].''\206\ This email 
also noted there were ``no signs of a protest'' at 10:00 p.m. 
in Benghazi--less than 20 minutes after the attacks began--
according to a CIA officer at the scene.\207\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \205\Email from Chief of Staff to Dir., Cent. Intel. Agency, to 
Michael Morell, Deputy Dir., Cent. Intel. Agency (Sept. 15, 2012) 
[hereinafter Dir. COS Email] (on file with the CIA, (REQUEST 1-002167).
    \206\Morell Testimony at 144.
    \207\Dir. COS Email, supra note 205.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    It was with this information fresh in his mind--the two 
September 15 emails and the September 15 WIRe--along with the 
September 13 WIRe and the September 14 email from the Chief of 
Station, that Morell edited the talking points. At the time he 
edited the talking points, he had seen at least two reports 
from the Chief of Station--and possibly more--indicating, in 
increasingly forceful language, that no protests had taken 
place. The analysts had not seen these emails. Morell therefore 
was the only person who had both the analytic assessments about 
Benghazi in addition to multiple emails from the Chief of 
Station--somebody Morell had worked closely with during the 
Arab Spring and recognized as an ``outstanding intelligence 
officer.''\208\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \208\Morell Testimony at 14.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    It was incumbent on Morell to take all of this information 
at his disposal into account when he edited the talking points. 
Morell, a former intelligence analyst who rose through the 
ranks analyzing disparate information and formulating 
assessments, disagreed. He testified:

        A: It's not my job, it's not my job to be the analyst, 
        right? It's not my job to take all this information and 
        come to an analytic conclusion. That's the job of the 
        analysts. So when I--look, and had I done that, had I 
        played analyst, right, and started editing the talking 
        points and started changing them to reflect what the 
        COS said, the analysts would have protested, because 
        they--at that moment, they still believed that there 
        had been a protest. So for me to take it out because 
        the COS said there wasn't one would have gotten a 
        reaction from the analysts. They would have seen me as 
        politicizing analysis, all right?

        Q: How would that have politicized the analysis, the 
        fact that you're----

        A: They would have seen it that way.

        Q: But you're taking judgments from somebody that you 
        had worked with very closely, somebody that you had 
        deemed an exemplary intelligence officer.

        A: Look, managers at CIA don't do analysis. When they 
        are perceived to be doing the analysis, the analysts go 
        nuts, right? Bob Gates was accused of that, other 
        senior officials at CIA have been accused of that. 
        Analysts go nuts when they think that managers are 
        doing the analysis themselves, particularly when they 
        disagree with the analysis. So the last thing I was 
        going to do was change the analysts' analysis, 
        right?\209\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \209\Id. at 152-53.

    Morell was not, however, creating an analytic assessment. 
Morell was editing talking points that would be used for public 
consumption. The process--and the product--is an inherently 
different one from internal CIA processes for formulating 
assessments. The analysts were not involved in the talking 
points process--only managers were.\210\ The analysts did not 
have the same emails Morell did from the Chief of Station--only 
Morell had those.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \210\See, e.g., email from Dir., Office of Terrorism Analysis, 
Cent. Intel. Agency, to [NE Division] (Sept. 14, 2012) (on file with 
the CIA, REQUEST 17-0443 to 17-0444).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Talking points--something the CIA rarely produces--are 
different from analytic assessments, which the CIA produces 
every day. Petraeus acknowledged this when he testified:

        I mean, that was where finally once it--this was not--
        certainly no longer a CIA document. It wasn't even an 
        intelligence community document, although that rightly 
        should have been, and that's why it went to the IC 
        referral process, but then, of course, you know, it's 
        going to be interagency and not everyone has got a hand 
        in this.\211\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \211\Testimony of David Petraeus, Dir., Cent. Intel. Agency, Tr. at 
62 (Jan. 6, 2016) (on file with the Committee).

    The talking points were understood to be viewed as 
representative of an authoritative analytical assessment. As 
shown, however, this was not the case--no analysts worked on 
these talking points, as they were created and edited only by 
senior CIA managers and other senior officials in the 
administration. The distinction was never manifested on the 
document or otherwise made known to those relying on, or making 
representations based on, the talking points.
    No process was in place to create the talking points, and 
no analysis was required to create them. The only expectation 
was to produce accurate information to Congress for them to 
share with the American people. That being the case, Morell--
the only person with the complete universe of information at 
his disposal--could have edited the talking points to reflect 
the most up-to-date information--or at the very least to caveat 
the talking points with a reflection that different views 
existed. Morell did neither of these things.
    Panetta--whom Morell worked for when Panetta was Director 
of the CIA--understands this concept well. He told the 
Committee:

        The last lesson I would tell you is don't use talking 
        points that don't include language that makes very 
        clear that the matter is under investigation and that 
        these results are only preliminary. As former chief of 
        staff, I've seen talking points, and I can understand 
        how trouble can result as a result of that. I used to 
        review those before anybody got a hold of them to make 
        sure that they reflected what we wanted to inform the 
        American people about, because the last thing you want 
        to do is to mislead the American people.\212\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \212\Testimony of Leon Panetta, Sec'y of Defense, U.S. Dep't of 
Defense, Tr. at 107 (Jan. 8, 2016) (on file with the Committee).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                         THE SUNDAY TALK SHOWS

    Perhaps as much as any other subject surrounding Benghazi, 
the appearance by Ambassador Rice on five Sunday morning talk 
shows following the attacks has been the most politically 
charged. After all, it was the fallout from her appearances 
that ultimately caused her to withdraw her name as a 
candidate--perhaps the leading candidate--to be the next 
Secretary of State.\213\ Yet little is known about why she was 
selected by the administration to represent the United States 
government on the shows, what she did to prepare for those talk 
shows, what materials she reviewed, who she spoke with to learn 
information about the attacks, and most significantly why she 
said what she said.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \213\Karen DeYoung & Anne Gearan, Susan Rice withdraws as candidate 
for secretary of state, Wash. Post (Dec. 13, 2012), https://
www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/susan-rice-withdraws-as-
candidate-for-secretary-of-state/2012/12/13/17ad344e-4567-11e2-8e70-
e1993528222d_story.html.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    It was not until two days before the shows, on Friday, 
September 14, when Rice learned she would be appearing on 
behalf of the administration.\214\ She was the administration's 
third choice to appear on the shows--the first being the 
Secretary of State and the second being Tom Donilon, National 
Security Advisor to the President.\215\ Rhodes was the White 
House official responsible for reaching out to Rice and asking 
her to appear. He testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \214\Testimony of Susan E. Rice, former U.S. Ambassador to the 
U.N., Tr. at 30 (Feb. 2, 2016) [hereinafter Rice Testimony] (on file 
with the Committee).
    \215\See Rhodes Testimony at 65-66 (stating Sec'y Clinton and Tom 
Donilon were first and second choices to appear).

        A: I recall reaching out to Secretary Clinton first.

                              *    *    *

        Q: Did you get an affirmative ``no'' or did you just 
        not hear back?

        A: I don't remember hearing back.

        Q: Did you call again and redouble your ask or did you 
        move on to your second draft choice?

        A: I believe I moved on because I knew that she, again, 
        does not regularly appear on Sunday shows. So I don't 
        remember thinking that it was likely that she would 
        want to appear.

        Q: And who else would you have asked after Secretary 
        Clinton?

        A: I remember asking Tom Donilon, the National Security 
        Advisor.

        Q: And what was his response?

        A: He did not want to appear. And he too very rarely 
        appeared on the Sunday shows.

        Q: All right. Who was number three?

        A: I believe it was Susan Rice, is my 
        recollection.\216\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \216\Rhodes Testimony at 65-66.

    Although Rhodes testified the Secretary ``does not 
regularly appear on Sunday shows,'' she had in fact appeared on 
multiple shows on two separate occasions within a seven month 
period to discuss Libya. On March 27, 2011--barely a week after 
the United States supported the UN in imposing a no fly zone 
over Libya and authorizing all means necessary to protect 
civilians--the Secretary appeared on Meet the Press, Face the 
Nation, and This Week, to talk about the U.S. intervention in 
Libya, which was being promoted as a civilian protection and 
humanitarian mission.\217\ Seven months later--in the immediate 
wake of Qadhafi's death--she appeared on Meet the Press, This 
Week, State of the Union, and FoxNews Sunday to talk about 
Qadhafi's death and the path forward in Libya.\218\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \217\Meet the Press transcript for March 27, 2011, NBC News (Mar. 
27, 2011), http://www.
nbcnews.com/id/42275424/ns/meet_the_press-transcripts/t/meet-press-
transcript-march/#.VzoK0_
krJaQ; Face the Nation March 27, 2011 Transcript, CBS News (Mar. 27, 
2011), http://www.
cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/FTN_032711.pdf;`This Week' Transcript: Hillary 
Clinton, Robert Gates and Donald Rumsfeld, ABC News (Mar. 27, 2011), 
http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/week-
transcript-hillary-clinton-robert-gates-donald-rumsfeld/
story?id=13232096.
    \218\Meet the Press transcript for October 23, 2011, NBC (Oct. 23, 
2011), http://www.
nbcnews.com/id/45000791/ns/meet_the_press-transcripts/t/meet-press-
transcript-october/#.V1cU1
9UrJaQ., Clinton Warns Iran: U.S. Committed to Iraq, ABC's This Week 
(Oct. 23, 2011), http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/video/interview-
hillary-clinton-14796369; State of the Union with Candy Crowley, CNN 
(Oct. 23, 2011), http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1110/23/
sotu.01.html., and Clinton Talks Iraq, Libya; Sen. Graham Challenges 
GOP Candidates; Bachmann Focused on Iowa, FOX News Sunday (Oct. 23, 
2011), http://www.foxnews.com/on-
air/fox-news-sunday-chris-wallace/2011/10/23/clinton-talks-iraq-libya-
sen-graham-challenges-gop-candidates-bachmann-focused-iowa#p//v/
1234077958001.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mills testified the decision not to appear on the Sunday 
shows was the Secretary's:

        Q: Since the Secretary didn't appear, who made the 
        decision that she wasn't going to appear?

        A: Well, she would always decide what she would do, if 
        she was going to go on a show or not go on a show.

        Q: Okay. Were there recommendations that she took from 
        you and others, such as Philippe Reines, Jake Sullivan, 
        others?

        A: No. Candidly, the Secretary was so focused on what 
        had happened to our team and what was happening in the 
        region that I don't know that there was a moment's 
        thought about it. She didn't often go on the shows. And 
        she was, understandably, very concerned about how we 
        support our teams and the losses that we had 
        incurred.\219\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \219\Testimony of Cheryl D. Mills, Chief of Staff to the U.S. Sec'y 
of State, U.S. Dep't of State, Tr. at 123 (Sept. 3, 2015) [hereinafter 
Mills Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

    When Rhodes learned the Secretary would not represent the 
administration on the talk shows, he then asked Donilon to 
appear.\220\ He also declined.\221\ Rice--Rhodes' third choice 
for the task--accepted.\222\ In doing so, the administration 
selected someone to talk to the American people about the 
Benghazi attacks who was neither involved in the security of 
any U.S. facilities in Benghazi nor involved in any way with 
the operational response to the attacks. In fact, the 
administration selected an individual who did not even know 
there was a CIA presence in Benghazi, let alone the fact that 
two Americans had died there.\223\ She testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \220\Rhodes Testimony at 66.
    \221\Id.
    \222\Id.
    \223\Rice Testimony at 107-08.

        Q: Did you learn between September 11 and September 16 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        that were was a CIA presence in Benghazi?

        A: I think--no. I think I learned subsequently.

                              *    *    *

        Q: So nobody told you between the dates of September 11 
        and September 16 that two of the four Americans who 
        were killed who were providing security actually worked 
        for the CIA and not the State Department?

        A: Not that I recall.

        Q: All right.

        Q: And you learned that subsequently?

        A: To the best of my recollection, I learned it 
        subsequently.\224\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \224\Id.

    In selecting Rice to appear on the Sunday talk shows, 
Rhodes chose an individual with limited knowledge of, and 
presumably limited participation in, the administration's 
reponse to the Benghazi attacks. Instead, while the attacks 
were happening, Rice was receiving--apparently in response to 
an email chain about the attack on the Benghazi Mission 
compound--a detailed update from staff about the number of 
retweets her Twitter account had generated.\225\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \225\See Email to Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Rep. to the U.N. 
(Sept. 11, 2012, 7:43 P.M.) (on file with the Committee, C05561948) 
(``Today, you tweeted 7 times on the anniversary of the September 11 
attacks, generating more than 600 retweets. By this measure, your 
twitter account had a big day--your second or third biggest since the 
start of the summer--and your volunteering pics got a few nice 
responses . . .'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                     How Rice Prepped for the Shows

    On Friday, September 14, 2012, the Secretary's calendar 
included a meeting with Rice.\226\ Both Rice and Mills 
testified they believed that meeting took place, even though 
neither had a specific recollection of it.\227\ That Friday 
meeting was a standing meeting between the Secretary and Rice 
that would take place when Rice was in Washington.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \226\Email from Special Ass't to the Sec'y of State, U.S. Dep't of 
State, to Hillary R. Clinton (``H''), Sec'y of State, U.S. Dep't of 
State (Sept. 14, 2012, 7:29 AM) (on file with the Committee, 
SCB0045306-SCB0045307).
    \227\Rice Testimony at 28; Mills Testimony at 138.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Despite having no specific recollection of the meeting, 
Rice is confident she did not discuss the Sunday shows with the 
Secretary at the meeting.\228\ This is because Rice first 
learned of her possible appearance on the Sunday shows in the 
early afternoon of September 14, after the scheduled meeting. 
She testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \228\Rice Testimony at 28.

        I received a phone call as I was in my car on my way to 
        Andrews for the ceremony receiving our fallen 
        colleagues. And in that phone call from Ben [Rhodes], I 
        was asked whether it would be possible, if Secretary 
        Clinton were unable to appear on the shows, if I could 
        appear on the shows. It was a contingency question at 
        the time. And I said that, you know, I had other plans 
        for the weekend and that it would not be my preference 
        but if they needed me and there was not an alternative 
        that I would be willing to do it.\229\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \229\Rice Testimony at 26.

    Both the Secretary and Rice attended the return of remains 
ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base that afternoon, and later 
that day, Friday September 14, Rhodes called Rice back to 
inform her she needed to do the Sunday shows.\230\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \230\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ambassador Rice did not begin preparing for the shows until 
the following day, Saturday September 15. Her staff, led by 
Erin Pelton, Communications Director and Spokesperson, prepared 
a book of briefing materials for Rice.\231\ Rice testified she 
began reviewing these briefing materials on Saturday:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \231\Testimony of Erin Pelton, Dir. of Commc'cs and Spokesperson, 
U.S. Mission to the U.N., Tr. at 44 (Feb. 11, 2016) [hereinafter Pelton 
Testimony] (on file with the Committee).

        Q: So let's go forward to--did you do anything after 
        speaking to Mr. Rhodes on Friday night to begin 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        preparing?

        A: No.

        Q: What did you do the next morning to begin preparing?

        A: I reviewed briefing materials.

        Q: What briefing materials? Would that just be the same 
        daily briefing materials that you received in the 
        ordinary course, or was this different material?

        A: It was both. I received my daily intelligence 
        briefing on Saturday morning, and I also began 
        reviewing a briefing book that had been prepared by my 
        staff for--in preparation for the Sunday shows.\232\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \232\Rice Testimony at 31.

    These briefing materials contained little to no information 
about the Benghazi attacks. Pelton testified that in gathering 
briefing materials for the Sunday shows she explicitly did not 
focus on Benghazi, anticipating materials pertaining to 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Benghazi would come at a later time. She said:

        Q: In your list of areas where you were attempting to 
        collect the latest information, you left Benghazi out. 
        Was that intentional, or were you just giving me some 
        examples?

        A: I don't recall preparing information about Benghazi. 
        What I do recall is understanding that we would have 
        access to talking points that would be provided by the 
        intelligence community that were unclassified and 
        consistent with our latest understanding of what had 
        transpired in Benghazi.\233\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \233\Pelton Testimony at 45.

    Pelton also testified she believed she would be receiving 
talking points regarding Benghazi that would not require her to 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
seek out briefing materials about Benghazi on her own:

        Well, I recall that in the process of preparing 
        Ambassador Rice between Friday and Saturday, September 
        14th and 15th, that I was not focused on Benghazi 
        because I was going to receive talking points that were 
        appropriate for public use by the intelligence 
        community. I don't remember how I came to know that I 
        was going to get those materials.\234\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \234\Id.

    While Pelton did not include any information specific to 
Benghazi in the briefing book, Rice recalled other material 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
that was in the briefing book. She testified:

        Q: As best you can, do you recall what was in that 
        briefing book that your staff provided?

        A: I recall it included statements that other senior 
        administration officials had made, including the 
        President and the Secretary. I recall it including 
        background Q&A and top-line themes covering the wide 
        range of issues that we anticipated would come up on 
        the shows: the protests that occurred all around the 
        world that week; obviously, also what happened in 
        Benghazi.

        And, also, because it was one week before the opening 
        of the U.N. General Assembly in New York and Iran was 
        expected to be a prominent issue, and Prime Minister 
        Netanyahu's visit also a prominent issue, I recall 
        preparing for that discussion as well.\235\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \235\Rice Testimony at 33.

    The ``background Q&A'' and ``top line themes'' came from 
Rhodes.\236\ Pelton testified about how this information came 
about:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \236\Rhodes Memo, supra note 3.

        A: I don't recall all the specifics of our conversation 
        [with Ben Rhodes]. However, I do recall at one point 
        asking him to provide, for lack of a better term, a 
        memo regarding the objectives of the Sunday show 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        appearances.

        Q: How did he respond to you?

        A: He said he would write it.

        Q: And did he eventually deliver that to you?

        A: Yes.\237\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \237\Pelton Testimony at 42.

    Rhodes delivered this memo at 8:09 p.m. on the evening of 
September 14 in an email with the subject ``RE: PREP CALL with 
Susan: Saturday at 4:00 pm ET.''\238\ The memo contained four 
bullet points under ``Goals,'' six bullet points under ``Top-
lines,'' and contained five questions and suggested answers 
regarding the Arab Spring, protests, and Benghazi, and an 
additional four questions and suggested answers regarding 
Israel and Iran.\239\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \238\Rhodes Memo, supra note 3.
    \239\See id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The four bullet points under the ``Goals'' section of the 
memo were the following:

        To convey that the United States is doing everything 
        that we can to protect our people and facilities 
        abroad;

        To underscore that these protests are rooted in an 
        Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy;

        To show that we will be resolute in bringing people who 
        harm Americans to justice, and standing steadfast 
        through these protests;

        To reinforce the President and Administration's 
        strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult 
        challenges.\240\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \240\Id.

    The second point was one of the most explicit directions 
from a senior administration official about the intent of the 
adminstration's communications strategy. The Chairman had the 
following exchange with Rhodes about these bullet points during 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rhodes' testimony to the Committee:

        Q: How about number two? They are not numbered, but 
        let's just go second bullet, okay? ``To underscore that 
        these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not 
        a broader failure of policy.'' What policy were you 
        worried about being considered a failure?

        A: My recollection over the course of that week is that 
        we were getting questions about whether this 
        represented a failure of our policy in the Middle East 
        and in response to the Arab Spring.

        Q: And you wanted to underscore the point that it 
        wasn't any of that, it was just a video.

        A: We were anticipating getting those questions, and we 
        wanted to convey that, again, the protests were rooted 
        in this video.

        Q: Were there other options other than just those two, 
        a wholesale failure of the administration's policy or 
        an Internet video? Was there something else? Those are 
        your only two options?

        A: Again, my recollection is that this reflects the way 
        in which we were getting questions over the course of 
        the week is it's a failure of policy. And we were at 
        the same time seeking to deal with the ongoing fallout 
        from the video. So those were the factors in play.

        Q: I'm with you on wanting to explain to folks that it 
        wasn't a failure of policy. You essentially gave 
        yourself two choices: an Internet video or a broader 
        failure of policy. And my question is, were those your 
        only two options?

        A: Again, that's what I recall being the subject of 
        discussion over the course of that week in terms of the 
        questions we were being asked.

        Q: Well, with respect to Benghazi, it certainly would 
        have--it's possible that it was not just those two 
        options, right?

        A: I'm not sure I understand the question.

        Q: With respect to what happened in Benghazi, you're 
        not limiting us to just those two options, right, a 
        failure of policy or an Internet video?

        A: Again, I believe in this specific bullet I'm 
        referring to the ongoing protests that are taking place 
        across the Middle East which were very much still going 
        forward on that Friday.

        Q: Right. But you agree--you knew Benghazi was going to 
        come up when Ambassador Rice was going on the five 
        Sunday talk shows?

        A: Yes.

        Q: We haven't had an ambassador killed since when?

        A: It had been a long time. I don't remember 
        specifically.

        Q: So you knew that that was coming up?

        A: I knew that was going to be one of the topics.

        Q: Right. And your third bullet, which isn't numbered, 
        but it's number three, ``To show that we will be 
        resolute in bringing people who harm Americans to 
        justice.'' Can you think of a country where Americans 
        were harmed other than Libya that she might have been 
        asked about?

        A: That would principally, I believe, refer to Libya.

        Q: Okay. So you concede that the third item does apply 
        to Libya. Let's go back to the second one. How about 
        the second one? Are we to have drawn a contrast between 
        the second bullet and the third bullet, or are they all 
        interrelated?

        A: Again, my recollection is she is going on to talk 
        about several different issues: the attacks in 
        Benghazi, the ongoing protests that were taking place 
        across the Middle East, and issues related to Iran and 
        Israel. And so these points refer to different elements 
        of the topic.

        Q: Well, at the time, what did you think was the 
        impetus for the attack in Benghazi?

        A: I did not have a judgment of my own at the time. I 
        was going to rely on the information provided by the 
        intelligence community.

        Q: Did the intelligence community mention an Internet 
        video to you?

        A: The intelligence community at this point had 
        suggested that it was an event that was motivated in 
        part by the protests in Cairo.

        Q: That was a great answer to a question I didn't ask. 
        Did they mention the video?

        A: No, what I'm saying is, my recollection is they at 
        that point had said that insofar as there was any 
        connection it was more to the events in Cairo being a 
        motivating factor for individuals.

        Q: Right. So you are preparing the Ambassador to go on 
        five Sunday talk shows to talk about what you know is 
        going to involve Benghazi and you don't want her to be 
        stuck with the option of a failure of your policy. So 
        you give the option of the Internet video. And my 
        question is, who in the intelligence community told you 
        that the attacks in Benghazi were linked to the video?

        A: Again, I prepared these points on a Friday in which 
        there were violent protests across the Middle East 
        because of the video, a violent breach of our facility 
        in Tunis, a violent breach of our facility at Khartoum, 
        violence against an American restaurant in Lebanon, at 
        the very least. So I very much was focused on the fact 
        that there were ongoing protests, and one of the 
        subjects that she was going to be asked about were 
        those protests. So insofar as I'm referring to protests 
        in the video, I'm referring to the many protests that 
        were continuing to take place over the course of that 
        week in response to the video.

        Q: So is it your testimony that the second bullet and 
        the third bullet are totally unrelated?

        A: They're referring to different elements of what 
        she's going to have to talk about on the Sunday shows.

        Q: So bullet number two was not about Libya or Benghazi 
        at all.

        A: It was not intended to assign responsibility for 
        Benghazi.

        Q: But yet you jump in the very next bullet to those 
        who harm Americans. Can you see how someone reading 
        that memo might be vexed?

        A: Well, again, these are several statements of 
        principle up top that I think speak to, again, all--in 
        different parts of the issues that she is going to have 
        to address. And then you can see in the actual contents 
        how we intended to respond to those individual 
        questions and instances.\241\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \241\Rhodes Testimony at 75-80.

    The fact Rhodes concedes the third bullet point references 
Libya is important. The bullet point immediately prior 
references the video, allowing for easy connection and 
conflation of the video and the Benghazi attacks.\242\ This 
occurred in public statements by the administration prior to 
Rhodes' memo, and, having seen this memo, Rice appeared to 
again connect the video and Benghazi the next day when she 
appeared on the talk shows.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \242\Rhodes Memo, supra note 3.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    While this connection between the two events may have 
favored a particular narrative, even Rhodes admitted that he 
was not aware of any intelligence that existed to directly link 
the video to the attacks. He testified:

        A: And, again, my recollection of any connection to the 
        video was indirect through the fact that the protests 
        in Cairo may have been a motivating factor for the 
        events in Benghazi.

        Q: Okay. So just to be clear, so there was no direct 
        connection made between the video and the attacks in 
        Benghazi from the intelligence community that you're 
        aware of at that time?

        A: That's my recollection. I recall that there were 
        public reports of protests that were--that would have 
        been included in, you know, the information we were 
        receiving.

        Q: But you certainly weren't relying on those public 
        reports, were you?

        A: We were relying on the intelligence community's 
        assessment, and the intelligence community's assessment 
        was that these were events that were motivated in part 
        by the protests in Cairo.\243\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \243\Rhodes Testimony at 106-07.

    At 4:00 p.m. on Saturday September 15, 2012, a conference 
call was convened with Rice to discuss her appearance on the 
Sunday shows the following morning.\244\ Rice participated in 
this conference call from Columbus, Ohio, where she was 
spending the day.\245\ Rexon Ryu, Deputy to the U.S. Permanent 
Representative to the United Nations, State Department, 
testified there were no State Department people on the call:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \244\Rhodes Memo, supra note 3.
    \245\Rice Testimony at 38.

        Q: Okay. Do you recall--so you said Ben Rhodes. Were 
        there any individuals, other than the USUN individual, 
        were there any other people from the State Department 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        that participated in that call?

        A: There were no State Department people.

        Q: Do you recall if there were additional individuals 
        from the White House that participated?

        A: Yes, there were.\246\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \246\Testimony of Rexon Y. Ryu, Deputy to the U.S. Ambassador to 
the U.N., Tr. at 83 (Aug. 25, 2015) (on file with the Committee) 
[hereinafter Ryu Testimony].

    Rice testified David Plouffe, Senior Advisor to the 
President, was on the call.\247\ Plouffe had previously served 
as the campaign manager for the President's 2008 presidential 
campaign.\248\ While Rhodes testified Plouffe would 
``normally'' appear on the Sunday show prep calls,\249\ Rice 
testified she did not recall him being on prior calls and did 
not understand why he was on the call in this instance.\250\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \247\Rice Testimony at 39.
    \248\Wash. Speakers Bureau, https://www.washingtonspeakers.com/
speakers/biography.cfm?
SpeakerID=6495.
    \249\Rhodes Testimony at 111.
    \250\Rice Testimony at 40.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    No witness interviewed by the Committee was able to 
specifically identify State Department individuals on the call 
aside from Rice's staff.\251\ In addition, nobody from the 
Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI], Department of Defense, 
or Central Intelligence Agency participated in the call, which 
apparently consisted of just a small circle of Rice's advisors 
and communications staffers from the White House.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \251\See, e.g. Ryu Testimony at 73-74.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    At the time of her appearance on the talk shows, it had 
been announced the FBI would take the lead on the investigation 
into finding out what had occurred.\252\ The Department of 
Defense, along with White House operators, had been involved in 
sending troops towards Libya while the attacks were ongoing, 
and analysts from the Central Intelligence Agency had taken the 
lead on post-attack analysis of intelligence. The State 
Department had its compound in Benghazi attacked and, as such, 
it was the principal source of information from eyewitnesses to 
the attack. The fact that no individuals from either the 
Defense Department or White House operators participated in the 
Saturday prep call therefore limited the information pertaining 
to Benghazi provided to Rice. Moreover, it does not appear Rice 
sought out any information about the attacks or worked to 
ensure that she had a full understanding of the events outside 
of the talking points she was provided.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \252\U.S. launching apparent terrorist hunt in Libya, CBS News 
(Oct. 18, 2012), http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-launching-apparent-
terrorist-hunt-in-libya.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition, multiple witnesses testified Benghazi was 
barely mentioned on the prep call. This inattention is 
consistent with the lack of information pertaining to Benghazi 
in the briefing materials. Instead, Rhodes commented on the 
call that the CIA was preparing unclassified talking points 
pertaining to Benghazi, with the understanding that the talking 
points would be shared with Rice when they were completed.\253\ 
Rice testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \253\Rice Testimony at 39-40; Rhodes Testimony at 76-78.

        A: I don't recall us talking about the CIA talking 
        points. I recall being reminded that they were 
        forthcoming and that we would be relying on them 
        because they had been prepared for Members of Congress 
        and they were our best distillation of what we knew at 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        the time.

        Q: Okay. Who told you that?

        A: I'm not certain, but I believe it was Ben. And so we 
        didn't talk about Benghazi, in fact, on the phone call, 
        as I remember. We just said that those were the points.

        Q: Let's go into that a little bit more. If I 
        understood you correctly, you said during this prep 
        call for the Sunday talk shows you did not talk about 
        the attacks in Benghazi at all. Is that correct?

        A: In any depth. I don't have any recollection of 
        talking about them in any depth.\254\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \254\Rice Testimony at 42.

    Rice also testified it was her understanding these talking 
points would be vetted and cleared by the CIA--in other words, 
manifesting the subtext the talking points represented an 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
authoritative product.

        A: As I said, to the best of my recollection, it was 
        Mr. Rhodes on the phone.

        Q: And to the best of your recollection, what did he--
        how did he characterize the CIA talking points?

        A: As being carefully vetted and cleared, drafted by 
        the CIA, and provided--produced for the purpose of 
        being provided to Members of Congress and, thus, what 
        we would also utilize.

        Q: So, as far as you were concerned or as far as you 
        understood, the CIA talking points represented the best 
        information about the attacks in Benghazi at the time.

        A: Yes. That's how I--that's what I understood them to 
        be, and that's, in fact, what I knew them to be, 
        because they mirrored very precisely the intelligence 
        that I had also received.\255\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \255\Rice Testimony at 45-46.

    No CIA witness the Committee interviewed had any knowledge 
the HPSCI talking points were going to be shared with Rice to 
be used on the Sunday talk shows.
    As discussed above, Rice, the individual selected by the 
White House to represent the administration on the Sunday talk 
shows following the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens--the 
first U.S. Ambassador to be killed in the field since 1979--
Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods, was not a central 
figure in the creation or management of the Benghazi compound, 
or in the government's response to the attacks. She was unaware 
at the time the CIA had a presence there and essentially relied 
on just three bullet points of material--that none of the 
authors of the bullet points knew would be provided to her--to 
discuss the Benghazi attacks on the Sunday talk shows.
    Rice took umbrage when she was confronted with the 
suggestion that her role was to simply parrot the talking 
points provided to her, testifying:

        A: Sir, as I said earlier, I did not have any knowledge 
        of how these talking points were edited.

                              *    *    *

        Q: I understand. So you were just the spokesman. You 
        had been given something, and they told you: Go on out 
        there and do your duty and repeat what you were 
        provided.

        A: No sir. I was also a member of the President's 
        Cabinet and the National Security Council. I was a 
        recipient of the most refined intelligence products. 
        And I satisfied myself that what I had been asked to 
        say in the unclassified points were consistent with 
        what I had received in intelligence channels. 
        Otherwise, I wouldn't have said it.\256\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \256\Rice Testimony at 157.

    While Rice is mostly correct in noting the unclassified 
talking points were consistent with what she had received 
through intelligence channels, there was one major difference, 
as discussed above. What Rice received through intelligence 
channels said ``The currently available information suggests 
that the attacks in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by 
protests at the US Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct 
assault against the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi and 
subsequently its annex.''\257\ Yet the unclassified talking 
points said ``The currently available information suggests that 
the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by 
protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct 
assault against the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi and 
subsequently its annex.''\258\ That change--from ``attacks'' to 
``demonstrations''--significantly altered the meaning of the 
entire sentence.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \257\September 13 WIRe, supra note 123 (emphasis added).
    \258\Talking Points Timeline, ABC News, http://abcnews.go.com/
images/Politics/Benghazi%20Talking%20Points%20Timeline.pdf (emphasis 
added).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In her interview before the Committee, Rice maintained the 
claim that the talking points were similar to the analysis. In 
fact she had reviewed the two documents side by side ``very 
recently.''\259\ She testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \259\Rice Testimony at 50.

        Q: And do you know how closely those products mirrored 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        that bullet point?

        A: Virtually identical but not verbatim.

        Q: Okay. And do you know, if it was not verbatim, what 
        the differences were between what you read----

        A: I can't tell you precisely, but if you--I do recall 
        looking at them side-by-side and being comfortable that 
        they were--well, at the time, I didn't look at them 
        side-by-side, but I knew from having seen intelligence 
        as early as that previous morning, Saturday morning, 
        that this was very consistent with our latest 
        information.

        Q: And you have since looked at them side-by-side?

        A: Yes.

        Q: And you're still comfortable that what was in the 
        intelligence is virtually identical to what's in that 
        bullet point?

        A: Yes.

        Q: And do you recall how recently you looked at them 
        side-by-side?

        A: Very recently.

                              *    *    *

        Q: Sure. My question is you said that you looked at 
        them recently side-by-side, correct?

        A: Yes.

        Q: And you were comfortable that what was in the 
        finished intelligence is reflected here in this bullet 
        point.

        A: Yes.

        Q: Okay. And did you recognize any differences between, 
        looking at them side-by-side, what you saw in the 
        intelligence versus what's in the bullet point?

        A: Okay. So let me be precise. What's in this bullet 
        point closely mirrored a similar paragraph in the 
        finished intelligence product that I received at the 
        same time. I'm not saying this is the sum total of what 
        I saw.

        Q: Sure. And you say it closely resembled or closely 
        mirrored. My question is, what are the differences 
        between what you reviewed and what's in here?

        A: I don't recall any substantive differences.

        Q: And you looked at this recently?

        A: Yes.\260\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \260\Id. at 49-51.

    Despite the precision by Rice and the fact she had compared 
the documents side by side very recently, ``attacks'' and 
``demonstrations'' are fundamentally different words with 
fundamentally different meanings. The specific language Rice 
received through intelligence channels relating to the attacks 
here was accurate, and what she read from the talking points 
based on demonstrations was not. The fact she testified she did 
not recall any substantive differences does not mean no 
substantive differences existed.

                      What Rice Said on the Shows

    Despite Rice's limited knowledge about the Benghazi attacks 
when she appeared on the Sunday talk shows, some of her 
comments were conclusory, some were based neither in evidence 
nor fact, and some went well beyond what even the flawed 
talking points indicated. Two months after she appeared on the 
talk shows, she stated publicly:

        When discussing the attacks against our facilities in 
        Benghazi, I relied solely and squarely on the 
        information provided to me by the intelligence 
        community. I made clear that the information was 
        preliminary and that our investigations would give us 
        the definitive answers. Everyone, particularly the 
        intelligence community, has worked in good faith to 
        provide the best assessment based on the information 
        available. You know the FBI and the State Department's 
        Accountability Review Board are conducting 
        investigations as we speak, and they will look into all 
        aspects of this heinous terrorist attack to provide 
        what will become the definitive accounting of what 
        occurred.\261\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \261\Krishnadev Calamur, Susan Rice Says Benghazi Claims Were Based 
On Information From Intelligence, NPR (Nov. 21, 2012), http://
www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2012/11/21/165686269/susan-rice-says-
benghazi-claims-were-based-on-information-from-intelligence.

    A close examination of what Rice actually did say on each 
of the Sunday morning shows, however, along with the 
Committee's interview with her, demonstrates she in fact went 
well beyond ``solely and squarely'' relying on the information 
provided to her by the intelligence community.\262\ In 
addition, several aspects of her Benghazi remarks--conflating 
the video with the attack, the status of the FBI investigation, 
the number of attackers, and the amount of security present at 
the State Department compound, to name a few--drifted even 
farther from the information provided to her by the 
intelligence community. An analysis of some of Rice's comments 
is below.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \262\Id. (``When discussing the attacks against our facilities in 
Benghazi, I relied solely and squarely on the information provided to 
me by the intelligence community.'').

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                            FACE THE NATION

    Face the Nation was unlike the other four shows in that 
Libyan President Mohamed el-Magariaf appeared on the show 
immediately prior to Rice. During his interview with Bob 
Schieffer, Face the Nation host, el-Magariaf, who hailed from 
Benghazi, attended university there, and had deep ties to the 
city, said there was ``no doubt'' the attacks were preplanned. 
El-Magariaf said of the attack:

        Q: Was this a long-planned attack, as far as you know? 
        Or what--what do you know about that?

        A: The way these perpetrators acted and moved, I think 
        we--and they're choosing the specific date for this so-
        called demonstration, I think we have no--this leaves 
        us with no doubt that this was preplanned, determined--
        predetermined.

        Q: And you believe that this was the work of al-Qaeda 
        and you believe that it was led by foreigners. Is 
        that--is that what you are telling us?

        A: It was planned--definitely, it was planned by 
        foreigners, by people who--who entered the country a 
        few months ago, and they were planning this criminal 
        act since their--since their arrival.

    Schieffer also asked President el-Magariaf about the FBI 
traveling to Benghazi to investigate the attacks:

        Q: Will it be safe for the FBI investigators from the 
        United States to come in, are you advising them to stay 
        away for a while?

        A: Maybe it is better for them to stay for a--for a 
        little while? For a little while, but until we--we--
        we--we do what we--we have to do ourselves. But, again, 
        we'll be in need for--for their presence to help in 
        further investigation. And, I mean any hasty action 
        will--I think is not welcomed.

    Rice appeared immediately after President el-Magariaf on 
the show. She testified to the Committee she heard el-Magariaf 
say the attacks were preplanned, and even though his comments 
did not align with the talking points she was given, she was 
unconcerned. She testified:

        Q: My question was, how did you react to that?

        A: I was surprised.

        Q: And what did you do? Were you concerned that he may 
        have known something that you did not know?

        A: I didn't know what he knew. I knew what we knew and 
        what the intelligence community's current best 
        assessment was. And so it was my responsibility to 
        faithfully relay that and not make something up on the 
        fly based on what he said.\263\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \263\Rice Testimony at 147.

    When asked about President el-Magariaf's comments by 
Schieffer, though, Rice actually disagreed with him. She 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
responded:

        Q: But you do not agree with him that this was 
        something that had been plotted out several months ago?

        A: We do not--we do not have information at present 
        that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or 
        preplanned.

        Q: Do you agree or disagree with him that al-Qaeda had 
        some part in this?

        A: Well, we'll have to find that out. I mean I think 
        it's clear that there were extremist elements that 
        joined in and escalated the violence. Whether they were 
        al-Qaeda affiliates, whether they were Libyan-based 
        extremists or al-Qaeda itself I think is one of the 
        things we'll have to determine.\264\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \264\``Face the Nation'' transcripts, September 16, 2012: Libyan 
Pres. Magariaf, Amb. Rice and Sen. McCain, CBS News (Sept. 16, 2012), 
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/face-the-nation-
transcripts-september-16-2012-libyan-pres-magariaf-amb-rice-and-sen-
mccain.

    Notwithstanding intelligence Rice had seen indicating that 
al-Qaeda extremists were involved in the attacks\265\--and that 
the first draft of the HPSCI talking points also noted this 
fact\266\--the fallout of Rice's disagreement with President 
el-Magariaf was large. According to Hicks, the top American 
official in Libya at the time, Rice's comments prevented the 
FBI from going to Benghazi for a number of weeks. He testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \265\September 13 WIRe, supra note 123; Rice Testimony at 42.
    \266\Talking Points Timeline, ABC News, http://abcnews.go.com/
images/Politics/Benghazi%20Talking%20Points%20Timeline.pdf (last 
visited May 17, 2016).

        Q: Do you think those statements had an effect going 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        forward? What difference did those statements make?

        A: I think that they affected cooperation with the 
        Libyans. I mean, I have heard from a friend who had 
        dinner with President Magariaf in New York City that he 
        was still angry at Ambassador Rice well after the 
        incident.

        You know, the Libyan Government doesn't have a deep 
        bench. President, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime 
        Minister, Minister. After that, nah, not much there. 
        Some ministries, yeah, you can go--it goes three deep, 
        it goes down three layers. Most ministries it's just 
        the Minister. So if the President of the country isn't 
        behind something, it's going to be pretty hard to make 
        it happen.

        And I firmly believe that the reason it took us so long 
        to get the FBI to Benghazi is because of those Sunday 
        talk shows. And, you know, frankly, we never, ever had 
        official approval from the Libyan Government to send 
        the FBI to Benghazi. We stitched together a series of 
        lower-level agreements to support from relevant groups, 
        and we sat around in the meeting and we said, well, 
        guys, this is as good as it gets in Libya. And we 
        looked at the legat [legal attache] and said, call it 
        in, this is your shot. Call it in to D.C. and see if 
        they're ready--if they're willing to send a team. And 
        that's how--that's how the FBI got to Benghazi.\267\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \267\Hicks Testimony at 232.

    In her interview with Bob Schieffer, Rice also discussed 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
the FBI investigation. She said:

        Q: Madam Ambassador, he says this is something that has 
        been in the planning stages for months. I understand 
        you have been saying that you think it was spontaneous? 
        Are we not on the same page here?

        A: Bob, let me tell you what we understand to be the 
        assessment at present. First of all, very importantly, 
        as you discussed with the President, there is an 
        investigation that the United States government will 
        launch led by the FBI, that has begun and----

        Q: (overlapping) But they are not there.

        A: They are not on the ground yet, but they have 
        already begun looking at all sorts of evidence of--of 
        various sorts already available to them and to us. And 
        they will get on the ground and continue the 
        investigation. So we'll want to see the results of that 
        investigation to draw any definitive conclusions. But 
        based on the best information we have to date, what our 
        assessment is as of the present is in fact what began 
        spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had 
        transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of 
        course, as you know, there was a violent protest 
        outside of our embassy----

    In her comments Rice states the FBI has ``already begun 
looking at all sorts of evidence.''\268\ Yet nobody from the 
FBI or Justice Department was on the preparation call with her 
the day before the shows, and she did not know what evidence 
the FBI had already ``begun'' reviewing, despite her claim that 
the FBI was doing so. In addition, she did not rely on the 
HPSCI talking points here when discussing the FBI 
investigation, as the talking points indicated only ``the 
investigation is ongoing;''\269\ earlier she claimed she had 
solely relied on those points when talking about Benghazi.\270\ 
The Chairman had the following exchange with her about this 
topic:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \268\``Face the Nation'' transcripts, September 16, 2012: Libyan 
Pres. Magariaf, Amb. Rice and Sen. McCain, CBS News (Sept. 16, 2012), 
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/face-the-nation-
transcripts-september-16-2012-libyan-pres-magariaf-amb-rice-and-sen-
mccain.
    \269\Talking Points Timeline, ABC News, http://abcnews.go.com/
images/Politics/Benghazi%20Talking%20Points%20Timeline.pdf (last 
visited May 17, 2016).
    \270\See, e.g., Krishnadev Calamur, Susan Rice Says Benghazi Claims 
Were Based On Information From Intelligence, NPR (Nov. 21, 2012), 
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2012/11/21/165686269/susan-rice-
says-benghazi-claims-were-based-on-information-from-intelligence.

        Q: If you go back when the issue was first broached. 
        ``Well, Bob, let me tell you what we understand to be 
        the assessment at present. First of all, very 
        importantly, as you discussed with the president, there 
        is an investigation that the United States government 
        will launch, led by the FBI that has begun.'' Then your 
        next comment is, ``They are not on the ground yet but 
        they have already begun looking at all sorts of 
        evidence.'' What were they looking at that you knew 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        about?

        A: I didn't know specifically what evidence, but I knew 
        that the investigation had begun and that they would do 
        as they customarily do, try to gather as much evidence 
        as possible.

        Q: They do customarily try to do that; you are correct. 
        But your statement was, ``They have already begun 
        looking at all sorts of evidence.'' Who told you that?

        A: I don't recall exactly who told me that.

        Q: Do you know when you would have been told that?

        A: I don't know exactly when but sometime between 
        September 11th and September 16th.

        Q: And there was no one from law enforcement on the 4 
        p.m. call?

        A: No, not to my knowledge.

        Q: Do you recall talking to anyone with the Bureau 
        [FBI] before you went on the Sunday morning talk shows?

        A: No.

        Q: Well, this is what I'm trying to reconcile. If you 
        didn't talk to anyone with the FBI, who would have told 
        you that they had all sorts of evidence?

        A: I didn't say they had--``they have begun looking at 
        all sorts of evidence.'' I was aware, as a senior U.S. 
        policymaker, that we had announced there was an FBI 
        investigation already underway and that that 
        investigation would involve gathering and looking at 
        all sorts of evidence.

        Q: All right. But you go on to say ``already available 
        to them and to us.'' What evidence was already 
        available to you?

        A: To me personally, none.

        Q: Then why would you have said ``available to them and 
        to us''?

        A: I meant to the administration.

        Q: Do you know what was available to the 
        administration?

        A: Not precisely at this point.

        Q: Not at this point or not at the point that you----

        A: At the time.

        Q: You did not know at the time what evidence was 
        available to the administration.

        A: That's correct.

        Q: Then why would you say ``already available to them 
        and to us''?

        A: Because I knew that we had already begun the process 
        of gathering information, both from an intelligence 
        side as well as from the law enforcement side.

        Q: All right. I'm with you on the intelligence side, 
        but this--but I can't find an interview that you 
        conducted where you did not use ``the FBI.'' And what 
        I'm trying to understand is what was the source of your 
        information from the FBI.

        A: I didn't have any specific information from the FBI. 
        I was aware of and what I was trying to convey is that 
        the FBI was in the process of beginning its 
        investigation.

        Q: So if you were to say they already had begun looking 
        at all sorts of evidence of various sorts already 
        available to them and to us, in fact, you were not 
        available--you were not aware of what evidence they 
        had.

        A: I knew they were looking at intelligence among other 
        sources of evidence.\271\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \271\Rice Testimony at 96-98.

    Rice used the imprimatur of the FBI as a highly respected 
law enforcement agency and then conflated the fact they had 
begun an investigation with her statement the Bureau was 
``already looking at all sorts of evidence.'' In reality, Rice 
had no idea what the FBI was doing and where the investigation 
stood. The FBI would ultimately secure possession of the 
surveillance video from cameras on the Benghazi compound over a 
week later, but that video was not yet available to the 
Bureau--or the U.S. government--and once it became available, 
it impeached many aspects of the administration's initial 
assessment about the attacks.
    Other evidence available to the Bureau at the time of 
Rice's Sunday morning talk show appearances would have included 
eyewitness accounts from both State Department and CIA 
witnesses who survived the attacks. The administration either 
did not avail itself of these eyewitness accounts or completely 
ignored what these witnesses had to say. These accounts would 
contradict most of the administration's initial public 
statements about both the existence of a protest and a link 
between the attacks in Benghazi and an internet video.
    Rice invoked the name of a premiere law enforcement agency, 
indicated all sorts of evidence was available to them and then 
proceeded to recite talking points that would later be utterly 
impeached by the information that was gathered by the Bureau. 
Currently, the FBI's investigative position is reflected in 
both the charging instrument in U.S. v. Ahmed Abu Khattalah as 
well as various pre-trial motions. Instead of validating Rice's 
comments, the FBI's current assessment of what happened in 
Benghazi is closer to being the opposite of what Rice described 
on national television.
    When discussing the spontaneity of the attack, Rice also 
used definitive language about what had transpired. Such 
definitive language was not consistent with the HPSCI talking 
points. She had the following exchange with the Chairman about 
that comment:

        Q: ``Our best current assessment, based on the 
        information that we have at present, is that, in fact, 
        what this began as, it was a spontaneous''--what did 
        you mean by ``in fact''?

        A: What I meant was that what we understood to be the 
        case at the time was as I described. It was 
        spontaneous, not premeditated, et cetera.

        Q: But why would you use the--why would you use the 
        phrase ``in fact''? Ranking Member Schiff took great 
        pains to talk about all the qualifying language that 
        you used. ``In fact'' strikes me as being more 
        definitive than qualifying language.

        A: Given all the qualifiers that I put in here, I was 
        not trying to convey that what I was saying was the 
        last and final word on this.

        Q: Okay. What does the word ``premeditated'' mean to 
        you?

        A: It means that whoever was involved had planned in 
        advance to do what they did.

        Q: How much planning would need to have taken place for 
        it to qualify as premeditated or preplanned?

        A: I don't have a clear answer to that.

        Q: Well, you specifically said it was not preplanned 
        and not premeditated. So I'm trying to get an 
        understanding of how short a period of time something 
        would need to be planned to not be preplanned or 
        premeditated. What time period?

        A: I don't have a definitive answer to that question. 
        What I was trying to do, sir, is to convey, consistent 
        with the talking points that this was, to the best of 
        our understanding, a spontaneous reaction. And, to me, 
        the antithesis of ``spontaneous'' is ``preplanned or 
        premeditated.'' I was trying to say the same thing in a 
        slightly different way.\272\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \272\Id. at 101-102.

    It is unclear why Rice used such definitive language when 
the talking points she reviewed and relied on did not use 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
similarly strong language.

                  THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS

    It was during her appearance on This Week when Rice made 
the clearest link between the video and the Benghazi attacks. 
She said:

        Q: It just seems that the U.S. government is powerless 
        as this--as this maelstrom erupts.

        A: It's actually the opposite. First of all, let's be 
        clear about what transpired here. What happened this 
        week in Cairo, in Benghazi, in many other parts of the 
        region . . .

        Q: Tunisia, Khartoum . . .

        A: . . .was a result--a direct result of a heinous and 
        offensive video that was widely disseminated, that the 
        U.S. government had nothing to do with, which we have 
        made clear is reprehensible and disgusting. We have 
        also been very clear in saying that there is no excuse 
        for violence, there is--that we have condemned it in 
        the strongest possible terms.

        But let's look at what's happened. It's quite the 
        opposite of being impotent. We have worked with the 
        governments in Egypt. President Obama picked up the 
        phone and talked to President Morsi in Egypt. And as 
        soon as he did that, the security provided to our 
        personnel in our embassies dramatically increased.\273\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \273\`This Week' Transcript: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations 
Susan Rice, ABC News (Sept. 16, 2012), http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/
week-transcript-us-ambassador-united-nations-susan-rice/
story?id=17240933.

    In her comments, Rice stated ``what happened this week in 
Cairo, in Benghazi, in many other parts of the region . . . was 
a result--a direct result--of a heinous and video that was 
widely disseminated.''\274\ Nowhere in the HPSCI talking 
points--which Rice said she relied on ``solely and squarely''--
is there a mention of a direct link to the video. In fact, 
there is no mention of a link to a video at all, and the 
Committee is not aware of any mention of a direct link to the 
video in any intelligence Rice reviewed prior to her appearance 
on This Week. In mentioning a direct link to the video, Rice 
strayed far beyond her talking points and provided incorrect 
information.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \274\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Rice told the Committee she was not trying to use the 
talking points here, and may have misspoke. She testified:

        Q: Okay. We will go through those transcripts. But to 
        the extent you were linking Benghazi and suggesting 
        that there were protests there, your statement--and 
        tell me if you disagree with this--your statement that 
        what occurred in Benghazi was a result, and then for 
        emphasis you say ``a direct result,'' of the heinous 
        and offensive video.'' I mean, do you believe that you 
        went a little bit beyond what was in the talking points 
        in making that statement?

        A: I wasn't even trying to utilize the talking points 
        here. I was talking about what had happened around the 
        world. That's what I meant to be focused on.

        Q: So when you included Benghazi, did you--was that--
        did you misspeak?

        A: Quite possibly.

        Q: Because you would agree that, at the time you made 
        this statement on Mr. Tapper's show, the information 
        you had did not--did not state that there was a direct 
        connection between the video and what occurred in 
        Benghazi.

        A: That's right. And that's why I was, I think, more 
        precise in the other transcripts.\275\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \275\Rice Testimony at 115-16.

    Rice later testified that she was ``very careful'' to link 
the video to what happened in Cairo. Despite her comments on 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
This Week, Rice told the Committee:

        What I can say is that I--we have been through this, 
        but I was very careful to link the video to what 
        happened in Cairo and to other posts around the world. 
        I did not say that the attack on Benghazi was directly 
        caused by the video.\276\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \276\Id. at 166.

    Morell, a career CIA analyst who rose through the ranks to 
become Deputy Director and Acting Director, disagrees with 
Rice's analysis of her own comments. Morell said that a ``good 
bit of what she said was consistent with the CIA points, but 
she also said that the video had led to the protests in 
Benghazi. Why she said this I do not know. It is a question 
that only she can answer.''\277\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \277\Morell, supra note 114, at 228-29.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Rice also stated on This Week that there was a 
``substantial'' security presence at the United States 
``consulate'' in Benghazi. She said:

        Q: Why was there such a security breakdown? Why was 
        there not better security at the compound in Benghazi? 
        Why were there not U.S. Marines at the embassy in 
        Tripoli?

        A: Well, first of all, we had a substantial security 
        presence with our personnel . . .

        Q: Not substantial enough, though, right?

        A: . . . with our personnel and the consulate in 
        Benghazi. Tragically, two of the four Americans who 
        were killed were there providing security. That was 
        their function. And indeed, there were many other 
        colleagues who were doing the same with them.

        It obviously didn't prove sufficient to the--the nature 
        of the attack and sufficient in that--in that moment. 
        And that's why, obviously, we have reinforced our 
        remaining presence in Tripoli and why the president has 
        very--been very clear that in Libya and throughout the 
        region we are going to call on the governments, first 
        of all, to assume their responsibilities to protect our 
        facilities and our personnel, and we're reinforcing our 
        facilities and our--our embassies where possible...

    The State Department facility in Benghazi was not a 
consulate. The talking points provided to Rice about Benghazi 
did not mention anything about a consulate. In fact, the term 
``consulate'' was specifically edited out of the talking points 
for accuracy before they were provided to Rice. A consulate is 
formally notified to the host government--something the 
Benghazi diplomatic post was not--and provides certain services 
to citizens.
    As a former Assistant Secretary of State, Rice knew there 
was a difference between a consulate and diplomatic post. She 
testified to the Committee that she may have misspoke on this 
point and, with a statement of fact, acknowledged the 
difference:

        Q: So, following along, top of page 4, you say, ``With 
        our personnel and the consulate in Benghazi.'' Was 
        there a consulate in Benghazi?

        A: It was a diplomatic post.

        Q: Why did you say ``consulate'' if there was no 
        consulate in Benghazi?

        A: I may have misspoke.

        Q: Okay. Is there a difference between a consulate and 
        a diplomatic post?

        A: Yes, in fact, there is.\278\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \278\Rice Testimony at 106.

    In addition, the mention of a consulate may imply to some a 
stronger fortification than a diplomatic post, perhaps 
indicating an additional amount of security. While a 
``substantial security presence'' is the point Rice was 
attempting to convey--and as the Accountability Review Board 
made clear--the security presence at the State Department 
facility in Benghazi was nowhere near substantial.\279\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \279\Benghazi ARB, supra note 20, at 31-33.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Morell wrote in his book the ``harder statement'' for Rice 
to explain is why she ``said that there was a `substantial 
security presence' in Benghazi, as that point was not in either 
CIA or the White House talking points.''\280\ Rice explained to 
the Committee about what she meant when she said there was a 
substantial security presence:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \280\Morell, supra note 114, at 229.

        Q: What did you mean, you said, ``We had a substantial 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        security presence with our personnel''?

        A: I meant what I just said.

        Q: What does a substantial security presence mean to 
        you?

        A: It means significant, more than one, more than two, 
        more than three.

        Q: Did you have any indication of how many security 
        personnel were actually with the State Department in 
        Benghazi?

        A: Did I have any indication?

        Q: Did you have any indication at the time you made the 
        comments how many State Department personnel, security 
        personnel, were in Benghazi?

        A: I knew we had a Diplomatic Security presence.

        Q: Okay.

        A: I knew we had contractors.

        Q: Okay.

        A: I knew that two of the people who had been killed 
        were there in a security capacity.

        Q: Okay. But in terms of ``substantial security 
        presence,'' to you that means more than one individual?

        A: It means--it can--certainly means more than one. But 
        it doesn't mean--I wasn't trying to say it means 10, it 
        means 20, it means 50. It was substantial.

        Q: Is ``substantial security presence'' more than one? 
        Is that--in all situations, does a substantial security 
        presence mean more than one, or are you referring 
        specifically to Benghazi in this case?

        A: I was referring to Benghazi.

        Q: Okay.

        A: But I was also making the point, as you'll see 
        subsequently, that it obviously didn't prove sufficient 
        to the attack.

        Q: Okay. So I just want to make sure I'm clear. 
        ``Substantial security presence,'' in your mind, can 
        mean two individuals.

        A: I didn't say that.

        Q: You said more than one.

        A: I said more than one, more than two--we can keep 
        going. I didn't mean to imply.\281\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \281\Rice Testimony at 103-05.

    Rice was mistaken again in stating there were State 
Department security contractors in Benghazi. The security 
contractors who died in the Benghazi attacks worked for the 
CIA--and their job was to protect the CIA facility in Benghazi, 
not the State Department facility. Rice, whether intentionally 
or negligently, presented misleading information about the size 
of the security presence at the State Department facility in 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Benghazi.

                            FOX NEWS SUNDAY

    Rice also characterized the level of security in Benghazi 
on Fox News Sunday--something that was not in her talking 
points. She said:

        Q: All right. And the last question, terror cells in 
        Benghazi had carried out five attacks since April, 
        including one at the same consulate, a bombing at the 
        same consulate in June. Should U.S. security have been 
        tighter at that consulate given the history of terror 
        activity in Benghazi?

        A: Well, we obviously did have a strong security 
        presence. And, unfortunately, two of the four Americans 
        who died in Benghazi were there to provide security. 
        But it wasn't sufficient in the circumstances to 
        prevent the overrun of the consulate. This is among the 
        things that will be looked at as the investigation 
        unfolds and it's also why----

        Q: Is there any feeling that it should have been 
        stronger beforehand?

        A: It's also why we increased our presence, our 
        security presence in Tripoli in the aftermath of this, 
        as well as in other parts of the world. I can't judge 
        that, Chris. I'm--we have to see what the assessment 
        reveals. But, obviously, there was a significant 
        security presence defending our consulate and our other 
        facility in Benghazi and that did not prove sufficient 
        to the moment.\282\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \282\Amb. Susan Rice, Rep. Mike Rogers discuss violence against 
Americans in the Middle East, Fox News Sunday (Sept. 16, 2012), http://
www.foxnews.com/on-air/fox-news-sunday-chris-
wallace/2012/09/16/amb-susan-rice-rep-mike-rogers-discuss-violence-
against-americans-middle-east#p//v/1843960658001.

    When asked about the use of the word ``strong'' versus 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
``substantial,'' as she said on This Week, Rice responded:

        Q: Okay. Just a couple more questions about your 
        interview with Mr. Wallace. Your next response: ``Well, 
        we obviously did have a strong security presence.'' 
        What did you mean when you said ``strong security 
        presence''?

        A: I think we had this exchange over another adjective 
        I used.

        Q: That was ``substantial.'' I'm asking you about 
        ``strong.''

        A: The same answer applies.

        Q: Same answer? Okay. So more than one?

        A: That wasn't my prior answer.\283\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \283\Rice Testimony at 125.

    In her appearance on Fox News Sunday¬ł Rice noted 
``two of the four Americans who died in Benghazi were there to 
provide security. But it wasn't sufficient in the circumstances 
to prevent the overrun of the consulate.''\284\ This statement 
implies the two security officers who died were tasked with 
protecting the State Department facility. They were not; their 
job was solely to protect the CIA facility and CIA personnel. 
In reality the two she referenced--Glen Doherty and Tyrone 
Woods--were killed because the inadequate security at the State 
Department facility in Benghazi was not sufficient to repel the 
initial attack thus necessitating aid from CIA contractors at 
the Annex in Benghazi and from Tripoli.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \284\Amb. Susan Rice, Rep. Mike Rogers discuss violence against 
Americans in the Middle East, Fox News Sunday (Sept. 16, 2012), http://
www.foxnews.com/on-air/fox-news-sunday-chris-
wallace/2012/09/16/amb-susan-rice-rep-mike-rogers-discuss-violence-
against-americans-middle-east#p//v/1843960658001.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In the case of Glen Doherty, not only was he not in 
Benghazi to provide security for the Benghazi Mission compound, 
he was not in Benghazi at all--at least initially. He left 
Tripoli to respond to the attacks in Benghazi precisely because 
State Department security proved inadequate. And neither 
Doherty nor Tyrone Woods were killed in the ``overrun of the 
consulate.'' As noted above, there was no ``consulate'' in 
Benghazi and the Benghazi Mission compound was ``overrun'' 
hours before Doherty and Woods were killed.
    Rice's appearance on Fox News Sunday is also where she was 
imprecise--again--in discussing the FBI investigation. 
Specifically, she said:

        Q: Let's talk about the attack on the U.S. consulate in 
        Benghazi this week that killed four Americans, 
        including Ambassador Chris Stevens. The top Libyan 
        official says that the attack on Tuesday was, quote, 
        his words ''preplanned.'' Al Qaeda says the operation 
        was revenge for our killing a top Al Qaeda leader. What 
        do we know?

        A: Well, first of all, Chris, we are obviously 
        investigating this very closely. The FBI has a lead in 
        this investigation. The information, the best 
        information and the best assessment we have today is 
        that in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated 
        attack. That what happened initially was that it was a 
        spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in 
        Cairo as a consequence of the video. People gathered 
        outside the embassy and then it grew very violent and 
        those with extremist ties joined the fray and came with 
        heavy weapons, which unfortunately are quite common in 
        post-revolutionary Libya and that then spun out of 
        control.\285\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \285\Id.

    Significantly, Rice noted the ``FBI has a lead in this 
investigation.''\286\ This critical distinction may have 
incorrectly implied to some the FBI was making significant 
progress in the nascent investigation. The Chairman had the 
following exchange with Rice about this topic:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \286\Id.

        Q: On one of the occasions, you said--this is to Chris 
        Wallace--``The FBI has a lead in this investigation.'' 
        How would you have learned that if you had not talked 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        to the FBI?

        A: Because I was aware, as a senior policymaker, that 
        the FBI has a lead role in conducting investigations in 
        this circumstance and others like it.

        Q: But there's a tremendous difference between the FBI 
        has ``the lead'' and the FBI has ``a lead.'' ``A lead'' 
        is a law enforcement term that we have a suspect, we 
        have a lead.

        A: No, no, no. Excuse me. That was not what I was 
        trying to say. I was saying they had the lead, as in 
        the leadership role, not a lead on a suspect in the 
        investigation.

        Q: All right. So at least with respect to that 
        transcript, you intended the article ``the'' instead of 
        the article ``a'' to modify the lead. You were not 
        suggesting that they had a lead but that they were 
        taking the lead in the investigation.

        A: That's what I meant.

        Q: Okay. All right.\287\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \287\Rice Testimony at 95.

    In her interview with the Committee, Rice said that in the 
future, perhaps a ``no comment'' regarding an FBI investigation 
would be more appropriate. She had the following exchange with 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
the Chairman:

        Q: I guess this is what I am getting at, just from a 
        broader perspective. We all hear, whether it's Attorney 
        General Holder, Attorney General Lynch, really anybody 
        in the criminal justice realm just doesn't comment on 
        ongoing investigations. They don't make comments and 
        use qualifying predicates. They just say: Look, I don't 
        know. And I am not going to answer your question until 
        the investigation is complete. Why not respond that way 
        when you were asked on the Sunday morning talk shows?

        A: Sir, I wasn't trying to qualify or characterize the 
        investigation. I was trying to indicate that there was 
        an investigation, that it was going to be thorough, and 
        that it would reveal the best information as to what 
        had transpired.

        Q: I am not challenging that. I am just saying instead 
        of saying, ``Our best assessment at this time is that 
        it was not premeditated, not preplanned, that it was 
        spontaneous,'' one out of five references to the video, 
        why not just say, ``The investigation has just begun; 
        we don't know; and I am not going to guess''?

        A: Because our intelligence community, in response to a 
        request from HPSCI, had provided talking points along 
        the lines that we have discussed multiple times now. 
        And those talking points, which you and your colleagues 
        would have gone out with, were more detailed than 
        simply saying, ``I don't know.''

        Q: Right. But you and I both know in hindsight that the 
        talking points, at least to some degree, were wrong. So 
        I guess the lesson moving forward is maybe we should 
        just say, ``It's an ongoing investigation, and I am not 
        going to comment on it.''

        A: Maybe we should.\288\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \288\Id. at 146-147.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Rice also said the following on Fox News Sunday:

        But we don't see at this point signs this was a 
        coordinated plan, premeditated attack. Obviously, we 
        will wait for the results of the investigation and we 
        don't want to jump to conclusions before then. But I do 
        think it's important for the American people to know 
        our best current assessment.\289\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \289\Amb. Susan Rice, Rep. Mike Rogers discuss violence against 
Americans in the Middle East, Fox News Sunday (Sept. 16, 2012), http://
www.foxnews.com/on-air/fox-news-sunday-chris-
wallace/2012/09/16/amb-susan-rice-rep-mike-rogers-discuss-violence-
against-americans-middle-east#p//v/1843960658001.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Rice testified to the Committee about these comments:

        Q: But when you said, ``We don't see at this point 
        signs,'' did you mean to say that there were no signs, 
        or did you mean to say that there was no conclusion 
        that it was a coordinated, premeditated attack?

        A: I didn't purport to draw any final conclusions at 
        any point during these interviews. I was very careful 
        to underscore that I was providing the current best 
        information and that information could change.\290\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \290\Rice Testimony at 125.

    Rather than noting that no final conclusions had been drawn 
by the intelligence community about premeditation, however, 
Rice instead chose to state there were ``no signs'' at all of 
any premeditation.\291\ In this regard she not only went beyond 
the talking points she was provided, but she was also 
incorrect.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \291\See Amb. Susan Rice, Rep. Mike Rogers discuss violence against 
Americans in the Middle East, Fox News Sunday (Sept. 16, 2012), http://
www.foxnews.com/on-air/fox-news-sunday-chris-wallace/2012/09/16/amb-
susan-rice-rep-mike-rogers-discuss-violence-against-americans-middle-
east#p//v/1843960658001.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In fact, multiple signs existed at the time she appeared on 
Fox News Sunday that the attack may have been premeditated. 
[redacted text]\292\ Another piece of intelligence from 
September 13 indicated that an attack was imminent--mere 
minutes away--and known by multiple parties.\293\ Rice could 
have made her point by simply saying ``our current assessment 
is that the attack was neither coordinated nor premeditated.'' 
Instead, she chose to go a step further and, inaccurately, 
state ``we don't at this point see signs this was a coordinated 
plan.''\294\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \292\[Redacted text].
    \293\[Redacted text].
    \294\Amb. Susan Rice, Rep. Mike Rogers discuss violence against 
Americans in the Middle East, Fox News Sunday (Sept. 16, 2012), http://
www.foxnews.com/on-air/fox-news-sunday-chris-
wallace/2012/09/16/amb-susan-rice-rep-mike-rogers-discuss-violence-
against-americans-middle-east#p//v/1843960658001.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             MEET THE PRESS

    Rice's comments on Meet the Press are perhaps the most 
egregious diversion from the talking points provided to her 
about Benghazi. She said:

        Well, let us--let me tell you the--the best information 
        we have at present. First of all, there's an FBI 
        investigation which is ongoing. And we look to that 
        investigation to give us the definitive word as to what 
        transpired. But putting together the best information 
        that we have available to us today, our current 
        assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in 
        fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just 
        transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of--
        of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, 
        which were prompted, of course, by the video. What we 
        think then transpired in Benghazi is that opportunistic 
        extremist elements came to the consulate as this was 
        unfolding. They came with heavy weapons which 
        unfortunately are readily available in post-
        revolutionary Libya. And it escalated into a much more 
        violent episode. Obviously, that's--that's our best 
        judgment now. We'll await the results of the 
        investigation. And the president has been very clear--
        we'll work with the Libyan authorities to bring those 
        responsible to justice.\295\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \295\Meet the Press September 16: Benjamin Netanyahu, Susan Rice, 
Keith Ellison, Peter King, Bob Woodward, Jeffrey Goldberg, Andrea 
Mitchell, NBC News (Sept. 16, 2012), http://www.nbcnews.com/id/
49051097/ns/meet_the_press-transcripts/t/september-benjamin-netanyahu-
susan-rice-keith-ellison-peter-king-bob-woodward-jeffrey-goldberg-
andrea-mitchell/#.Vzozl_krJaQ.

    At the time of her appearance, Rice should have known what 
transpired in Benghazi was not a ``copycat'' of what had 
transpired in Cairo. On September 11, the day of the Cairo 
demonstrations and Benghazi attacks, she received frequent 
email updates about both events.\296\ Additionally, Rice 
received daily intelligence briefings from the CIA, and she 
received a briefing each day from September 12 to September 15. 
Out of scores and scores of intelligence products pertaining to 
Benghazi provided to the Committee, not a single one said what 
transpired in Benghazi was ``almost a copycat of'' what 
transpired in Cairo.\297\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \296\See, e.g., Email from U.S. Dep't of State, to Susan E. Rice, 
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., et al. (Sept. 11, 2012, 7:55 PM) (on file 
with the Committee, C05390691); Email from Senior Advisor to the U.S. 
Permanent Representative to the U.N., U.S. Mission to the U.N., to 
Susan E. Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., et al. (Sept. 11, 2012, 
6:41 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05561948); and Email from Senior 
Advisor to the U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N., U.S. Mission 
to the U.N., to Susan E. Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., et al. 
(Sept. 11, 2012, 11:53 PM) (on file with the Committee, SCB0051721).
    \297\Meet the Press September 16: Benjamin Netanyahu, Susan Rice, 
Keith Ellison, Peter King, Bob Woodward, Jeffrey Goldberg, Andrea 
Mitchell, NBC News (Sept. 16, 2012), http://www.nbcnews.com/id/
49051097/ns/meet_the_press-transcripts/t/september-benjamin-netanyahu-
susan-rice-keith-ellison-peter-king-bob-woodward-jeffrey-goldberg-
andrea-mitchell/#.Vzozl_
krJaQ.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Rice acknowledges that nowhere in the talking points was 
information indicating the Benghazi attack was a copycat of the 
Cairo protest. She testified:

        Q: Now, you would agree with me that nowhere in the CIA 
        talking points does it describe what occurred in 
        Benghazi and what occurred in Cairo as almost a copycat 
        of each other? You would agree with me on that?

        A: I would agree with you on that.

        Q: So would you also agree with me that describing what 
        occurred in Benghazi as almost a copycat of Cairo was 
        really overstating what was known at the time and 
        certainly overstating what was in the talking points?

        A: I don't know that it was overstating or even 
        misstating. But I would agree that the word ``copycat'' 
        does not appear in the talking points.\298\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \298\Rice Testimony at 129-130.

    In a later portion of her Meet the Press appearance, Rice 
connected the video with the Benghazi attacks, as she had with 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
other appearances on the talk shows. She said:

        Q: The president and the secretary of state have talked 
        about a mob mentality. That's my words, not their 
        words, but they talked about the--the tyranny of mobs 
        operating in this part of the world. Here's the 
        reality, if you look at foreign aid--U.S. direct 
        foreign aid to the two countries involved here, in 
        Libya and Egypt, this is what you'd see: two hundred 
        million since 2011 to Libya, over a billion a year to 
        Egypt and yet Americans are seeing these kinds of 
        protests and attacks on our own diplomats. Would--what 
        do you say to members of congress who are now weighing 
        whether to suspend our aid to these countries if this 
        is the response that America gets?

        A: Well, first of all, David, let's put this in 
        perspective. As I said, this is a response to a--a very 
        offensive video. It's not the first time that American 
        facilities have come under attack in the Middle East, 
        going back to 1982 in--in Beirut, going back to the 
        Khobar Towers in--in Saudi Arabia, or even the attack 
        on our embassy in 2008 in Yemen.

        Q: Or Iran in 1979.

        A: This has--this has happened in the past, but there--
        and so I don't think that--that we should misunderstand 
        what this is. The reason we provide aid in Egypt and in 
        Libya is because it serves American interests because 
        the relationships . . .\299\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \299\Meet the Press September 16: Benjamin Netanyahu, Susan Rice, 
Keith Ellison, Peter King, Bob Woodward, Jeffrey Goldberg, Andrea 
Mitchell, NBC News (Sept. 16, 2012), http://www.nbcnews.com/id/
49051097/ns/meet_the_press-transcripts/t/september-benjamin-netanyahu-
susan-rice-keith-ellison-peter-king-bob-woodward-jeffrey-goldberg-
andrea-mitchell/#.Vzozl_krJaQ.

    In this part of the conversation, David Gregory, Meet the 
Press moderator, and Rice are discussing foreign aid to both 
Egypt and Libya. Gregory mentions both countries twice in the 
lead-in to his question. Rice responds and says to ``put this 
in perspective . . . this is a response to a--a very offensive 
video. It's not the first time American facilities have come 
under attack in the Middle East . . .''\300\ She does not 
distinguish what happened in Libya to what happened in Egypt in 
her response, and ties the video to both incidents. After a 
brief interjection by Gregory, Rice mentions providing aid to 
both Libya and Egypt.\301\ Nowhere in Rice's comments is Libya 
distinguished from Egypt, indicating she did not intend for her 
comment about the video to apply to just Egypt, but rather both 
countries.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \300\Id.
    \301\See Id.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                           STATE OF THE UNION

    On State of the Union, Rice spoke of the number of 
attackers at the Benghazi Mission compound. Nowhere in the 
talking points--on which she said she solely and squarely 
relied--is there any mention of the number of protesters. Rice 
said:

        Q: But this was sort of a reset, was it not? It was 
        supposed to be a reset of U.S.-Muslim relations?

        A: And indeed, in fact, there had been substantial 
        improvements. I have been to Libya and walked the 
        streets of Benghazi myself. And despite what we saw in 
        that horrific incident where some mob was hijacked 
        ultimately by a handful of extremists, the United 
        States is extremely popular in Libya and the outpouring 
        of sympathy and support for Ambassador Stevens and his 
        colleagues from the government, from people is evidence 
        of that . . .\302\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \302\State of the Union with Candy Crowley Interview with Susan 
Rice, CNN (Sept. 16, 2012), http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/
1209/16/sotu.01.html.

    In her interview with the Committee, Rice acknowledged this 
information was not in the talking points and was unsure where 
she got the information about the number of attackers. She 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
testified:

        Q: Now, you respond, ``And indeed, in fact, there had 
        been substantial improvements. I have been to Libya and 
        walked the streets of Benghazi myself. And despite what 
        we saw in that horrific incident where some mob was 
        hijacked ultimately by a handful of extremists, the 
        United States is extremely popular in Libya and the 
        outpouring of sympathy and support for Ambassador 
        Stevens and his colleagues from the government, from 
        people is evidence of that.''

        Where did you get the fact that there was a handful of 
        extremists that had hijacked what occurred in Benghazi? 
        I mean, our understanding, even at the time, the 
        information was that there were 20 attackers. That 
        went--that number went to 50-plus, and then it went to 
        over 100. Where did you get the number ``a handful,'' 
        which, in my mind anyway, is about five?

        A: I don't recall exactly where I got that from.

        Q: It's not in the talking points, certainly.

        A: Talking points say that ``the demonstrations in 
        Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at 
        the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct 
        assault against the diplomatic post in Benghazi and 
        subsequently its annex. There are indications that 
        extremists participated in the violent 
        demonstrations.''

        Q: That's correct. But nowhere in what you just read 
        does the CIA or the intelligence community attribute a 
        number to the number of extremists that took place in--
        took part in the attacks, correct?

        A: Not in these talking points.

        Q: Okay. Do you believe that you received that 
        information from another source?

        A: I don't recall.

        Q: But you do believe somebody told you that?

        A: I don't recall exactly how I acquired that 
        information.\303\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \303\Rice Testimony at 121-22.

    Conveying a ``handful'' of individuals hijacked a mob had 
significant implications. By claiming only a handful of 
individuals, rather than a larger amount, were involved in the 
attack, Rice may have conveyed to the audience a sense that 
only a very small number of people were angry enough to attack 
the U.S. facility. Had Rice said more than a ``handful'' of 
people attacked the compound--which video evidence shows to be 
the case--she may have conveyed more widespread problems in 
Libya, potentially raising the very policy questions Rhodes 
strove so specifically to avoid in his September 14 briefing 
memo.\304\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \304\See Rhodes Memo, supra note 3 (``[T]hese protests are rooted 
in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    While Rice was on message in the following clause of the 
sentence--``the United States is extremely popular in Libya,'' 
indicating a successful Libya policy--unfortunately, the United 
States evacuated its embassy in Tripoli in July 2014 and today 
does not have an official diplomatic presence in Libya.

                     REACTIONS TO THE SUNDAY SHOWS

    The reaction to Rice's comments on the Sunday talk shows 
was as divided as it was quick. Many felt Rice presented 
information not based in fact, while others believed she simply 
stuck assiduously to the talking points she had been given.

               ``Off The Reservation on Five Networks!''

    Even though the Secretary did not appear on the Sunday talk 
shows, she monitored what Rice said on those shows. As the 
transcript for each show became available late Sunday morning 
into early Sunday afternoon, Sullivan sent a copy of the 
transcript to the Secretary with an accompanying note. The 
first transcript he sent her was from This Week. Sullivan 
wrote:

        Here is Susan on this week. She wasn't asked about 
        whether we had any intel. But she did make clear our 
        view that this started spontaneously and then evolved. 
        The only troubling sentence relates to the 
        investigation, specifically: ``And we'll see when the 
        investigation unfolds whether what was--what transpired 
        in Benghazi might have unfolded differently in 
        different circumstances.'' But she got pushed there.

        Waiting on other transcripts.\305\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \305\Email from Jacob J. Sullivan, Deputy Chief of Staff and Dir. 
of Policy Planning, U.S. Dep't of State, to Hillary R. Clinton, Sec'y 
of State, U.S. Dep't of State (Sept. 16, 2012, 12:22 PM) (on file with 
the Committee, SCB0045373).

    This note from Sullivan is interesting for two reasons. 
First, he writes that Rice makes clear their ``view that this 
started spontaneously and then evolved.''\306\ Second, Sullivan 
expresses concern regarding Rice's comment on the 
investigation, where she said ``[a]nd we'll see when the 
investigation unfolds whether what was--what transpired in 
Benghazi might have unfolded differently in different 
circumstances.''\307\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \306\Id.
    \307\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The fact that Benghazi may have transpired differently--and 
not spontaneously as a result of Cairo, as intelligence 
indicated to be the case--contained serious policy 
implications. If Benghazi started spontaneously and then 
evolved--as Sullivan seemed to indicate he and the Secretary 
believed--that would indicate a similarity with other areas in 
the Middle East, where protests had transpired as a result of 
the offensive video. If, on the other hand, Benghazi transpired 
differently--as a premeditated terrorist attack, for instance--
such a scenario would call into question whether the United 
States was defeating terrorism, and would raise doubts about 
the government's policy towards Libya specifically, and perhaps 
the Middle East generally. The fact Rice raised this as a 
possibility appeared to be unsettling to Sullivan.
    Sullivan later passed on the transcript to State of the 
Union with an accompanying note saying ``Nothing to this 
one.''\308\ Sullivan also forwarded the transcript for Meet the 
Press, with an accompanying note simply saying ``[g]ood.''\309\ 
Just three minutes later, the Secretary responded and said 
``[p]ls remind Panetta NOT to mention Tunisia--in fact no 
specifics preferable.''\310\ This may have been in response to 
the Meet the Press transcript, where moderator Gregory 
mentioned the evacuation of all but emergency personnel from 
diplomatic missions in Tunisia and Sudan, and that the 
Secretary of Defense has deployed forces to several areas to 
protect U.S. personnel.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \308\Email from Jacob J. Sullivan, Deputy Chief of Staff and Dir. 
of Policy Planning, U.S. Dep't of State, to Hillary R. Clinton, Sec'y 
of State, U.S. Dep't of State (Sept. 16, 2012, 2:38 PM) (on file with 
the Committee, SCB0045387).
    \309\Email from Jacob J. Sullivan, Deputy Chief of Staff and Dir. 
of Policy Planning, U.S. Dep't of State, to Hillary R. Clinton, Sec'y 
of State, U.S. Dep't of State (Sept. 16, 2012, 2:36 PM) (on file with 
the Committee, SCB0045390).
    \310\Email from Sec'y Clinton to Mr. Sullivan (Sept. 16, 2012, 2:39 
PM) (on file with the Committee, SCB0045390).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Almost immediately after Rice's appearance on the shows, 
Pelton highlighted conflicting statements between Rice and 
Libya President el-Magariaf. At 9:41a.m. on Sunday, September 
16, 2012 she wrote to Rhodes and others on the White House 
communications team:

        They open w Libyan President who says no doubt attack 
        preplanned/predetermined. Says planned by foreigners. 
        Says maybe better for FBI to stay away a little while 
        though they need their help w investigation. She said 
        in all other shows that no evidence this was 
        premeditated, as we discussed. Just fyi.\311\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \311\Email from Erin Pelton, Dir. of Commc'cs and Spokesperson, 
U.S. Mission to the U.N., to Dagoberto Vega, Special Ass't to the 
President and Dir. of Broadcast Media, White House, and Benjamin J. 
Rhodes, Deputy Nat'l Sec. Advisor for Strategic Commc'cs, Nat'l Sec. 
Council (Sept. 16, 2012, 9:41 AM) (on file with the Committee, 
C05622905).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Pelton testified as to why she sent this email:

        Q: Do you recall having drafted this email?

        A: Yes.

        Q: And what was the--why did you write this email?

        A: I wrote this email to alert Ben that what the Libyan 
        President had said on CBS was inconsistent with what 
        Ambassador Rice had said on the other shows that we had 
        already taped.

        Q: Did that inconsistency concern you?

        A: No.

        Q: Why not?

        A: Because what Ambassador Rice said reflected the best 
        information that we had at the time.\312\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \312\Pelton Testimony at 114-15.

    This email reflects the shortcomings of Rice's preparation 
for the Sunday shows, which was reflected in some of her 
comments. As described above, on her Saturday prep call were 
people from her office and the White House messaging team. No 
subject matter experts about Benghazi were on the call nor was 
anybody from the intelligence community. Pelton wrote ``no 
evidence this was premeditated, as we discussed''\313\--likely 
indicating a discussion of this topic on the phone call the day 
before. This is a significant difference from simply saying 
``the current assessment does not indicate that this was 
premeditated.'' In fact, as noted above, [redacted text] 
intelligence existed at that point indicating the attack may 
have in fact been premeditated.\314\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \313\Email from Ms. Pelton to Mr. Vega and Mr. Rhodes (Sept. 16, 
2012, 9:41 AM) (on file with the Committee, C05622905).
    \314\[Redacted text].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Rice's comments on the Sunday talk shows were met with 
shock and disbelief by those closest to the facts of the 
situation. Subject matter experts with direct knowledge of the 
attacks expressed immediate concern about what Rice had said on 
the shows--and potential fallout as a result. Hicks--possibly 
the last person to talk with Stevens, and the highest ranking 
U.S. official in Libya on Sunday September 16, 2012--said he 
was not asked for any information in advance of Rice's 
appearance on the show. He testified:

        Q: You became the charge on----

        A: September 12th, 3 a.m.

        Q: And you are the senior U.S. official, senior 
        diplomat in country starting September 12th. And you've 
        testified you had constant contact with Washington. So, 
        are you--as I understand what you are saying, before 
        the Sunday show--series of appearances on the Sunday 
        shows, you were not part of the preparation and 
        planning?

        A: That's correct. I was not.

        Q: You didn't get a chance to review talking points?

        A: No, I did not.\315\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \315\Hicks Testimony at 281.

    Hicks also testified about Rice's appearance on Face the 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Nation:

        So Magariaf, at great personal risk to himself, goes to 
        Benghazi to initiate an investigation and lend his own 
        personal gravitas. Remember he's from the Benghazi area 
        himself. So he goes to lend his own personal gravitas 
        and reputation to an investigation of what happens. And 
        he gets on--and he is on these programs speaking from 
        Benghazi, and he says this was an attack by Islamic 
        extremists, possibly with terrorist links. He describes 
        what happens. He tells the truth of what happened. And 
        so, you know, Ambassador Rice says what she says, 
        contradicting what the President of Libya says from 
        Benghazi.

        There's a cardinal rule of diplomacy that we learn in 
        our orientation class, and that rule is never 
        inadvertently insult your interlocutor. The net impact 
        of what has transpired is the spokesperson of the most 
        powerful country in the world has basically said that 
        the President of Libya is either a liar or doesn't know 
        what he's talking about.

        The impact of that is immeasurable. Magariaf has just 
        lost face in front of not only his own people, but the 
        world. And, you know, my jaw hit the floor as I watched 
        this. I've never been--I have been a professional 
        diplomat for 22 years. I have never been as embarrassed 
        in my life, in my career as on that day. There have 
        been other times when I've been embarrassed, but that's 
        the most embarrassing moment of my career.\316\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \316\Id. at 83-84.

    Other subject matter experts within the State Department 
also recognized problems with what Rice said on the talk shows. 
State Department employees in Washington D.C. who had spoken 
with those on the ground in Libya after the attack were 
universal in their condemnation of Rice's statements. The 
Senior Libya Desk Officer, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, 
State Department, wrote: ``I think Rice was off the reservation 
on this one.''\317\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \317\Email from Senior Libya Desk Officer, Bureau of Near Eastern 
Affairs, U.S. Dep't of State, to Senior Advisor and Spokesperson, 
Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Dep't of State, Deputy Dir. for 
the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy, Bureau of Near Eastern 
Affairs, U.S. Dep't of State & Deputy Dir. for Maghreb Affairs, U.S. 
Dep't of State (Sept. 17, 2012, 2:16 PM) (on file with the Committee, 
C05580618).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Deputy Director, Office of Press and Public Diplomacy, 
Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, State Department, responded: 
``Off the reservation on five networks!''\318\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \318\Email from [redacted text] to [redacted text], [redacted text] 
& [redacted text] (Sept. 17, 2012, 2:18 PM) (on file with the 
Committee, C05580618).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications, Bureau of 
Near East Affairs, State Department, wrote: ``Yup. Luckily 
there's enough in her language to fudge exactly what she said/
meant.''\319\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \319\Email from [redacted text] to [redacted text], [redacted text] 
& [redacted text] (Sept. 17, 2012, 2:17 PM) (on file with the 
Committee, C05580618).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    He also wrote: ``WH [White House] very worried about the 
politics. This was all their doing.''\320\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \320\Email from [redacted text] to [redacted text], [redacted text] 
& [redacted text] (Sept. 17, 2012, 2:19 PM) (on file with the 
Committee, C05580618).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    While Snipe may not have known exactly what ``worried'' the 
White House, he had extensive experience at the State 
Department, and had been in contact with the Embassy in 
Tripoli. Contrary to what Rice said on the talk shows, he did 
not believe any protests or demonstrations had occurred prior 
to the attacks. He testified:

        Q: And then you made a statement that, you know, based 
        on your training and experience, essentially you had 
        never seen anyone bring an RPG to a protest.

        A: I mean----

        Q: Or that would be unusual.

        A: I think what I said was ``bringing an RPG to a 
        spontaneous protest.'' I mean, I've been to Yemen 
        before, and, I mean, knives, AK-47s, RPGs. I mean, that 
        place is armed to the teeth, and I think people bring 
        an RPG to the toilet sometimes. But when I said that, I 
        was suggesting that, if you were spontaneously 
        protesting, an RPG might necessarily not be the first 
        thing you grab next to your car keys.\321\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \321\Testimony of Deputy Dir. for the Office of Press and Public 
Diplomacy, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Dep't of State, Tr. at 
96-97 (Oct. 9, 2015) (on file with the Committee).

    The Deputy Director, Office of Maghreb Affairs, State 
Department, was surprised of the connection made to the video. 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
She testified:

        Q: Do you recall having any discussions with NEA about 
        the substance of what was said on the talk shows and 
        whether there was an agreement or disagreement with 
        what was conveyed?

        A: Yes, ma'am. I recall that I was a little bit 
        surprised. The description of what was said--and, 
        again, I didn't watch the program myself--it just 
        sounded more definitive of what potentially had 
        happened. But, again, I didn't watch the show myself, 
        and I didn't read the full transcript. I was too busy 
        that day to do that.

        Q: When you say you're a bit surprised, what were you 
        surprised regarding?

        A: I was surprised in the way that they were described 
        in the press clips, that there was an indication that 
        there was some connection to the anti-Muslim video of 
        concern that had been circulating online, that there 
        was some connection to that. In the press clips that I 
        read, I remember seeing, like--okay.

        Q: And I think, before, you just said that that was a 
        pretty definitive statement.

        A: In the way that I saw it excerpted in the press 
        clips, it seemed like the connection had been made to 
        the video more definitively.\322\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \322\Testimony of Deputy Dir. for Maghreb Affairs, U.S. Dep't of 
State, Tr. 33-34 (Dec. 17, 2015) (on file with the Committee).

    Diplomatic Security Agent 30, Diplomatic Security Command 
Center, State Department, was in the Diplomatic Security 
Command Center while the attacks transpired and aware of real-
time information coming straight from Benghazi during the 
attack was asked if there was any rioting in Benghazi reported 
prior to the attack. His response was: ``Zip, nothing 
nada.''\323\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \323\Email from Diplomatic Sec. Agent 30 (Sept. 18, 2012, 1:16 PM) 
(on file with the Committee, C05390678).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          Circling the Wagons

    While many lower- and mid-level State Department employees 
in contact with the Embassy in Tripoli believed Rice went too 
far on the talk shows, senior officials at the State Department 
and White House did not appear to share that sentiment. 
Instead, these senior officials appeared concerned more about 
supporting Rice's statements and ensuring any future statements 
on the attacks were disciplined than ensuring they were 
reflective of what had actually transpired.
    The day after Rice's appearance, The Deputy Director, 
Office of Maghreb Affairs, sent an email summarizing a meeting 
with McDonough. She wrote:

        DNSA McDonough apparently told the SVTS [Secure Video 
        Teleconference] group today that everyone was required 
        to ``shut their pieholes'' about the Benghazi attack in 
        light of the FBI investigation, due to start 
        tomorrow.''\324\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \324\Email from Deputy Dir. for Maghreb Affairs, U.S. Dep't of 
State, to James N. Miller, Under Sec'y of Defense for Policy, U.S. 
Dep't of Defense (Sept. 17, 2012, 6:52 PM) (on file with the Committee, 
C05580200).

    McDonough's comments about the FBI investigation starting 
the following day stand in stark contrast with Rice's 
statements the day before that the FBI had already begun 
collecting ``all sorts of evidence'' in their investigation and 
had ``a lead.'' In addition, McDonough's remark about not 
commenting in light of the FBI investigation directly address 
the issue that Sullivan raised with the Secretary the day 
before--the troubling sentence by Rice that the FBI 
investigation could uncover ``Benghazi might have unfolded 
differently in different circumstances'' from other protests 
across the Middle East.\325\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \325\Email from Mr. Sullivan to Sec'y Clinton (Sept. 16, 2012, 
12:22 PM) (on file with the Committee, SCB0045373).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    That same day, during her daily press briefing, Nuland was 
asked by reporters to comment on the Benghazi attacks even 
though there was an FBI investigation. Nuland attempted to 
address the dichotomy between her refusal to talk about 
Benghazi and Rice's willingness to do so on the Sunday shows. 
Nuland said:

        Q: Toria, in Friday's briefing, Friday evening, you 
        essentially stated that all questions concerning any 
        aspect of the Benghazi attack--the circumstances 
        surrounding it, the outcome of it, et cetera--would 
        henceforth be directed by you to the FBI since it's 
        their investigation.

        And yet, on five Sunday shows yesterday, Ambassador 
        Rice, who works for the same agency as you, was giving 
        the latest U.S. assessment of how this event unfolded, 
        specifically by saying we don't believe it was 
        premeditated or preplanned, and by saying that those 
        with heavy arms and so forth showed up, in essence, as 
        she put it, to hijack an ongoing demonstration.

        So my first question for you is: Given that Ambassador 
        Rice is out there talking publicly about it and not 
        referring Bob Schieffer and Chris Wallace and the rest 
        to the FBI, may we consider that we can again begin 
        asking you questions at this podium about the 
        circumstances of the attack? If it's fair for the 
        Ambassador to discuss it, it should be fair in this 
        room, correct?

        A: Well, let me start by reminding you that Ambassador 
        Rice outranks me, as does my own boss, so she is often 
        at liberty to say more than I am. And I guess that's 
        going to continue to be the case.

        What I will say, though, is that Ambassador Rice, in 
        her comments on every network over the weekend, was 
        very clear, very precise, about what our initial 
        assessment of what happened is. And this was not just 
        her assessment. It was also an assessment that you've 
        heard in comments coming from the intelligence 
        community, in comments coming from the White House. I 
        don't have anything to give you beyond that.

        She also made clear, as I had on Friday, that there is 
        an ongoing FBI investigation. So frankly, I'm not sure 
        that it's useful to go beyond that. I'm not capable of 
        going beyond that, and we'll have to just see what the 
        FBI investigation brings us.

        Q: You would acknowledge, however, that the account of 
        the events, the preliminary account of the events that 
        Ambassador Rice offered, diverges starkly from the 
        account offered by the Libyan President, correct?

        A: Well, we've heard a number of different things from 
        Libya. I would simply say that what--the comments that 
        Ambassador Rice made accurately reflect our 
        government's initial assessment.\326\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \326\Daily Press Briefing by Spokesperson Victoria Nuland, Bureau 
of Public Affairs, U.S. Dep't of State (Sept. 17, 2012), http://
www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2012/09/197821.htm [hereinafter Nuland Sept. 
17 Briefing].

    Nuland also addressed a question as to whether or not 
protests had occurred outside the Benghazi compound. Her on-
the-record response, in the wake of Rice's talk show 
appearances, was markedly different from what she told 
reporters in an off-the-record briefing back on September 12. 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Nuland said:

        Q: And one last question, if I might, because 
        Ambassador Rice spoke to this. She suggested that there 
        had been an ongoing demonstration outside the Consulate 
        or in the proximity of the Consulate in Benghazi that 
        was, in essence, hijacked by more militant elements who 
        came armed to the affair. I just want to nail this down 
        with you. You are--you stand by this notion that there 
        was, in fact, an ongoing demonstration?

        A: I'd simply say that I don't have any information 
        beyond what Ambassador Rice shared with you and that 
        her assessment does reflect our initial assessment as a 
        government.\327\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \327\Id.

    Nuland, similar to the President in his 60 Minutes 
interview five days prior, also refused to directly label what 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
had occurred as a terrorist act. She said:

        Q: Simply on the basis of what Ambassador Rice has 
        publicly disclosed, does the United States Government 
        regard what happened in Benghazi as an act of terror?

        A: Again, I'm not going to put labels on this until we 
        have a complete investigation, okay?

        Q: You don't--so you don't regard it as an act of 
        terrorism?

        A: I don't think we know enough. I don't think we know 
        enough. And we're going to continue to assess. She gave 
        our preliminary assessment. We're going to have a full 
        investigation now, and then we'll be in a better 
        position to put labels on things, okay?\328\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \328\Id.

    Even the CIA appeared to take part in the effort to bolster 
Rice's statements. Five days after the attack, a September 17, 
2012 email exchange between officials at the White House, State 
Department, Office of the Director of National Intelligence 
[ODNI], and the CIA took place to craft a written response to 
questions posed by Fox News reporter Catherine Herridge about 
Rice's statements the day before. The first draft of the 
response, which appears to have come from the CIA's Office of 
Public Affairs, makes a number of misstatements--chiefly one in 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
the first paragraph:

        Off the record, I reviewed the timeline of what is 
        known now, of course realizing that there will be 
        interviews of witnesses, people on the ground etc. . . 
        . to get the down to the minute details. Like you, we 
        have the attack kicking off reportedly after 9:30 PM 
        with small crowds gathering during that 9:00-10:00 PM 
        hour. It's pretty clear, as we discussed, that there 
        had been smaller protests during the day, nothing along 
        the scale of what we saw in Cairo or later on in the 
        week, but protests nonetheless.\329\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \329\Email from Media Spokesperson, Cent. Intel. Agency, to Tommy 
Vietor, Nat'l Sec. Spokesperson, Nat'l Sec. Council (Sept. 17, 2012, 
4:01 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05562137).

    It is unclear what information, if any, the CIA public 
affairs officer relied on to claim ``it's pretty clear . . . 
that there had been smaller protests during the day''\330\--no 
CIA intelligence product provided to the Committee contained 
any such information.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \330\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Seven days after the attacks, on September 18, 2012, Meehan 
sent an email to Patrick Ventrell, Director, Office of Press 
Relations, State Department and Nuland about message 
discipline. Her email said:

        Focus today on reiterating that our initial assessment 
        stands, and was based on information available. Keeping 
        hard line about now waiting for the investigation to 
        run its course; we will of course provide info as it 
        comes to light. No discrepancy between what Rice said 
        and what State and WH said early on regarding 
        preplanned attack.\331\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \331\Email from Bernadette M. Meehan, Spokesperson, Nat'l Sec. 
Council, to Victoria J. Nuland, Spokesperson, U.S. Dep't of State & 
Patrick H. Ventrell, Spokesperson, U.S. Dep't of State (Sept. 18, 2012, 
11:03 AM) (on file with the Committee, C05561843).

    Nuland appears to have followed that guidance. In her daily 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
press briefing later that day, Nuland said:

        Q: Any more information on the investigation, on the 
        timeline? There continues to be some question about 
        whether the protests had all but dissipated before the 
        attack in Benghazi began, or whether or not the protest 
        was robust and ongoing and this attack at least used it 
        for cover. And there also continue to be, frankly, some 
        apparent differences between the characterization here 
        that it was a coordinated attack and Ambassador Rice's 
        assertion that it basically kind of grew out of the 
        protest.

        A: Well, on your last point, I spoke to this 
        extensively yesterday, making clear that Ambassador 
        Rice was speaking on behalf of the government with 
        regard to our initial assessments. I don't have any 
        more details beyond those that we've already shared, 
        and I don't expect to because I think all of the 
        information is going to go to the FBI for their 
        investigation, and when they're completed, then we'll 
        have more information.

        Q: The idea that it grew--that the protest may have 
        been used as cover, can you say whether or not the 
        protest had basically dissipated when the attacks 
        began?

        A: I personally have no more information than what I've 
        given you, and I don't think that we as a government 
        will be talking about these details until the FBI has 
        completed its investigation so that we don't prejudice 
        it.\332\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \332\Daily Press Briefing by Spokesperson Victoria Nuland, Bureau 
of Public Affairs, U.S. Dep't of State (Sept. 18, 2012), http://
www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2012/09/197912.htm#LIBYA.

    Carney also held a press briefing on September 18. During 
that briefing, he was asked about the conflict between Libyan 
officials and the administration as to what transpired in 
Benghazi--a conflict on full display on Face the Nation when 
Rice contradicted the Libyan President. Carney, like Rice on 
the talk shows, also connected the protests and violence across 
the region with the Benghazi attacks, linking the video to both 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
events. He said:

        Q: I wanted to go back to the conflict between--the 
        conflicting reports I guess between the administration 
        and Libyan officials over what happened. On Friday, you 
        seemed to cite that the videos were definitely part of 
        it, but I get the sense that you're backing away from 
        that a little bit today. Is there something that you've 
        learned since?

        A: No, no. I think what I am making clear and what 
        Ambassador Rice made clear on Sunday is that reaction 
        to the video was the precipitating factor in protests 
        in violence across the region. And what I'm also saying 
        is that we have--we made that assessment based on the 
        evidence that we have, and that includes all the 
        evidence that we have at this time.
    I am not, unlike some others, going to prejudge the outcome 
of an investigation and categorically assert one way or the 
other what the motivations are or what happened exactly until 
that investigation is complete. And there are a lot of 
suppositions based on the number of weapons and other things 
about what really happened in Benghazi and I'd rather wait, and 
the President would rather wait, for that investigation to be 
completed.

        Q: So you're not ruling out that----

        A: Of course not. I'm not ruling out--if more 
        information comes to light, that will obviously be a 
        part of the investigation and we'll make it available 
        when appropriate. But at this time, as Ambassador Rice 
        said and as I said, our understanding and our belief 
        based on the information we have is it was the video 
        that caused the unrest in Cairo, and the video and the 
        unrest in Cairo that helped--that precipitated some of 
        the unrest in Benghazi and elsewhere. What other 
        factors were involved is a matter of 
        investigation.\333\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \333\Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, The White House 
(Sept. 18, 2012), https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/
18/press-briefing-press-secretary-jay-carney-9182012.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Eight days after the attacks, on September 19, 2012, the 
Special Assistant to the Spokesperson, State Department, sent 
Nuland an email, possibly in response to a press inquiry, 
regarding Rice's statements regarding security personnel on the 
Sunday shows. He wrote:

        This is the only piece I can find that could possibly 
        be construed as the two security officials being there 
        w/responsibility to protect the mission compound vice 
        the annex. From the FOX News Sunday interview . . 
        .\334\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \334\Email from Special Ass't to the Spokesperson, U.S. Dep't of 
State, to Victoria J. Nuland, Spokesperson, U.S. Dep't of State (Sept. 
19, 2012, 5:20 PM) (on file with the Committee, SCB0052773).

    Also on September 19, 2012, Sullivan drafted an ``ALDAC''--
a worldwide cable to all U.S. embassies--approved by the 
Secretary in which guidance was given on ``outreach and 
messaging'' about the widespread violence in the Middle 
East.\335\ The cable continued to connect the attacks with the 
video:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \335\Email from Special Ass't to the Deputy Chief of Staff and Dir. 
of Policy Planning, U.S. Dep't of State, to SWO-Cables (Sept. 19, 2012, 
7:13 PM) (on file with the Committee, SCB0052812-SCB0052813).

        Since September 11, 2012, there have been widespread 
        protests and violence against U.S. and some other 
        diplomatic posts across the Muslim world. The proximate 
        cause of the violence was the release by individuals in 
        the United States of the video trailer for a film that 
        many Muslims find offensive. Diplomatic compounds have 
        been breached in several countries including Libya, 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen. In Benghazi, Libya four

        U.S. personnel were killed in the violence[.]\336\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \336\Id.

    Even as late as September 20, 2012, Nuland was still 
supporting the claims made by Rice on the talk shows. When 
reporter Jennifer Rubin asked Nuland to comment on a CBS news 
report that ``there was NO protest outside Libya embassy,'' 
Nuland responded, ``Off: this does not square with our 
info.''\337\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \337\Email from Victoria J. Nuland, Spokesperson, U.S. Dep't of 
State, to Jennifer Rubin (``J Rubin'') (Sept. 20, 2012, 9:59 AM) (on 
file with the Committee, C05412001).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In the week following her appearances on the Sunday talk 
shows, Rice remained publicly silent about her comments. 
Privately, however, she was ``constantly interested'' in new 
information about the attacks. She testified:

        Q: Did you have any conversations with anybody, either 
        on the night of September 16th or at any day thereafter 
        up to the point where you learned there were no 
        protests in Benghazi, on the issue of whether or not 
        President Magarief was correct or whether or not you 
        were correct in saying that the attack was spontaneous?

        A: I don't recall specific conversations, but I recall 
        being constantly interested in understanding our 
        evolving best assessment, with a mind to caring about 
        its inconsistency with what I was--with what I said on 
        the 16th.\338\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \338\Rice Testimony at 149.

    The absence of protests prior to the Benghazi attacks, 
however, remained a troubling issue for the administration. It 
was only a matter of time before this fact became widely known 
and disseminated publicly. Despite the best efforts by 
administration spokespersons to publicly support Rice's 
comments, however, the truth ultimately emerged to show much of 
what she said on the talk shows was incorrect.

                               THE SHIFT

    A week after the Benghazi attacks, administration officials 
began telling the public yet a different story. It started with 
Matthew G. Olsen, the Director of the National Counterterrorism 
Center.

                 Matt Olsen's Testimony on September 19

    On September 19, 2012, testifying before the Senate 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Olsen 
firmly stated that what happened in Benghazi was in fact a 
terrorist attack. Olsen also testified that individuals 
affiliated with al-Qaeda or al-Qaeda's affiliates may have been 
involved in the attack. Olsen said:

        Q: So, let me begin by asking you whether you would say 
        that Ambassador Stevens and the three other Americans 
        died as a result of a terrorist attack.

        A: Certainly on that particular question, I would say 
        yes, they were killed in the course of a terrorist 
        attack on our embassy.

        Q: Right. And do we have reason to believe at this 
        point that that terrorist attack was preplanned for 
        September 11th or did the terrorists who were obviously 
        planning it because it certainly seemed to be a 
        coordinated terrorist attack just seize the moment of 
        the demonstrations or protests against the film to 
        carry out a terrorist attack?

        A: A more complicated question, and one, Mr. Chairman, 
        that we are spending a great deal of time looking at 
        even as we speak. And it's a--it's a--obviously, an 
        investigation here is ongoing and facts are being 
        developed continually. The best information we have 
        now, the facts that we have now indicate that this was 
        an opportunistic attack on our embassy. The attack 
        began and evolved and escalated over several hours at 
        our embassy--our diplomatic post in Benghazi. It 
        evolved and escalated over several hours.

        It appears that individuals who were certainly well-
        armed seized on the opportunity presented as the events 
        unfolded that evening and into the--into the morning 
        hours of September 12th. We do know that a number of 
        militants in the area, as I mentioned, are well-armed 
        and maintain those arms. What we don't have at this 
        point is specific intelligence that there was a 
        significant advanced planning or coordination for this 
        attack.

        Again, we're still developing facts and still looking 
        for any indications of substantial advanced planning; 
        we just haven't seen that at this point. So, I think 
        that's the most I would say at this point. I do want to 
        emphasize that there is a classified briefing for all 
        of Congress that will take place tomorrow.

        Q: We'll be there. Let me come back to what you said--
        that there was evidence or intelligence that, as you 
        indicated broadly a moment ago, that in eastern Libya, 
        in the Benghazi area, there were a number of militant 
        or violent extremist groups. Do we have any idea at 
        this point who was responsible among those groups for 
        the attack on the consulate?

        A: This is the most important question that we're 
        considering.

        Q: Right.

        A: We are focused on who was responsible for this 
        attack. At this point, I would say is that a number of 
        different elements appear to have been involved in the 
        attack, including individuals connected to militant 
        groups that are prevalent in eastern Libya, 
        particularly in the Benghazi area, as well. We are 
        looking at indications that individuals involved in the 
        attack may have had connections to al-Qaeda or al-
        Qaeda's affiliates; in particular, al-Qaeda in the 
        Islamic Maghreb.

        Q: Right. So that question has not been determined 
        yet--whether it was a militant--or a Libyan group or a 
        group associated with al-Qaeda influence from abroad.

        A: That's right. And I would--I would add that what--
        the picture that is emerging is one where a number of 
        different individuals were involved, so it's not 
        necessarily an either/or proposition.

        Q: OK. OK, good, well----

        A: Again, as you know, the FBI is leading the 
        investigation and that's ongoing.\339\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \339\Homeland Threats and Agency Responses: Hearing before the S. 
Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, 112th Cong. 
(2012) (statement of Matthew Olsen, Dir., Nat'l Counterterrorism 
Center).

    Olsen's testimony that what had transpired in Benghazi was 
a terrorist attack and that there may be links to al-Qaeda was 
the first time an administration official had stated either of 
those facts publicly. He said the attacks were 
``opportunistic'' and did not mention anything about a video. 
Olsen responded to Chairman Joseph I. Lieberman's questions 
directly, concisely, confidently, and factually. He did not 
couch his language, speculate, or go beyond the facts he knew. 
Additionally, what he said was accurate. Such fact-centered 
testimony stands in stark contrast to Rice's appearances on the 
talk shows.
    Olsen told the Committee he wanted to talk about the 
connection to al-Qaeda at the Senate hearing; a possible al-
Qaeda connection was a large factor in the post-attack analysis 
occurring within the intelligence community--a fact the IC had 
known for nearly a week.\340\ Olsen testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \340\Olsen Testimony at 55-57 (discussing how long and from what 
sources intelligence community knew of al-Qaeda connection).

        But my thought at the time was this is not overly 
        sensitive, and it is the kind of information that I was 
        concerned, if we didn't--if I didn't say this in 
        response to a question about who was responsible for 
        this attack, it would be an omission that would be 
        glaring in the--you know, as, on, Congress Members, 
        themselves, were aware of this, right? Some of them 
        serving on HPSCI or SSCI may well have seen the 
        reporting. So it seemed to me the right thing to do to 
        avoid being, you know, viewed as not being as 
        forthcoming as I could be, even if it went beyond what 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        had been publicly stated.

        So that was my thinking at the time, why I thought that 
        that was an important point to make and why I actually 
        focused on it in advance of the hearings, so that folks 
        would know that I was going to say it.\341\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \341\Id. at 57-58.

    Olsen knew at the time the administration had yet to 
publicly tie al-Qaeda to the Benghazi attacks. As such, he 
directed his head of legislative affairs to alert other 
Executive Branch agencies that he would likely make the 
connection at the hearing.\342\ Meehan emailed Nuland about 
this possibility on the morning of the hearing. In an email 
with the subject ``Change of Language per the call''--perhaps 
an indication of coordination between how the White House and 
State Department were going to respond to press inquiries that 
day about Benghazi--Meehan wrote:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \342\Id. at 53-54.

        I am rushing to Jay's prep, and will circle up with the 
        broader group after. But wanted to flag that Matt Olsen 
        from NCTC will be on the Hill this morning . . . Wanted 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        to flag that IF ASKED, Matt will use the line:

        There are indications some of the extremists involved 
        in the attack may be linked to al-Qa'ida or its 
        affiliates, but this assessment may change as 
        additional information is collected and analyzed. In 
        eastern Libya there are numerous armed groups, some of 
        whom have al-Qa'ida sympathies.

        Flagging because it is an unclass session, so if he 
        makes that statement, word will likely leak, and it is 
        the first time someone from the USG will be saying that 
        there might be a link to al-Qaeda. Ben and I discussed, 
        and agreed that we refer questions to people involved 
        in the investigation, note the investigation is still 
        underway and no definitive conclusions yet, and if 
        pressed, can point out there is no discrepancy with our 
        original assessment because we always said our original 
        assessment was based on info available at the time and 
        that the investigation would provide further detail.

        Hopefully won't come up, but wanted to flag just in 
        case.\343\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \343\Email from Bernadette M. Meehan, Spokesperson, U.S. Dep't of 
State, to Victoria J. Nuland, Spokesperson, U.S. Dep't of State, & 
Patrick H. Ventrell, Spokesperson, U.S. Dep't of State (Sept. 19, 2012, 
10:22 AM) (on file with the Committee, C05561987).

    In her email, Meehan mentions a conversation with Rhodes 
and notes that ``if pressed, can point out there is no 
discrepancy with our original assessment because we always said 
our original assessment was based on info available at the time 
and that the investigation would provide further detail.''\344\ 
What Meehan does not say is that the link to al-Qaeda was 
actually cited in the intelligence community's original 
assessment.\345\ That was not new information, as Olsen 
acknowledged.\346\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \344\Id.
    \345\September 13 WIRe, supra note 123.
    \346\Olsen Testimony at 25.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Additionally, Meehan's email--reflecting other public 
statements by administration officials up to that point--noted 
she and Rhodes ``agreed that we refer questions to people 
involved in the investigation.'' Olsen told the Committee the 
investigation did not in fact prohibit him from talking about 
what had been learned up to that point. He testified:

        Q: Was there anything about the FBI investigation that 
        prohibited you from either, A, saying it was a 
        terrorist attack, or, B, drawing a link to AQIM?

        A: No, nothing that I--no, I don't--certainly not the 
        question of whether it was a terrorist attack or the 
        way I phrased the answer to the question on who was 
        responsible--on the connections to--you know, potential 
        connections to terrorist groups.

        Q: So if nothing about the ongoing investigation 
        prohibited you from saying that, then why would others 
        refer to the ongoing investigation when asked those 
        very same questions?
    A: --You know, I, obviously, don't know exactly why others. 
I do think there's a range of reasonable, you know, approaches 
to this question. In other words, I don't think there is one 
right approach.\347\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \347\Id. at 60.

    Olsen also testified his background as a prosecutor helps 
him create a fact-centered approach to sharing information. He 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
said:

        Q: Sure. As a prosecutor, the facts are very important 
        to you. A fact is a fact, and you're going to share 
        what that fact may be--is that fair to say?--as opposed 
        to being concerned about public relations, in lack of a 
        better phrase, or the impression people might get?

        A: That's basically right, and that's sort of--that is 
        the approach of being a prosecutor in terms of reliance 
        on facts. I'm not--I shouldn't, you know, lead you to 
        believe that I'm completely oblivious to----

        Q: Of course

        A: --the public impression that you can leave and the 
        importance that that has too.\348\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \348\Id. at 61-62
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Even though Olsen wanted to state publicly that al-Qaeda 
sympathizers may have been involved in the attack, he did not 
plan on saying definitively that it was a terrorist attack. 
While Olsen knew from the outset it was a terrorist attack--
``all of those factors, you know, made it so that it was, to 
me, there was not really a question of whether it was a 
terrorist attack''\349\--he testified he had not given it a 
great deal of thought, but when asked directly by Lieberman, 
the logical response was to acknowledge that it was a terrorist 
attack.\350\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \349\Id. at 100.
    \350\Id. at 50-51.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Olsen recognized almost immediately after the hearing he 
may have made news with what he had said with respect to the 
events being a terrorist attack. He told the Committee he wrote 
an email to the White House alerting them of what he had said. 
Olsen testified:

        Q: So what were the repercussions of you saying it was 
        a terrorist attack?

        A: So one of the things I did afterwards was I wrote an 
        email to both John Brennan and Denis McDonough--you 
        know, Denis was the Deputy National Security Advisor 
        and John was--John Brennan was the counterterrorism 
        advisor--and explained to them--you know, I said 
        something like, ``I made some news today with my 
        testimony. Here is why I testified that this was a 
        terrorist attack,'' was my thought process. And they 
        wrote back to me, saying, ``You did the right thing,'' 
        essentially, in emails that day. You know, ``Understand 
        you made the right points,'' or something like that.

        But again, look, I was aware, again, in a way I hadn't 
        really been before that what I was testifying to was 
        potentially newsworthy, and, in fact, it was. So that's 
        why I thought both let my press person think about what 
        we need to do, ask him to think about what we may need 
        to do, and then also, myself, reach out to John Brennan 
        and Denis McDonough.\351\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \351\Id. at 71-72.

    Private reaction from senior officials at the State 
Department regarding Olsen's testimony, however, appeared less 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
supportive. Nuland wrote to Sullivan, Mills, and Kennedy:

        Fysa, and for Jake's drafting exercise; NCTC also 
        called it a terrorist attack today: I had demurred on 
        that as had Jay, pending investigation.\352\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \352\Email from Victoria J. Nuland, Spokesperson, U.S. Dep't of 
State, to Jacob J. Sullivan, Deputy Chief of Staff and Dir. of Policy 
Planning, U.S. Dep't of State, Cheryl D. Mills, Chief of Staff to the 
U.S. Sec'y of State, U.S. Dep't of State, & Patrick F. Kennedy, Under 
Sec'y for Management, U.S. Dep't of State (Sept. 19, 2012, 2:45 PM) (on 
file with the Committee, C05561975).

    Sullivan called the White House to inform them he was 
unaware Olsen was going to testify it was a terrorist attack. 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Meehan testified:

        Q: Do you recall generally having any conversations 
        with [Jake Sullivan] that week? Or in the immediate 
        aftermath of the attack, that general period of 
        September 2012?

        A: I do recall having one phone conversation with him. 
        I don't know whether it's in the scope of the 4 to 5 
        days that we're discussing.

        Q: Okay. What was discussed in that conversation?

        A: He raised that he had been unaware before Matt Olsen 
        testified on the Hill, that Matt Olsen was going to 
        make a link publicly to Al Qaeda in reference to the 
        Benghazi attack.

        Q: Why did he raise that issue with you?

        A: I can't say why I was the individual that he called. 
        I don't know.\353\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \353\Testimony of Bernadette M. Meehan, Spokesperson, Nat'l Sec. 
Council, Tr. at 28-29 (Dec. 16, 2015) (on file with the Committee).

    Even the Secretary expressed surprise at Olsen's testimony. 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Olsen testified:

        Q: Yeah. Did anybody express to you that they were 
        disappointed in what you said, they were perplexed by 
        what you said, that what you said may have thrown a 
        message off kilter?

                              *    *    *

        A: . . . But, you know, to your question I did hear at 
        one point--and I don't remember exactly when--from 
        Director Clapper that he'd heard from Secretary 
        Clinton, you know, of some surprise about me saying 
        that it was a terrorist attack. And he basically said--
        you know, I remember thinking he basically said, you 
        know, ``We're saying what we see,'' something like 
        that.

        But I remember hearing from him. He told me directly--I 
        think we were either in a car or getting ready to get 
        in his car to come downtown--that he'd gotten a call or 
        had heard from Secretary Clinton about surprise that 
        one of his guys was talking about this being a 
        terrorist attack.\354\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \354\Olsen Testimony at 82-83.

    The day after Olsen's testimony, September 20, 2012, the 
President participated in a town hall with Univision at the 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
University of Miami. The President had the following exchange:

        Q: We have reports that the White House said today that 
        the attacks in Libya were a terrorist attack. Do you 
        have information indicating that it was Iran, or al-
        Qaeda was behind organizing the protests?

        A: Well, we're still doing an investigation, and there 
        are going to be different circumstances in different 
        countries. And so I don't want to speak to something 
        until we have all the information. What we do know is 
        that the natural protests that arose because of the 
        outrage over the video were used as an excuse by 
        extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. 
        interests----

        Q: Al-Qaeda?

        A: Well, we don't know yet. And so we're going to 
        continue to investigate this. We've insisted on, and 
        have received so far full cooperation from countries 
        like Egypt and Libya and Tunisia in not only protecting 
        our diplomatic posts, but also to make sure that we 
        discover who, in fact, is trying to take advantage of 
        this. . . .\355\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \355\Remarks by the President at Univision Town Hall with Jorge 
Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas, Miami, FL, Sept. 20, 2012.

    The President said the government wanted to ``discover who, 
in fact, is trying to take advantage of this.'' It is unclear 
if ``this'' is a reference to the video, protests, or something 
else. However, no assessment from the CIA ever stated anybody 
was ``trying to take advantage'' of the video, or even that 
there was a direct link between the video and the Benghazi 
attacks.
    The President also stated, in response to a question that 
mentioned only Libya, the ``natural protests that arose because 
of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by 
extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. 
interests--.'' This statement was made two days after the U.S. 
government obtained access to the video footage from the 
Benghazi Mission compound, which did not show a protest outside 
the Benghazi Mission compound prior to the beginning of the 
attacks.
    When asked if al-Qaeda was involved, the President 
responded ``we don't know yet.'' The day before, however, Olsen 
testified under oath before Congress the government was 
``looking at indiciations that individuals involved in the 
attack may have had connections to al-Qaeda or al-Qaeda's 
affiliates; in particular, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.''
    Two days after Olsen's testimony, on September 21, 2012, 
the Secretary said for the first time publicly that what 
happened in Benghazi was a ``terrorist attack.''\356\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \356\Hillary R. Clinton, Sec'y of State, U.S. Dep't of State, 
Remarks with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar before Their 
Meeting (Sept.25, 2012), http://www.state.gov/
secretary/20092013clinton/rm/2012/09/198060.htm.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Four days later, on September 25, 2012, the President said, 
during remarks to the United Nations General Assembly: ``There 
are no words that excuse the killing of innocents. There's no 
video that justifies an attack on an embassy.''\357\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \357\Press Release, The White House Office of the Press Secretary, 
Remarks by the President to the UN General Assembly (Sept. 13, 2012), 
https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/25/remarks-
president-un-general-assembly.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    It was not until the following day--a full week after Olsen 
made his comments and fifteen days after the attacks began--
Carney finally acknowledged the President's position was that a 
terrorist attack occurred. Carney said:

        Q: Can I ask one more--are criticizing the President 
        for not classifying what happened in Benghazi as a 
        terrorist attack, going as far as you did or the NCTC 
        director. Can you respond to that and explain why that 
        is?

        A: The President spoke eloquently I believe about the 
        attack that took the lives of four Americans at the 
        United Nations General Assembly, and I think made very 
        clear that it is wholly unacceptable to respond to a 
        video, no matter how offensive, with violence, and it 
        is wholly unacceptable, regardless of the reason, to 
        attack embassies or diplomatic facilities and to kill 
        diplomatic personnel.

        The President--our position is, as reflected by the 
        NCTC director, that it was a terrorist attack. It is, I 
        think by definition, a terrorist attack when there is a 
        prolonged assault on an embassy with weapons.

        The broader questions here about who participated, what 
        led to the attack on the facility in Benghazi--all 
        those questions are under investigation at two levels, 
        by the FBI and by the Accountability Review Board 
        established by Secretary Clinton to look at issues of 
        security in Benghazi and security at other diplomatic 
        facilities.

        So, let's be clear, it was a terrorist attack and it 
        was an inexcusable attack.\358\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \358\Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Jay Carney Aboard Air Force 
One en route Ohio, Office of the Press Secretary, The White House 
(Sept. 26, 2012), https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/
26/press-gaggle-press-secretary-jay-carney-aboard-air-force-one-en-
route-oh.

                  September 24 Intelligence Assessment

    Two days before Carney finally acknowledged publicly that 
Benghazi was a terrorist attack, on September 24, 2012, the CIA 
published its new ``assessment'' about the Benghazi attacks, 
formally changing their old assessment which had been in place 
since September 13. In the September 24 piece, which was 
produced jointly with the National Counterterrorism Center, the 
analysts wrote ``We now assess, based on new reporting, that 
the assault was deliberate and organized. Our most credible 
information indicates that there was not a protest ongoing at 
the time of the attack as first reported.''\359\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \359\Cent. Intel. Agency, Libya: Updated Assessment of Benghazi 
Attacks, World Intelligence Review, Sept. 24, 2012 (on file with CIA, 
IntBook29-076 to IntBook29-079).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The supporting intelligence used in this piece to support 
the new assessment was threefold. The first piece of 
intelligence was from September 19, 2012 and noted that 
attackers used fixed firing positions, capture or kill teams, 
and blockades to impede the escape of US personnel,'' [redacted 
text]\360\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \360\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The second piece of intelligence [redacted text] suggesting 
``the attack was put together at least several hours ahead of 
time.''\361\ Although this piece of intelligence was available 
as early as September 15--one day before Rice went on the 
Sunday talk shows and nine days before the analysts published 
their updated assessment--an internal CIA after action review 
noted that this piece of intelligence was ``not viewed as 
credible enough'' at the time to outweigh other reporting, such 
as news reports.\362\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \361\Id.
    \362\Intelligence Note, Memorandum for Acting Dir., Cent. Intel. 
Agency, Jan. 4, 2013 [hereinafter Analytic Line Review] (on file with 
CIA, REQUEST 17-0049 to REQUEST 17-0063).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The third piece of intelligence [redacted text] noted 
simply that the attackers ``also employed effective mortar fire 
against the Embassy annex later in the night after US return 
fire repulsed their initial ground assault.''\363\ This piece 
of intelligence was formally available to analysts as early as 
September 14, and informally available to them as early as 
September 12.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \363\[Redacted text].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Additionally, perhaps the most credible--and definitive--
piece of intelligence indicating no protest had occurred prior 
to the Benghazi attacks was the video footage from the closed 
circuit televisions at the Special Mission Compound in 
Benghazi. The CIA had access to analysis of this footage by the 
Libyan Intelligence Service as early as September 18, 2012, and 
those in the CIA who saw the video on that date concluded 
immediately no protest occurred prior to the attacks. This 
intelligence was not cited in the update assessment.
    The manager of the analysts testified the analysts began 
working on the piece before September 18. Given that fact--and 
that the information cited in the updated assessment as 
rationale for changing the assessment was available on 
September 14, September 15, and September 19--why did it take 
the CIA until September 24 to publish the piece?
    The answer appears to be the piece was held up in 
interagency coordination. The analysts did not want an 
interagency partner to file a formal dissent. The manager of 
the analysts testified:

        And, frankly, the WIRe that ran on the 24th actually 
        got held up for 2 days in Coordination, trying to 
        convince people in the IC [Intelligence Community], who 
        hadn't seen this video yet because it wasn't back in 
        country, that there were no protests.\364\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \364\[Redacted text] Team Chief Testimony at 75-77, 92-95.

    Other interagency partners--specifically the State 
Department--did not trust the Libyan government's assessment of 
the video, even though CIA officials in Tripoli had seen the 
actual video footage and concurred with the assessment.\365\ 
This distrust held up interagency coordination of the piece for 
several days. It was not until September 24 when the actual 
video footage arrived at CIA headquarters, allowing for 
dissemination to other interagency partners.\366\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \365\Id. at 75-77.
    \366\[Redacted text].

                      September 28 ODNI Statement

    On September 28, 2012, Shawn Turner, Director of Public 
Affairs, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, 
released a statement on the intelligence related to the 
Benghazi terrorist attacks. That statement read in full:

        In the aftermath of the terrorist attack on U.S. 
        personnel and facilities in Benghazi, Libya, the 
        Intelligence Community launched a comprehensive effort 
        to determine the circumstances surrounding the assault 
        and to identify the perpetrators. We also reviewed all 
        available intelligence to determine if there might be 
        follow-on attacks against our people or facilities in 
        Libya or elsewhere in the world.

        As the Intelligence Community collects and analyzes 
        more information related to the attack, our 
        understanding of the event continues to evolve. In the 
        immediate aftermath, there was information that led us 
        to assess that the attack began spontaneously following 
        protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo. We 
        provided that initial assessment to Executive Branch 
        officials and members of Congress, who used that 
        information to discuss the attack publicly and provide 
        updates as they became available. Throughout our 
        investigation we continued to emphasize that 
        information gathered was preliminary and evolving.

        As we learned more about the attack, we revised our 
        initial assessment to reflect new information 
        indicating that it was a deliberate and organized 
        terrorist attack carried out by extremists. It remains 
        unclear if any group or person exercised overall 
        command and control of the attack, and if extremist 
        group leaders directed their members to participate. 
        However, we do assess that some of those involved were 
        linked to groups affiliated with, or sympathetic to al-
        Qa'ida. We continue to make progress, but there remain 
        many unanswered questions. As more information becomes 
        available our analysis will continue to evolve and we 
        will obtain a more complete understanding of the 
        circumstances surrounding the terrorist attack.

        We continue to support the ongoing FBI investigation 
        and the State Department review of the Benghazi 
        terrorist attack, providing the full capabilities and 
        resources of the Intelligence Community to those 
        efforts. We also will continue to meet our 
        responsibility to keep Congress fully and currently 
        informed. For its part, the Intelligence Community will 
        continue to follow the information about the tragic 
        events in Benghazi wherever it leads. The President 
        demands and expects that we will do this, as do 
        Congress and the American people. As the Intelligence 
        Community, we owe nothing less than our best efforts in 
        this regard, especially to the families of the four 
        courageous Americans who lost their lives at Benghazi 
        in service of their country.\367\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \367\Press Release, Office of the Dir. of National Intel., 
Statement by the Director of Public Affairs for ODNI, Shawn Turner, on 
the intelligence related to the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate 
in Benghazi, Libya (Sept. 28, 2012), https://www.dni.gov/index.php/
newsroom/press-
releases/96-press-releases-2012/731-statement-by-the-odni-s-director-
of-public-affairs-on-
intelligence-related-to-the-terrorist-attack-on-the-u-s-consulate-in-
benghazi.

    Even though the issue of protests was heavily debated in 
the public at the time, the statement does not specifically 
address whether or not a protest occurred prior to the 
attacks--doing so would have undercut Rice's statements on the 
talk shows twelve days before. In addition, the issue of 
protests was not an ``analytical focal point''\368\ for the 
intelligence community and was more of a ``subsidiary issue'' 
to them.\369\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \368\Olsen Testimony at 119.
    \369\Olsen Testimony at 67.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Rather, the statement only mentions it was a ``deliberate 
and organized terrorist attack''\370\--still leaving open the 
possibility protests may have occurred. The statement did not 
mention anything about the internet video, let alone any 
connection between the video and Benghazi attacks. The 
statement, issued by the intelligence community and not the 
White House or State Department, did not connect the two 
events.\371\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \370\Press Release, Office of the Dir. of National Intel., 
Statement by the Director of Public Affairs for ODNI, Shawn Turner, on 
the intelligence related to the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate 
in Benghazi, Libya (Sept. 28, 2012), https://www.dni.gov/index.php/
newsroom/press-
releases/96-press-releases-2012/731-statement-by-the-odni-s-director-
of-public-affairs-on-
intelligence-related-to-the-terrorist-attack-on-the-u-s-consulate-in-
benghazi.
    \371\See id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As public statements tend to be, this statement was 
carefully worded. It notes only the initial intelligence 
community assessment that it ``began spontaneously following 
protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo.''\372\ This 
wording can be directly tied to language in the September 13 
WIRe.\373\ The statement does not say, however, the 
intelligence community ever assessed that protests or 
demonstrations had occurred prior to the Benghazi attacks--
something repeatedly mentioned by Rice on the talk shows. That 
is because, aside from the errant title in the September 13 
WIRe, the intelligence community never formally coordinated 
such an assessment in writing.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \372\Id.
    \373\September 13 WIRe, supra note 123.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The statement also says ``[a]s we learned more about the 
attack, we revised our initial assessment to reflect new 
information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized 
terrorist attack carried out by extremists. . . . we do assess 
that some of those involved were linked to groups affiliated 
with, or sympathetic to al-Qa'ida.''\374\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \374\Press Release, Office of the Dir. of National Intel., 
Statement by the Director of Public Affairs for ODNI, Shawn Turner, on 
the intelligence related to the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate 
in Benghazi, Libya (Sept. 28, 2012), https://www.dni.gov/index.php/
newsroom/press-releases/96-press-
releases-2012/731-statement-by-the-odni-s-director-of-public-affairs-
on-
intelligence-related-to-the-terrorist-attack-on-the-u-s-consulate-in-
benghazi.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Given that the intelligence leading to the new assessment 
was more than a week old, and in some cases even older, why, 
then, did ODNI wait until September 28, 2012 to issue this 
statement? The answer lies in emails between senior 
administration officials.
    The genesis for ODNI's statement occurred the day before as 
a result of a press report. The article, published on September 
27, 2012 said the following:

        URGENT: U.S. intelligence officials knew from Day One 
        that the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya was a 
        terrorist attack and suspect Al Qaeda-tied elements 
        were involved, sources told Fox News--though it took 
        the administration a week to acknowledge it.

        The account conflicts with claims on the Sunday after 
        the attack by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations 
        Susan Rice that the administration believed the strike 
        was a ``spontaneous'' event triggered by protests in 
        Egypt over an anti-Islam film.

        Sources said the administration internally labeled the 
        attack terrorism from the first day to enable a certain 
        type of policy response and that officials were looking 
        for one specific suspect.

        In addition, sources confirm that FBI agents have not 
        yet arrived in Benghazi in the aftermath of the 
        attack.\375\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \375\Email from Peter Velz, Media Monitor, White House, to DL-WHO-
Press, et al. (Sept. 27, 2012, 10:15 AM) (on file with the Committee, 
C05415305).

    Upon seeing the article that morning, McDonough forwarded 
it to Robert Cardillo, Deputy Director, Office of the Director 
of National Intelligence, Morell, and John Brennan, 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Counterterrorism Advisor to the President. McDonough wrote:

        Hey, guys,

        This is the third report making this assertion. Is this 
        correct?

        Thanks,

        Denis\376\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \376\Email from Mr.McDonough, to Mr. Cardillo and Mr. Morell (Sept. 
27, 2012, 10:57 AM) (on file with the Committee, C05415305).

    Cardillo responded, including Olsen and Nick Rasmussen, 
Deputy Director, National Counterterrorism Center. Cardillo 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
wrote:

        I am fairly sure the answer is `no.' And I've asked 
        Matt and Nick to lay out on a timeline the evolution of 
        our IC assessments from 12 September on. They're on cc 
        so I'll ask when that can be ready. Robert.\377\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \377\Email from Mr. Cardillo to Mr. McDonough, et al. (Sept. 27, 
2012, 11:23 AM) (on file with the Committee, C05415305).

    It is unclear which assertion McDonough and Cardillo were 
referring to, although Olsen told the Committee he believed 
from the beginning the assault on the U.S. facilities in 
Benghazi was a terrorist attack,\378\ and Morell testified that 
``[i]n the minds of the [CIA] analysts from the get-go, this 
was a terrorist attack, and I think that is reflected in what 
they wrote.''\379\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \378\Olsen Testimony at 100.
    \379\Morell Testimony at 74.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Olsen responded to the email, writing:

        All-

        As Robert suggests, I think the best way to approach 
        this is to review and memorialize exactly what we were 
        saying from the onset of the attack going forward. 
        We've got a chronological catalog of all finished 
        intelligence on the attack. And we'll put together 
        today a time line summary that sets forth all key 
        points and analytic judgments as they developed from 9/
        11 through the present. Nick and I will get started on 
        the time line right away.

        --Matt\380\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \380\Email from Mr. Olsen to Mr. Cardillo, et al. (Sept. 27, 2012, 
12:12 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05415305).

    That evening, Cardillo responded. He sent his response to 
the group, but also included Turner and Rexon Ryu. Cardillo 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
wrote:

        NCTC has already made great progress in documenting the 
        chronology of what we knew and what we published. My 
        reading of that draft is that we can easily debunk Fox 
        and refute the hits on Susan's statements on Sunday, 16 
        Sep. As I read the laydown, her comments were 
        consistent with our intel assessment at that time. . . 
        .\381\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \381\Email from Mr. Cardillo to Mr. Olsen, Mr. McDonough, & Mr. 
Morell (Sept. 27, 2012, 7:47 PM) (on file with the Committee, 
C05415305).

    McDonough responded to the email, and included Rhodes in 
the email chain. In his response, McDonough included another 
article from ABC News. The title of the ABC News article was 
``Some Administration Officials Were Concerned About Initial 
White House Push Blaming Benghazi Attack on Mob, Video'' and 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
read, in part:

        Even before Defense Secretary Leon Panetta contradicted 
        the initial story about the attack on the U.S. 
        consulate in Benghazi, Libya, today, Obama 
        administration officials told ABC News they were 
        concerned after the White House began pushing the line 
        that the attack was spontaneous and not the work of 
        terrorists. . . . Panetta today said that the attack 
        that killed four Americans on the anniversary of 9/11 
        was not only carried out by terrorists--it was pre-
        meditated. . . .

        The White House first suggested the attack was 
        spontaneous--the result of an anti-Muslim video that 
        incited mobs throughout the region. . . .

        But sources told ABC News that intelligence officials 
        on the ground immediately suspected the attack was not 
        tied to the movie at all. . . .

        As of Thursday afternoon, officials from the Obama 
        administration were not even 100 percent certain that 
        the protest of the anti-Muslim film in Benghazi 
        occurred outside the U.S. diplomatic post.\382\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \382\Email from Mr. McDonough to Mr. Cardillo, Mr. Olsen, Mr. 
Rhodes, and Mr. Morell (Sept. 27, 2012, 7:49 PM) (on file with the 
Committee, C05415305).

    McDonough wrote of this article, ``The piece immediately 
below led ABC World News Tonight today. It is really 
galling.''\383\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \383\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Rhodes responded three minutes later. He wrote:

        I believe that we need something tomorrow. There is a 
        narrative that is being aggressively pushed that the 
        White House and Susan Rice deliberately misrepresented 
        facts, which is being confirmed by anonymous 
        intelligence sources and administration officials. In 
        the absence of an affirmative statement that this has 
        been an evolving set of facts guided by our increasing 
        understanding of what took place, that narrative will 
        only harden further. Already, it is a bell that is 
        going to be very difficult to unring.\384\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \384\Email from Mr. Rhodes to Mr. McDonough, Mr. Olsen, Mr. 
Cardillo, and Mr. Morell (Sept. 27, 2012, 7:52 PM) (on file with the 
Committee, C05415305).

    In essence, Rhodes wanted to put out a statement not for 
the reason of informing the public about the updated 
intelligence assessment relating to the attacks, but to refute 
allegations Rice and the White House ``deliberately 
misrepresented facts.''\385\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \385\Email from Mr. Rhodes to Mr. McDonough, Mr. Cardillo, Mr. 
Olsen, and Mr. Morell (Sept. 27, 2012, 7:56 PM) (on file with the 
Committee, C05415305).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Rhodes emailed the group again less than twenty minutes 
later, stating:

        Again, I believe we have a very credible case that all 
        we have done is follow the facts and inform people of 
        those facts, while prioritizing the need for 
        investigations to run their course. However, that case 
        is being lost amidst the leaks of information (correct 
        and incorrect) and uninformed assertions coming from a 
        variety of places.\386\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \386\Email from Mr. Rhodes to Mr. Cardillo, Mr. McDonough, Mr. 
Olsen, and Mr. Morell (Sept. 27, 2012, 8:15 PM) (on file with the 
Committee, C05415305).

    Two things about Rhodes' response are noteworthy. One, he 
acknowledges some of the leaks are ``correct,'' although he 
does not identify which ones; and two, he writes ``I believe we 
have a very credible case that all we have done is follow the 
facts.''\387\ ``Credible case'' is hardly a definitive, full-
throated defense of the administration's handling of the public 
explanation for the attacks in Benghazi.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \387\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The following morning Olsen emailed the group that he had 
provided a draft statement to Turner for eventual release. 
Rhodes responded, writing:

        Thank you for working this, as the most important thing 
        is having a public baseline--informed by the facts--
        that we can all point to. We are well synched up with 
        Shawn Turner as well.\388\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \388\Email from Mr. Rhodes to Mr. Cardillo, Mr. Olsen, Mr. 
McDonough, Mr. Morell (Sept. 28, 2012, 10:43 AM) (on file with the 
Committee, C05415305).

    Rhodes testified to the Committee about his recollection of 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
this statement:

        Well, my recollection is that there was an interest in 
        providing a statement that clarified our understanding 
        and the evolution of our understanding of the events in 
        Benghazi that that statement was to be prepared by the 
        intelligence community. I work with them in my 
        coordinating role as they were preparing that 
        statement.\389\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \389\Rhodes Testimony at 137.

    Rhodes' email that they are ``synched up'' with 
Turner,\390\ and his testimony that he was in his 
``coordinating role'' as the statement was prepared,\391\ 
serves as a reminder the White House played a central role in 
the drafting of this statement--a statement that, by Rhodes' 
own admission, served not to inform the public but rather to 
push back against a narrative that the White House and Rice 
deliberately misrepresented facts. The statement itself, 
however, according to Olsen, was ``speaking on behalf of the 
intelligence community at that point and not really beyond 
that.''\392\ The White House's involvement in the creation of 
the statement--through McDonough, Brennan, and Rhodes--
continues to raise questions as to who ultimately controlled 
the message regarding Benghazi coming out of not just the 
intelligence community but the executive branch as a whole.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \390\Email from Mr. Rhodes to Mr. Cardillo, Mr. Olsen, Mr. 
McDonough, Mr. Morell (Sept. 28, 2012, 10:43 AM) (on file with the 
Committee, C05415305).
    \391\Rhodes Testimony at 137.
    \392\Olsen Testimony at 117.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                             THE LANDSCAPE

    The political import of the attacks on the presidential 
campaign of 2012 is not a subject of the committee's 
investigation. Nevertheless, the House of Representatives did 
direct the Committee to investigate and study ``internal and 
public executive branch communications about the 
attacks.''\393\ It would be naive to assume this or any 
administration's public statements about a significant foreign 
policy event would be made without full awareness of the 
political effect of those statements. It is necessary to place 
the attacks and the administration's statements about them in 
context.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \393\H. Res. 567 113th Congress Section 3(a)(3).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Benghazi terrorist attacks occurred not only on the 
anniversary of the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attacks but also in 
the middle of the 2012 presidential campaign. The first 
presidential debate was 22 days away and the election was 56 
days away. The killing of a U.S. Ambassador in the line of 
duty--which had not occurred in 33 years--and three other 
Americans would inevitably become an issue in the campaign and 
even be discussed at the presidential debate on October 16, 
2012.\394\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \394\October 16, 2012 Debate Transcript, Comm'n on Presidential 
Debates (Oct. 16, 2012), http://www.debates.org/index.php?page=october-
16-2012-the-second-obama-romney-presidential-debate.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Prior to the attacks, the President and the Secretary of 
State took credit for the Administration's record in the war on 
terror, the perceived success of the intervention in Libya, and 
the toppling of its dictator, Muammar Qadhafi.\395\ Nearly four 
years had passed without a significant incident at home or 
abroad, and killing Osama bin Laden represented an historic 
victory.\396\ The President pointed to these successes in his 
campaign, including in a speech five days prior to the attacks:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \395\See, e.g., Tom Cohen, Obama makes war policy an election 
strength, CNN (Oct. 24, 2011), http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/24/politics/
obama-foreign-policy.
    \396\Id.

        In a world of new threats and new challenges, you can 
        choose leadership that has been tested and proven. Four 
        years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq: We did. I 
        promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually 
        attacked us on 9/11. We have. We've blunted the 
        Taliban's momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our 
        longest war will be over. A new tower rises above the 
        New York skyline, al-Qaeda is on the path to defeat, 
        and Osama bin Laden is dead.\397\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \397\President Barack Obama, Speech at 2012 Democratic National 
Convention (Sept. 6, 2012).

    The Benghazi attacks could certainly affect public 
perception of the administration's record in the war on terror 
and the narrative of success in Libya. Almost immediately, the 
press began asking questions about whether Benghazi represented 
a failure of the President's policies. In a press conference 
the day after the attacks, a reporter asked Carney directly: 
``Jay, is the U.S. doing something wrong policy-wise in Libya 
that brings this [the attack] on? Or is the policy fine, it's 
just this particular event?''\398\ One publication summed up 
the situation by saying, ``with the American Presidential 
election only two months away, the murder of four Americans 
serving their government overseas could be a game changer so 
far as Mr. Obama's re-election prospects are concerned.''\399\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \398\Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Jay Carney en route Las Vegas, 
NV, Office of the Press Secretary, The White House (Sept. 12, 2012), 
https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/12/press-gaggle-
press-secretary-jay-carney-en-route-las-vegas-nv-9122012.
    \399\Con Coughlin, The Murder of the US Ambassador to Libya is a 
Wake-up Call for Obama, The Daily Telegraph (Sept. 12, 2012), http://
blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/concoughlin/100180611/murder-of-us-
ambassador-is-a-wake-up-call-for-obama.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The attacks remained an issue throughout the campaign 
including at the second presidential debate where former 
Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney used the attacks to question 
the administration's Middle East policy generally:

        And this [the Benghazi attacks] calls into question the 
        president's whole policy in the Middle East. Look 
        what's happening in Syria, in Egypt, now in Libya. 
        Consider the distance between ourselves and--and 
        Israel, the president said that--that he was going to 
        put daylight between us and Israel.

        We have Iran four years closer to a nuclear bomb. 
        Syria--Syria's not just a tragedy of 30,000 civilians 
        being killed by a military, but also a strategic--
        strategically significant player for America.

        The president's policies throughout the Middle East 
        began with an apology tour and--and--and pursue a 
        strategy of leading from behind, and this strategy is 
        unraveling before our very eyes.\400\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \400\October 16, 2012 Debate Transcript, Commission on Presidential 
Debates (Oct. 16, 2012), http://www.debates.org/index.php?page=october-
16-2012-the-second-obama-romney-presidential-debate

    Shortly after this statement, the candidates and the 
moderator debated whether the President called the Benghazi 
attacks a terrorist attack from day one.\401\ The President's 
Rose Garden remarks were not his only public comments about the 
attacks on September 12. The President also taped a 60 Minutes 
interview the same day, which aired on September 23.\402\ 
During the interview the President said it was ``too early to 
tell'' when asked about his Rose Garden remarks and whether the 
attacks were terrorism.\403\ The question and the President's 
answer were not included in the broadcast version because the 
interview was edited.\404\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \401\October 16, 2012 Debate Transcript, Comm'n on Presidential 
Debates (Oct. 16, 2012), http://www.debates.org/index.php?page=october-
16-2012-the-second-obama-romney-presidential-debate; Press Release, The 
White House Office of the Press Secretary, Remarks by the President on 
the Deaths of U.S. Embassy Staff in Libya (Sept. 12, 2012), https://
www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/12/remarks-president-
deaths-us-embassy-staff-libya.
    \402\Dylan Byers & MacKenzie Weinger, CBS under fire for withhold 
Obama's Benghazi remarks, Politico (Nov. 5, 2012), http://
www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/11/cbs-under-fire-for-withholding-
obamas-benghazi-remarks-148513.
    \403\Id.
    \404\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Three days after the second debate, CBS posted additional 
portions of the 60 Minutes transcript from the interview with 
the President on September 12, 2012.\405\ The portion of the 
President refusing to call it a terrorist attack was still 
absent. It was not until November 6, 2012, two days before the 
election, when CBS finally posted publicly for the first time 
the entire transcript of the President's interview on September 
12, 2012.\406\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \405\Id.
    \406\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The President of CBS News at the time, David Rhodes, is the 
brother of Ben Rhodes, who helped prepare the President for the 
second debate.\407\ While Ben Rhodes denied to the Committee he 
talked with anybody at CBS prior to the September 23, 2012, 
airing of the President's interview, he did not know whether 
others in the White House did. Rhodes also did not testify as 
to whether or not he spoke with anybody at CBS after September 
23, 2012, regarding the posting of the transcript to CBS' 
website. He testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \407\Helene Cooper, Obama's Prep Session Goal: Don't Repeat 
Mistakes of Last Debate, N.Y. Times (Oct. 14, 2012), http://
www.nytimes.com/2012/10/15/us/politics/a-serious-debate-prep-
session-for-obama.html?_r=0.

        Q: And you may recall there was some bit of controversy 
        over the interview that was actually aired by CBS 
        because it did not include a portion of the President's 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        remarks. Do you remember that?

        A: I have a recollection that there was some 
        controversy about that, yes.

        Q: Did you or anybody else on your staff have any 
        conversations with CBS about that 60 Minutes interview?

        A: I did not excuse me, what's the in what time period 
        are you talking about?

        Q: Prior to it airing?

        A: I did not have any conversations with CBS after the 
        interview taped prior to it aired.

        Q: Did anybody on your staff?

        A: Generally, when we have interviews like that with 
        the President, the contacts with the network are 
        handled by the White House press in the communications 
        office, not the NSC.

        Q: Do you know if any of those communications actually 
        occurred?

        A: I don't know.\408\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \408\Rhodes Testimony at 118-19.

    On October 1, 2012, the Secretary of State forwarded a 
Salon article titled ``GOP's October Surprise?'' which alleged 
Romney planned to attack the President as weak on 
terrorism.\409\ Sidney Blumenthal emailed the article to the 
Secretary and took credit for it getting it ``done and 
published.''\410\ The Secretary forwarded the email to Sullivan 
with the instruction, ``Be sure Ben knows they need to be ready 
for this line of attack.'' Sullivan responded: ``Will 
do.''\411\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \409\Craig Unger, GOP's October surprise?, Salon (Oct. 1, 2012), 
http://www.salon.com/2012/10/01/gops_october_surprise.
    \410\See Email from Sidney Blumenthal to Hillary R. Clinton 
(``H''), Sec'y of State, U.S. Dep't of State (Oct. 1, 2012, 9:30 AM) 
(on file with the Committee, SCB0045545) (``Got done and published.'').
    \411\Email from Jacob J. Sullivan, Deputy Chief of Staff and Dir. 
of Policy Planning, U.S. Dep't of State, to Hillary R. Clinton (``H''), 
Sec'y of State, U.S. Dep't of State (Oct. 1, 2012, 3:37 PM) (on file 
with the Committee, SCB0045545).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The White House told the Committee they would not allow the 
Committee to ask about this email during the Committee's 
interview with Rhodes, citing executive privilege and noting 
that preparing for a debate was a ``core executive 
function.''\412\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \412\Phone Call between Office of White House Counsel and Committee 
Staff (Jan. 30, 2016).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                   MIXING INTELLIGENCE WITH POLITICS

    In the months after the Benghazi attacks, politics 
continued to play a role in assigning blame for what had 
occurred and who said what. In addition to the usual politics 
of Republicans and Democrats lobbing accusations at one 
another, however, a different, quieter, type of politics was 
taking place regarding Benghazi: internal politics. At the 
center of it all was Morell.

                               The Setup

    On November 27, 2012, amid speculation the President would 
nominate her to become the next Secretary of State, Rice 
traveled to Capitol Hill to meet with three Senators to discuss 
her September 16 appearances on the Sunday talk shows.\413\ 
Accompanying Rice to that meeting was Morell, who was at the 
time Acting Director of the CIA. Morell described why he 
attended the meeting:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \413\Ed O'Keefe, Susan Rice, CIA director meet with GOP critics on 
Libya, Wash. Post (Nov. 27, 2012), https://www.washingtonpost.com/
blogs/2chambers/wp/2012/11/27/susan-rice-cia-
director-meet-with-gop-critics-on-libya.

        Q: Can you just generally describe what the purpose of 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        that meeting was?

        A: Yes. So I got a phone call from Denis McDonough, who 
        was then the deputy national security advisor. He told 
        me that--of course I knew from the media that Susan was 
        under attack for what she had said on the Sunday shows. 
        He told me that Susan wanted to go to the Hill and have 
        conversations with her critics. He told me that the 
        President wanted me to go along with her. He made very 
        clear to me that my job in going along with her was to 
        talk about the classified analysis, to talk about the 
        talking points, and importantly, to show, to actually 
        show the Senators the consistency between the talking 
        points and the classified analysis. That's what he told 
        me my job was. And I said yes and I went.\414\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \414\Morell Testimony at 202-203.

    Morell agreed to the President's request and attended the 
meeting with Rice. In his book, however, Morell wrote: ``In 
retrospect, attending the meeting was a mistake. The meeting 
was inherently political, and by attending, I inserted myself 
into a political issue . . . That is not where an intelligence 
officer should be.''\415\ Morell told the Committee:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \415\Morell, supra note 114, at 235.

        Q: Did you think your presence there was requested to 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        insulate or protect Susan Rice in any way?

        A: I think my--I think my presence there was to show 
        that what she said, right, about Benghazi was 
        consistent, right, at least the protest, spontaneity 
        part, right, was consistent with what the analysts 
        really believed.

        Q: I guess what I'm trying to get at it, do you think 
        in any way--I mean you're a career analyst, you're 
        known or so I've heard you're known around the 
        community as a very straight shooting, as a straight 
        shooter, you call it like you see it. So the fact that 
        you were accompanying her--did you know if the 
        Secretary of State at that point had announced that she 
        was going to step down? Do you know if Susan Rice at 
        that point----

        A: Yes, I believe so, right? I believe that was the 
        whole point--in fact, that is what Denis said, right, 
        her possible nomination to be Secretary of State was at 
        risk, absolutely.

        Q: --So it was a very inherently political meeting----

        A: Yes, it was.

        Q: --that you were inserting yourself or that you had 
        been asked to--it was a very inherently political 
        meeting that you had been asked to attend.

        A: Yes. But, again, I didn't realize it at the time. I 
        really didn't. I didn't know I was walking myself into 
        this political setting.\416\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \416\Morell Testimony at 205-206.

    In addition to explaining to the Senators how Rice's 
comments on the Sunday shows aligned with the intelligence at 
the time, Morell's attendance at the meeting served another 
purpose--it kept him at the forefront of the controversy 
surrounding the Benghazi talking points. While Rice was the 
administration's representative on the Sunday talk shows, 
Morell was the individual who edited the CIA talking points 
Rice says she relied on.\417\ Having public criticism targeted 
towards Morell, a career intelligence official, instead of 
Rice, a political appointee in a politically charged 
environment, could be beneficial for a potential Secretary of 
State nominee.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \417\See, e.g., HPSCI White Paper Talking Points for Use with the 
Media at 63 (Sept. 14, 2012), https://assets.documentcloud.org/
documents/701145/white-house-e-mails-on-benghazi-talking-points.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                             The Execution

    In late 2012, Morell directed two internal CIA reviews take 
place regarding the talking points. One review, called the 
Analytic Line Review, went through each piece of CIA analysis 
after the Benghazi attacks to determine how strong the 
supporting evidence was for each of the analytic 
assessments.\418\ The second review was about ``Lessons 
Learned'' from the internal process of creating the talking 
points for HPSCI.\419\Morell wanted to send these two internal 
reviews to Congress.\420\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \418\Analytic Line Review, supra note 362.
    \419\Lessons Learned, supra note 189.
    \420\Morell Testimony at 208.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Morell sent only the Analytic Line Review to Congress, 
which was completed in January 2013. The White House would not 
allow him to send the other document--containing drafts of the 
talking points and the process through which they were 
drafted--to Congress, ``citing executive privilege.''\421\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \421\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    On March 19, 2013, Robert S. Litt, General Counsel, Office 
of the Director of National Intelligence, testified before 
HPSCI.\422\ At the hearing, Litt provided the HPSCI Members two 
packages of documents: one was a small package that contained 
each draft version of the talking points, showing which changes 
had been made from draft to draft; the other was a large 
package of roughly 100 pages that contained interagency emails 
regarding the drafting of the talking points. These documents 
were shared with the HPSCI Members, yet Litt claimed they were 
so sensitive that he took them back at the end of the 
briefing;\423\ Members therefore would be unable to keep the 
documents or make any copies.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \422\Briefing--The Hon. Robert S. Litt (Benghazi Documents), 
Hearing Before the H. Permanent Select Comm. on Intelligence, 113th 
Cong. (2013).
    \423\Id. at 4.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Two months later, on May 15, 2013, however, everything 
changed. The White House decided to release 100 pages of emails 
related to the talking points.\424\ These were the same emails 
Litt had provided to HPSCI two months prior yet took back at 
the end of the hearing. In conjunction with the release, the 
White House asked Morell to brief the press on the evolution of 
the talking points. Just as he had when he accompanied Rice to 
the November 2012 meeting, Morell complied.\425\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \424\Jake Tapper, et al., White House releases Benghazi e-mails, 
CNN (May 16, 2013), http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/15/politics/benghazi-
emails.
    \425\Morell, supra note 114, at 207.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Morell talked to the Committee about the White House's 
decision to release these emails:

        Q: And so the fact that you were forbidden from sharing 
        an assessment with Congress over the possibility of 
        executive privilege and then all of a sudden the 
        documents were released publicly, did that seem to you 
        to be a pretty large turnaround?

        A: So, you know, I don't remember, I simply don't 
        remember why, you know, why the shift, right, why all 
        of a sudden the administration decided to release these 
        publicly. I don't remember being part of those 
        discussions. I don't recall being part of those 
        discussions. So I don't know why they decided all of a 
        sudden to do it.

        Q: Do you think it might have been politically 
        beneficial for them to all of a sudden release those 
        documents?

        A: I think--I think--I'm speculating, now, okay, so 
        speculating--I think that the criticism kept going up 
        and up. The different theories about what was going on 
        kept on expanding right, and the White House wanted to 
        put that to rest by putting it all out there. That's my 
        guess.

        Q: Did they put it all out there when they released 
        those talking points?

        A: Not in my view.

        Q: Can you elaborate on that?

        A: Sure. So 2014, mid-2014, I open the newspaper and I 
        see Ben Rhodes' talking points from the 15th of 
        September, right, designed to prep Susan Rice for her 
        Sunday shows. And I say to myself, I have not seen 
        these things before. When I saw them in the media in 
        mid-2014 it was the first time I ever saw them.\426\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \426\Id. at 208-09.

    The decision by the White House to release the talking 
points pertaining to HPSCI and not the talking points drafted 
by Rhodes had one major effect: it kept the spotlight on 
Morell--who became front and center of this release by briefing 
the press at the request of the White House--the CIA, and their 
role in shaping the talking points. It also kept the spotlight 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
away from others. Morell acknowledged this in his testimony:

        Q: And you said you feel that they should have been 
        released with the package of the CIA talking points. 
        What are the implications that they were not released 
        with the talking points, the package, and they're 
        coming out a year later? What does that mean?

        A: I don't know, right, I don't know, the 
        counterfactual is hard to think through. I believe--I'm 
        speculating now, okay--I believe there would have been 
        less attention on CIA and more attention on the White 
        House.\427\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \427\Id. at 217.

    Around the same time, Morell lobbied the White House to 
release video footage of the attack from the State Department 
compound in Benghazi. Morell, aware of the public debate over 
whether or not protests had occurred prior to attack, wanted 
the footage released to provide transparency to the American 
people so they could judge for themselves what had transpired 
and quell the political firestorm. After all, it was after a 
description of this video footage was shared with the CIA that 
CIA personnel began to definitively conclude no protest had 
occurred.\428\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \428\Email from [Tripoli [redacted text]] to [Near East Division] 
(Sept. 18, 2012, 1:14 PM) (``I know that we all agree as time has 
passed the pieces are starting to unravel particularly where there was 
protests earlier that day--I think we can officially say now that there 
were none.'') (on file with CIA, REQUEST 1-002940 to REQUEST 1-002943).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition to Morell, James Clapper, Director, Office of 
the Director of National Intelligence, also wanted the 
surveillance tapes to be made public. The White House refused, 
however, and to this day, the tapes remain classified. Morell 
told the Committee:

        Q: So you had seen the videos of the TMF, you had seen 
        NCTC analysis of the videos. Did you want those videos 
        to be released as well?

        A: I did, I did.

        Q: And was there anybody who agreed with you that those 
        videos should be declassified and released?

        A: Yes, the DNI agreed with me.

        Q: The DNI. When you say DNI, you're talking about DNI 
        Clapper?

        A: Yes.

        Q: Were those videos released?

        A: No.

        Q: Why did you want those videos released?

        A: Because look, my view, not only strongly today 
        because of all of this, but even at the time, my view 
        is when there's--when there are questions about--when 
        there are questions about what was done on a particular 
        issue, particularly when there's questions of 
        impropriety, the best thing to do is to get everything 
        out, the best thing to do is to get all the information 
        you can out. Let the American people see it all and let 
        the American people decide.

        You know, I thought the video--the NCTC analysis told 
        the story of what actually happened that night and I 
        thought the American people deserved to see it.

        Q: And who prevented the video from being publicly 
        released?

        A: The White House--the White House never responded to 
        the DNI and my repeated suggestions that it be 
        released.

        Q: So you were acting director of the CIA at the time?

        A: Uh-huh.

        Q: And Mr. Clapper was the director for national 
        intelligence. And you two repeatedly pushed the White 
        House to release this video?

        A: Yes.

        Q: And they did not.

        A: Correct.

        Q: And instead they released the package, so to speak, 
        they released the package----

        A: I don't remember the timing of our suggestion, 
        right? But, yes, you're absolutely right.

        Q: So they released the package and at the time they 
        released the package they did not release [the Ben 
        Rhodes talking points], which is----

        A: The video.

        Q: They did not release the video.

        A: And they did not release [the Ben Rhodes talking 
        points].\429\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \429\Morell Testimony at 210-11.

                              The Fallout

    On April 17, 2014, the Rhodes talking points--which, in 
addition to the talking points provided to HPSCI and edited by 
Morell, were used by Rice to prepare for the Sunday talk 
shows--were released to Congress.\430\ Later that month, the 
talking points became publicized for the first time.\431\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \430\Letter from Thomas B. Gibbons, Acting Ass't Sec'y of 
Legislative Affairs, U.S. Dep't of State, to Rep. Darrell Issa, 
Chairman, House Committee on Oversight and Gov. Reform, U.S. House of 
Representatives (May 20, 2013) (on file with the Committee).
    \431\Press Release, Judicial Watch, Benghazi Documents Point to 
White House on Misleading Talking Points (Apr. 29, 2014), http://
www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-
benghazi-documents-point-white-house-misleading-talking-points.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Around the time of the November 27, 2012 meeting between 
Rice and the three Senators, Lieberman said of Ambassador Rice:

        I asked if she was briefed by the White House, the 
        campaign, or the political operation, and she said she 
        had seen no message points from the White House.''\432\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \432\Ed O'Keefe, Susan Rice, CIA director meet with GOP critics on 
Libya, Wash. Post (Nov. 27, 2012), https://www.washingtonpost.com/
blogs/2chambers/wp/2012/11/27/susan-rice-cia-
director-meet-with-gop-critics-on-libya.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As discussed above, Rice testified she only relied on the 
talking points provided to HPSCI when discussing Benghazi on 
the talk shows.\433\ Rhodes, however, conceded the third bullet 
point in his talking points--``to show the U.S. would be 
resolute in bringing to justice people who harm Americans, and 
standing steadfast through these protests''--applied only to 
Libya.\434\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \433\Krishnadev Calamur, Susan Rice Says Benghazi Claims Were Based 
On Information From Intelligence, NPR (Nov. 21, 2012), http://
www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2012/11/21/165686269/susan-rice-says-
benghazi-claims-were-based-on-information-from-intelligence.
    \434\Rhodes Testimony at 78.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Morell said he first learned about Rhodes' talking points 
when he opened the newspaper. Morell, an intelligence officer 
for over three decades, also believed the talking points 
related to Benghazi. He told the Committee:

        Q: Okay. So let me take that first statement. You 
        thought that these were related to Benghazi. I'm just 
        reading through it here on the first page, I don't see 
        Benghazi listed. Why do you think that they were 
        related to Benghazi?

        A: Two reasons. One is Benghazi was what was on 
        everyone's mind at the time. Benghazi had just 
        happened, right, the previous Tuesday. This was the 
        following Sunday, right, it was the kind of top-of-the-
        list issue. And two, the--there is a tick in here--let 
        me find it--so the third tick under ``goals,'' third 
        tick under ``goals'' says: ``To show that we will be 
        resolute in bringing people to harm Americans to 
        justice.'' That only happened in one place.

        Q: And that was in Benghazi?

        A: Yes.\435\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \435\Morell Testimony at 216-217.

    After learning of the existence of these talking points, 
Morell became bothered that Rhodes, a member of the National 
Security Council staff, had drafted what Morell viewed as a 
political document. Morell believes there should be a bright 
line between national security and politics, and he views the 
talking points drafted by Rhodes crossed that line. Morell 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
testified:

        Q: Aside from the release of these talking points and 
        the release of the package, is there anything in, at 
        least under the goals and the top-lines, is there 
        anything about this document that makes you 
        uncomfortable as a CIA officer and career analyst?

        A: Yeah. So, as you know, I'm on the record on this, so 
        the second goal, the second goal bothers me in two 
        ways. The first way it bothers me is that it has a 
        feeling of being political. It has a feeling of being 
        political, right? Blame it on this, not on that, right? 
        Just that concept of blame it on this and blame it on 
        that, not don't blame it on that, has a feeling of 
        being political to me.

        Q: Ben Rhodes worked at the White House?

        A: Yes.

        Q: So what's the problem if he writes something that--
        --

        A: Because Ben is on the National Security Council 
        staff, right, and I believe, right, and there might be 
        different views out there, but I believe, as a 33-year 
        national security professional, that there should be a 
        very, very sharp line between national security and 
        politics. And I know that's not always the case, but 
        that's what I believe, right? And I believe that that 
        line was crossed here. That is a personal opinion, 
        right?

        The second thing, right, the second thing I don't like 
        about that is the line, ``not a broader failure of 
        policy.'' The President himself is on the record as 
        saying that he has deep regrets about Libya. We all 
        have deep regrets about Libya. And I talked earlier 
        about the regrets that I have about what the 
        intelligence community should have written prior to the 
        intervention. There are policymakers have regrets about 
        what we did and didn't do in Libya, right, and the loss 
        of stability there.

        And so, you know, I don't think ``and not a broader 
        failure of policy'' is correct as it relates to 
        Benghazi, as it relates to Libya. You can have a debate 
        about the rest of the region, but as it relates to 
        Libya and Benghazi I don't think that's right.\436\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \436\Id. at 218-19.

    When asked about his central role in all of these events--
the meeting with Rice at the White House's request, briefing 
the press at the White House's request after the release of the 
drafts of the HPSCI talking points, and being in the dark for 
nearly two years about the Rhodes talking points--Morell 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
testified:

        Q: So we talked earlier about the meeting you had with 
        Senators McCain, Graham, Ayotte. We talked about how 
        the--at Denis McDonough's request, perhaps the 
        President's request, we talked about how you briefed 
        media members when the package was released. You have 
        been beaten up for a year and you briefed media members 
        at the request of the White House, is what I believe 
        you said. Did you feel in any way used by the White 
        House when you discovered that these talking points 
        also existed and you were completely kept in the dark 
        until the public found out about them?

        A: Look, I wish I would have known about them, okay, I 
        wish I would have known about them.\437\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \437\Id. at 222-23.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                         THE FBI INVESTIGATION

    Throughout the days and weeks after the attacks in 
Benghazi, administration officials used the pending FBI 
investigation as both a sword and a shield. When convenient, 
officials such as Rice and Carney made reference to the 
FBI.\438\ When inconvenient, administration officials cited the 
ongoing FBI investigation as the reason they could not discuss 
certain m