Senate Probers: Stevens Didn't Have to Die in Benghazi


The second attack targeted the Annex at midnight as the CIA operatives battled their way back to their base with Smith's remains and the DS agents, but without the missing ambassador, whose body was later located at a hospital. At 5:15 a.m., after seven more U.S. armed operators had arrived from Tripoli, a mortar attack struck the Annex, killing Doherty and Woods and wounding two other officials. Accurate mortar fire like that can only be conducted by trained operators who likely already had grid coordinates, according to ABC News military sources.

"The mortar fire was particularly accurate, demonstrating a lethal capability and sophistication that changed the dynamic on the ground that night," the Senate investigation found.

The much-debated CIA talking points given to lawmakers the day after the attacks were "flawed but mostly accurate," the Senate report determined. They were heavily edited by the administration but it was the CIA that removed references to al Qaeda to protect sources and methods. The committee implied that then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice went too far in her own comments on Sunday talk shows about the video protest allegation based partially on what the Senate report calls "erroneous" analysis by some intelligence officials who had little to go on and leaped to conclusions they couldn't back up with hard evidence.

"This committee faced significant resistance from the Administration in getting access to the emails and documentation" later made public in redacted form, the Senate report added.

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