An independent panel that was created to investigate the deadly Sept. 11 attack in Libya that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans has concluded that systematic management and leadership failures at the State Department led to “grossly” inadequate security at the mission in Benghazi.
“Systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place,” the panel said.
And the report has singled out the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Bureau of Near East Affairs for criticism, saying there appeared to be a lack of cooperation and confusion over protection at the mission in Benghazi, a city in Eastern Libya that was relatively lawless after the revolution that toppled Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.
Despite those failings, the Accountability Review Board determined that no individual officials ignored or violated their duties and recommended no disciplinary action now. But it also said poor performance by senior managers should be grounds for disciplinary recommendations in the future.
Meaning: They all are going to get off, and Obama will continue to cover up what really happened.
The report broke little new ground about the timeline of the Benghazi attack during which Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens, information specialist Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods — who were contractors working for the CIA — were killed. Stevens’ slaying was the first of a U.S. ambassador since 1988.
And there was no protest outside the consulate and said responsibility for the incident rested entirely with the terrorists who attacked the mission. Proof of another Obama lie, and he’s getting away with it.
In the aftermath of the attack, administration officials linked the attack to the spreading protests over an American-made, anti-Islamic film that had begun in Cairo earlier that day. Those comments came after evidence already pointed to a distinct militant attack. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on numerous TV talk shows the Sunday after the attack and used the administration talking points linking it to the film. An ensuing brouhaha in the heat of the presidential campaign eventually led her to withdraw her name from consideration to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state in President Barack Obama’s second term.
This review board has determined that there had been no immediate, specific tactical warning of a potential attack on the 11th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. However, the report said there had been several worrisome incidents in the run-up to the attack that should have set off warning bells.
It also said t he response by Diplomatic Security agents on the scene and CIA operatives at a nearby compound that later came under attack itself had been “timely and appropriate” but absolved the military from any blame. “There was simply not enough time for armed U.S. military assets to have made a difference.”
On Tuesday the State Department sent classified version of the report to lawmakers and shortly after, released an unclassified version. The report made 29 recommendations to improve embassy security, particularly at high threat posts. In an accompanying letter to Congress, Clinton thanked the board for its “clear-eyed, serious look at serious systemic challenges” and said she accepted all the recommendations.
Clinton also stated the department had already begun to implement some of the recommendations. They include increasing by several hundred the number of Marine guards stationed at diplomatic missions throughout the world, relying less on
local security forces for protection at embassies, consulates and other offices, and increasing hiring and deployment of highly trained Diplomatic Security agents at at-risk posts.
It was also found that members of local Libyan militias provided some security around the consulate, but in the attack it became unclear whose side they were on.
“For many years the State Department has been engaged in a struggle to obtain the resources necessary to carry out its work with varying degrees of success,” it said. This has led to efficiencies but also “had the effect of conditioning a few State Department managers to favor restricting the use of resources as a general orientation.” It said the number of Diplomatic Security staff in Benghazi before andon the day of the attack “was inadequate despite repeated requests … for additional staffing.”
“The solution requires a more serious and sustained commitment from Congress to support State Department needs, which, in total, constitute a small percentage of the full national budget and that spent for national security,” it said. “Congress must do its part to meet this challenge and provide necessary resources.”
Congress has denied some funding requests from the State Department for more security.
Clinton urged Congress to support the department’s security requests, noting that “all of us … have a responsibility to provide the men and women serving this country with the best possible security and support.”
Leading the independent review was retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering and a former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen. On Thursday, the State Department’s two deputy secretaries, William Burns and Thomas Nides, will testify in open sessions before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Clinton was to have appeared at Thursday’s hearing but canceled after fainting and sustaining a concussion last week while recovering from a stomach virus that dehydrated her. Clinton is under doctors’ orders to rest.
In her letter to lawmakers, Clinton said, “We will never prevent every act of terrorism or achieve perfect security” but she stressed that “our diplomats cannot work in bunkers.”
“We must accept a level of risk to protect this country we love and to advance our interests and values around the world,” she said.