When House Republicans created the Select Committee on Benghazi two years ago, tasking the panel to investigate a deadly attack that had already been thoroughly investigated by other committees, GOP activists, conspiracy theorists, pundits, and election staffers had high hopes of what Rep. Trey Gowdy's (R-S.C.) committee could accomplish.
That was quite a while ago. More than two years and $7 million later, the Republicans' Benghazi panel has wrapped up the longest congressional investigation in the history of the United States, and it couldn't avoid this lede in the New York Times.
Ending one of the longest, costliest and most bitterly partisan congressional investigations in history, the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued its final report on Tuesday, finding no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton in the 2012 attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead.
The full report, which is over 800 pages long, is online here. By all accounts, the GOP members of the panel raised a variety of criticisms and concerns, including inadequate security resources in Libya, bureaucratic inertia, and breakdowns in coordination between agencies.
Or put another way, the Select Committee on Benghazi came to the same conclusions all of the other investigations reached quite a while ago, raising questions anew about why in the world this committee was necessary in the first place.
As regular readers know, some congressional Republicans admitted the panel was a partisan exercise, which was created and sustained for purely political reasons. Committee Democrats, who released their own 339-page report yesterday, said in a press statement, "Decades in the future, historians will look back on this investigation as a case study in how not to conduct a credible investigation."
The evidence to bolster the point is overwhelming. Given the panel's abuses, the inescapable fact is clear: the Republicans' Benghazi Committee didn't investigate a scandal; the Republicans' Benghazi Committee was the scandal.