Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Government Report Blames State Department For Benghazi Failures

The blame for the security failures that led to the assassination of Ambassador Chris Stevens and two other Americans during a terrorist attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya rests with the State Department according to a newly-released government Accountability Review Board report. Despite "systematic management and leadership deficiencies" at the State Department that led to "grossly" inadequate security at the facility, the report recommends that no disciplinary action be taken against any State Department official. The report also confirms that the Obama administration's initial claims that there were protests taking place outside the consulate in response to an anti-Muslim YouTube video were untrue.
The report 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 failures, 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.
The report appeared to break 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.
But it confirmed that contrary to initial accounts, there was no protest outside the consulate and said responsibility for the incident rested entirely with the terrorists who attacked the mission . . .
The review board 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 . . .

The report refutes claims that the government denied requests from officials in Benghazi for assistance in repelling the attack on September 11. It doesn't explain how officials in Washington who were watching live video feed from security cameras placed around the compound came to the conclusion that no military assistance was required there.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was originally scheduled to testify before Congress this week, but she will not appear now due to illness. She canceled a number of events starting last week, complaining of a stomach virus. This week, reports claimed she suffered a concussion from a fall following a fainting spell.

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