EDITOR’S NOTE: This guest editorial is from the MetroWest Daily News & Milford Daily News, sister papers of the Daily News from Massachusetts with GateHouse Media.

The eighth investigation of the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi ended like all the many investigations targeting Hillary Clinton over more than two decades. Millions in taxpayer dollars were spent with next to nothing accomplished.

The latest House probe, led by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-SC, was transparently political and partisan. Democrats on the committee weren’t even allowed to see the report before its release to the press. The Gowdy committee’s report found fault, notably with the Defense Department and the CIA, but generated little new information — despite spending two years and $7.1 million.

The sad and rarely spoken truth is that the person ultimately responsible for a U.S. ambassador’s security is the ambassador himself. Ambassador Chris Stevens knew Benghazi was dangerous and that security was inadequate. He had years of experience serving in global hotspots and had taken chances before with his personal safety. He should have stayed at the embassy in Tripoli, which was better protected; going to Benghazi was his decision.

His family understands this truth. “The Benghazi Mission was understaffed,” Stevens’ sister, Dr. Anne Stevens, told the New Yorker. “Chris knew that. It wasn’t a secret to him. He decided to take the risk to go there. It is not something they did to him. It is something he took on himself.”

But there is a smoking gun in Benghazi, several of them, in fact. They were in the hands of the Libyan rebels who stormed the consulate and murdered four Americans. Laying the blame for those murders on the Secretary of State is obscene.

Such smears are nothing new for Clinton. Her political enemies have recklessly tossed libels and conspiracy theories at her since her husband first ran for president. In each case, her accusers demanded ever more information and Clinton often resisted. Her defensive secrecy seemed to validate the accusations, and over time, millions of Americans concluded that with so much smoke, there must be a fire.

All the smoke blown by her adversaries has left a scent of untrustworthiness around Clinton she can’t seem to shake. It’s not fair, but that’s politics.