South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday criticized a recently released House Republican report that concludes no intelligence lapses in connection with the fatal Benghazi attacks, saying congressional investigators did a “lousy job.”
“I think the report is full of crap,” Graham, a Republican, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence report released late Friday concluded the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
The report also found no wrongdoing by Obama administration officials, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.
“This report puts all the blame on the State Department and absolves the intelligence community,” Graham said.
Graham, among the most outspoken Capitol Hill lawmakers about the administration’s handling of Benghazi, also told CNN the report does not exonerate the administration.
He said the House committee is “doing a lousy job policing their own.”
Graham suggested the findings are flawed because the information was supplied by former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell and other members of the intelligence community who have already misled Congress.
The report found contradictory intelligence reports in the immediate aftermath of the attack on who carried out the strike and why.
That led Susan Rice, then-U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to inaccurately assert that the attack had evolved from a protest.
The report did not conclude that Rice or any other government official intentionally misled the American people.
Graham called those conclusions “a bunch of garbage.”
The criticism of Rice by Graham and other GOP senators for her handling of the Benghazi aftermath led Rice to withdraw from consideration for the secretary of state post.
Many of the new report's findings were similar to those in six previous investigations by congressional committees and a State Department panel. The eighth Benghazi investigation is being carried out by a House Select Committee appointed in May.
The attacks killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, foreign service officer Sean Smith, and two CIA contractors, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty. A Libyan extremist, Ahmed Abu Khatalla, is facing trial on murder charges after he was captured in Libya and taken to the U.S.
In the aftermath of the attacks, Republicans criticized the Obama administration and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is expected to run for president in 2016.
People in and out of government have alleged that a CIA response team was ordered to "stand down" after the State Department compound came under attack, that a military rescue was nixed, that officials intentionally downplayed the role of Al Qaeda figures in the attack, and that Stevens and the CIA were involved in a secret operation to spirit weapons out of Libya and into the hands of Syrian rebels.
However, the report did find that the State Department facility where Stevens and Smith were killed was not well protected and that State Department security agents knew they could not defend it from a well-armed attack.
Previous reports have found that requests for security improvements were not acted upon in Washington.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.