“On September 11, 2012 America lost four patriots, and in the Navy SEALS we lost two brothers. This tribute is long overdue. Honoring Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods with Congressional Gold Medals should not be about politics; it’s about paying respect and homage to American patriots who served our nation honorably in some of our darkest hours. I am grateful for their service to our nation and will work with Senator Markey to build a large bipartisan base of support for this bill.”
This legislation has 189 bipartisan House cosponsors, including 103 Republicans and 86 Democrats, in the 116th Congress. Its Senate companion, sponsored by Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), has 24 bipartisan Senate cosponsors, including 16 Republicans and eight Democrats.
In the 115th Congress, this legislation had 59 bipartisan cosponsors in the House, including 50 Republicans and 9 Democrats. Its Senate companion, sponsored by Sen. Markey, had 10 bipartisan Senate cosponsors (five Democrats and five Republicans) and didn't receive a committee vote.
Of Note: The attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012, was carried out by Islamic militants, marking the first time since 1979 that a U.S. Ambassador was killed in the line of duty.
A Select Committee on Benghazi was formed in the House of Representatives to investigate the attack, examine policies and decisions that preceded the attack, and make recommendations to protect U.S. personnel abroad in the future. It held several hearings, the video of which was made publicly available.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared before the Committee on October 22, 2015. In 11 hours of testimony, Clinton — who was at that point running for president — provided little new information to the committee. The hearing itself was politically charged: prior to the hearing, two Republican representatives and a former Republican staffer said the committee's investigation was political, whereas Democrats sought to defend and protect Clinton.
The committee filed its final report the day before the House adjourned for the year on December 11, 2016. In its report, the committee criticized military, CIA, and Obama administration officials for their response as the Benghazi attacks unfolded. It accused the government of incompetence at various levels, citing failure to deploy necessary military assets, CIA intelligence reports "rife with errors," and misguided security planning by the State Department.
The report also faulted President Obama, Secretary Clinton, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and others for relying on "inaccurate and poorly written" talking points drafted by Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes in media appearances. They avoided references to the attack as "terrorism" and instead blamed it on the spontaneous outgrowth of protests occurring in Cairo, Egypt in response to an anti-Islamic video.
A public information officer at the Tripoli Embassy noted in an email that the White House's messaging didn't comport with the embassy's assessment on the ground in Libya, writing: "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." Secretary Clinton was aware of the discrepancy on September 12, 2012, when according to call notes she told the prime minister of Egypt that "we know" that "the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film."
Despite that, Obama administration officials (particularly Susan Rice) continued to use the talking points blaming the video for the attack in appearances on Sunday talk shows on September 16th. In a September 25th speech to the UN General Assembly, President Obama continued to imply a relationship between the video and the attack, saying "there's no video that justifies an attack on an embassy." The following day, Press Secretary Jay Carney admitted that the president believed the Benghazi attack was a terror attack and made no mention of the video in his response to a question about it during a press briefing.
Additionally, the Benghazi investigation revealed then-Secretary Clinton's improper use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State which became a major critique of her candidacy for president in 2016.
Media:Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: "United States Marines salute during the dignified transfer ceremony for the U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, and security officers Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. 120914-D-BW835-276" by DoD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo. (Released) - http://www.defense.gov/dodcmsshare/newsphoto/2012-09/hires_120914-D-BW835-276.JPG. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)