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Benghazi committee runs its course and ends operations

WASHINGTON — The Republican-led special panel of lawmakers created to investigate the Benghazi attack and Hillary Clinton’s role in it has officially run its course and ceased operations.

The House Select Committee on Benghazi became a political lightning rod and polarized Congress on heavily partisan lines.

Led by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, the panel spent several million dollars investigating the terror attacks that killed four Americans in September 2012. It submitted its official final report into the Congressional Record last week, revealing little that hadn’t been disclosed in a more than 800-page report in June. The findings painted a picture of a perfect storm of bureaucratic inertia, rapidly worsening security in Libya and inadequate resources in the months that led up to the killings of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three colleagues.

The report contained no bombshell revelations, nor any new evidence of wrongdoing by Clinton, but it does fault the Obama administration for security lapses.

The committee’s work reached its crescendo when it grilled former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the middle of the Democratic primary. Clinton and her campaign portrayed the committee’s work as political and not merely a fact-finding mission, a characterization bolstered by a comment by House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, who in one television interview took credit on behalf of the committee for her falling poll numbers.

The panel ends a few weeks before the 115th Congress is set to be sworn in.