Senior US officials did not do enough to protect four Americans who were killed in Libya in 2012, a long-awaited congressional report has concluded. It did not, however, find any new evidence of wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton, the then US Secretary of State.
The 800-page report released on Tuesday faulted the Obama administration for lax security and a slow response to the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi which killed US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other US citizens.
The House Benghazi committee said, however, that there was no "smoking gun" pointing to wrongdoing on the part of Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee.
'Failed American policy'
The two-year report directs some of its strongest criticism at senior officials in Washington, saying requests for extra security in Benghazi were repeatedly refused or ignored.
Although no blame is laid directly at Clinton, it says the US military did not carry out orders from then Defence Secretary Leon Panetta to send US troops to rescue the Americans under attack.
It also said intelligence was available suggesting an attack was possible and Clinton and her top aides should had realised the danger.
"This was failed American policy from the beginning," Republican Congresswoman Susan Brooks said.
|Republican congressman Jim Jordan speaks at a press conference detailing the reports' findings [EPA]
The Benghazi issue has been used repeatedly by Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump on the campaign trail to attack Clinton.
During a marathon 11-hour hearing before the House Republicans committee last year, Clinton said she bore responsibility for the attack, but rejected Republican attempts to blame it on poor security precautions at the two facilities where the Americans died.
Clinton, speaking during a campaign stop in Denver, dismissed the congressional report as an echo of previous probes with no new discoveries.
"I think it's pretty clear it's time to move on," she said.
The committee's five Democrats denounced the Republicans' report as "a conspiracy theory on steroids bringing back long-debunked allegations with no credible evidence whatsoever".
Democrats released their own report saying that while the State Department's security measures in Benghazi were "woefully inadequate", Clinton never personally turned down a request for additional security.
The military could not have done anything differently that night to save the lives of the Americans, Democrats said.
Source: AP And Al Jazeera