Senate committee says Benghazi attacks preventable

Blame laid on State Department, intelligence community and ambassador for failing to heed warnings of terrorist activity
Associated Press
Jan 15, 2014

The Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the deadly assault on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, Wednesday, laying blame on the State Department, the intelligence community — even the late Ambassador Chris Stevens — for failing to communicate and heed warnings of terrorist activity in the area.

The highly critical report also says the U.S. military was not positioned to aid the Americans in need, though the head of Africa Command had offered military security teams that Stevens — who was killed in the attack — had rejected weeks before the attack.

It also said that in the aftermath of the attacks, U.S. analysts confused policymakers by blaming the violence on protests without enough supporting intelligence.

The 2012 Benghazi attacks have dogged the Obama administration, because then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice initially blamed the violence on mob protests over an anti-Islamic film. Al-Qaida-linked militant groups were later blamed for the attacks, first when militants overran the temporary U.S. mission on Sept. 11, 2012, and later that same night, when militants fired mortars at the nearby CIA annex where the Americans had taken shelter.

The bipartisan report may settle what has become a running political battle between Republicans, mostly in the House, who say the Obama administration has been covering up what they consider misdeed before, during and after the attack, and the administration, which says Republicans are on a political witch hunt.

Committee chairman Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, says she hopes this will put to rest conspiracy theories about the militant attacks that night. Republican vice chairman Saxby Chambliss of Georgia said the report shows despite a deteriorating security situation in Benghazi, the U.S. government did not do enough to prevent the attacks or to protect the diplomatic facility.

"The State Department should have increased its security posture more significantly in Benghazi based on the deteriorating security situation on the ground and IC threat reporting on the prior attacks against Westerners in Benghazi_including two previous incidents" at the temporary diplomatic facility that year, a summary of the report states.

The State Department said Wednesday that there have been dozens of reports, hearings and briefings on the Benghazi attack and that many of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's findings are similar to those made by the independent Benghazi Accountability Review Board, which issued a report in December 2012.

The Senate report does note that the State Department has created a new assistant secretary position for high threat posts to focus on such dangerous areas, but says the department should in the future react more quickly to security threats and only in rare instances use facilities that are inadequately protected. It said State should not rely on local security alone in countries where the host government cannot provide adequate protection.

The report notes that the State Department in 2012 had ignored its own "tripwires" set to determine when it had become too dangerous to operate in Benghazi, and continued to operate the facility there, despite a steady drumbeat of U.S. intelligence reports showing the danger was rising.

The report faults the military for being unable to help when needed. "No U.S. military resources in position to intervene in short order in Benghazi to help defend" the U.S. facilities in Benghazi, it said.

Yet it points out that Stevens had rejected additional security. The Defense Department had provided a Site Security Team in Tripoli, made up of 16 special operations personnel to provide security and other help. The State Department, according to the report, decided not to extend the team's mission in August 2012, one month before the attack. In the weeks that followed, Gen. Carter Ham, the head of Africa Command, twice asked Stevens to employ the team, and twice Stevens declined, the report said.

The report also dives into the contentious talking points issued by the intelligence community after the attacks that helped fuel Republican allegations of an Obama administration cover-up of militant links to the violence.

"Intelligence analysts inaccurately referred to the presence of a protest at the U.S. mission facility before the attack based on open source information and limited intelligence, but without sufficient intelligence or eyewitness statements to corroborate that assertion," the report said, adding that the U.S. intelligence community then took too long to correct their error, "which caused confusion and influenced the public statements of policymakers."

It also says the intelligence community should expand its mining of social media to watch for unrest, and also draw more heavily on eyewitness reporting "especially from U.S. government personnel_in the aftermath of a crisis."

The senators also take the administration to task for failing to bring the attackers to justice more than a year after the Benghazi attacks.

It says U.S. intelligence has identified several individuals responsible, but can't track them down because of limited intelligence capabilities in the region.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the committee report "largely reaffirms" the earlier findings from an independent panel. He said a number of the committee's security recommendations are also consistent with steps the State Department has already taken.

"This reinforces what other investigations have found, which is that there was not enough security to protect the four Americans who lost their lives," Carney told reporters traveling with Obama Tuesday to North Carolina.

 

Comments

Pterocarya frax...

It is hilarious to see the right wing haters call each other names. Thanks girls!

Contango

Re: "It is hilarious (snip)"

Thanks for helping to prove the old adage:

Little things amuse little minds.

SamAdams

"If you like your plan, you can keep it."

"The Affordable Care Act will decrease premiums by an average of $2,500 a year."

"If you like your doctor, you can keep him."

"If Congress won't act, I have a pen and a phone."

"...I will come down on the side of the Muslims."

"I didn't know about ______________." (Fill in the blank with any of a myriad of scandals here.)

Barack Obama is either the STUPIDEST man to ever hold office, or he's the most DIShonorable. By all accounts, while he's done some pretty braindead things, he ISN'T stupid. And that leaves...?

Contango

Re: "Mr. Stevens should have accepted the security!"

Link? Facts? Proof of your statement?

deertracker

Read the article above pooh! ^^^^^^^^^^^ yea, that one. Now slowly back away from the bottle!!!

mikeylikesit

kesslers?

mikeylikesit

personally, I like jts brown 100 proof. kinda hard to find though..

Contango

Re: "kesslers?"

Have never touched the stuff. More nonsense from deerpoop's Bizarro World.

mikeylikesit

yeah, I know. it just kinda tickled me to see him name that particular brand in the past. my grandfather loved that stuff.

deertracker

WTF ever pooh!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Nope and never have I expected him to do it himself, that is unreasonable. I enjoy working in the realm of reason after all. What I would like to know is what happened? What examples of leadership can we take from when he was told what happened until something was done to address it? How can I learn to be a better crisis manager if he can't give up his secrets?

grumpy

You do know your snark and irony have flown way over his head. But it is appreciated by the rest of us. I would rate it a standing double.

Darwin's choice

+1

deertracker

-10

There you go again

Big Azz Dog,
Your comment is just plain silly and asinine. You know damn well Obma and Hillary dropped the ball on this one. Be a REAL MAN and admit it!

deertracker

So you say!

There you go again

Democrats and Obama Worshippers,
Sorry but the truth hurts some times.

Donegan

I do believe the admins interpretation of the meaning of "Transparency" Is getting in the way. They seem to think the word means "Opaque" when it comes to what happends at high level intel briefs, That or they think it means "Call up MSNBC and tell them a story about Youtube".

deertracker

Your interpretation of "transparency" means send donegan an e-mail about everything that happens in the White House everyday all day! You want all briefs and time cards of all government employees.

Donegan

It says in the report itself that the president knew within 30 minutes. All he did was catch a nap before campaigning again. Hillary knew as well from the same meeting, To which she just spent the next 6 hours trying to blame something other than what it actually was. Aren't you sick of their lies yet?

hilltop

Oh noooooo! Tell me it isn't so. We were lied to by the Democrats? Isn't there some way to blame George Bush or the Tea Party? Maybe we can blame the Green Party or the Constitutionalists - Ron Paul had to have something to do with this . . . .

deertracker

W has plenty of lies that he gets credit for.

Darwin's choice

"If you like your Dr., you can keep him..."

deertracker

"The next attack could come in the form of a mushroom cloud".

Darwin's choice

“If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it”
Washingtonpost.com
“The NSA is not abusing its power”
Washingtonpost.com
“I said benghazi was a terrorist attack from the beginning.”
Lubbockonline.com
“the foreign intelligence Surveillance court is transparent.”
Politifact.com
“First of all, I didn’t set a red line,” said Obama. “The world set a red line.”
Weeklystandard.com
nbcnews

deertracker

Those are not lies dagwood. Find any WMDs yet?

SamAdams

Not lies? Really???

How many people have had insurance cancelled? How many people have discovered their trusted doctor isn't available to them anymore? How many promises of changes in the NSA have now been made since even the most liberal of news sources have affirmed its many abuses? How many videos of the President saying he's setting a "red line" do you need to review before you grasp the fact the President said he's setting a "red line?"

If anybody's the liar here today, it's apparently YOU!

deertracker

Go lay down!!!!!!!!!!

IslandDweller

You people are delusional. Are you reading the same article that I am? The results of this report are basically the same as every other report that has been done on the tragedy which echoes the same thing that has come out of every senate hearing that they've had on the subject: there's no smoking gun, no one lied, there was no cover-up. A tragedy happened - mistakes were made and lessons were learned. From this article: "laying blame on the State Department, the intelligence community — even the late Ambassador Chris Stevens — for failing to communicate and heed warnings of terrorist activity in the area." From the 9/11 Commission Report: " In May 2001, the drumbeat of reporting grew louder with reports to top officials that "Bin Ladin public profile may presage attack" and "Bin Ladin network's plans advancing." In early May, a walk-in to the FBI claimed there was a plan to launch attacks on London, Boston, and New York. Attorney General John Ashcroft was briefed by the CIA on May 15 regarding al Qaeda generally and the current threat reporting specifically. The next day brought a report that a phone call to a U.S. embassy had warned that Bin Ladin supporters were planning an attack in the United States using "high explosives." On May 17, based on the previous day's report, the first item on the CSG's agenda was "UBL: Operation Planned in U.S."....During the spring and summer of 2001, President Bush had on several occasions asked his briefers whether any of the threats pointed to the United States. Reflecting on these questions, the CIA decided to write a briefing article summarizing its understanding of this danger. Two CIA analysts involved in preparing this briefing article believed it represented an opportunity to communicate their view that the threat of a Bin Ladin attack in the United States remained both current and serious. The result was an article in the August 6 Presidential Daily Brief titled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US.""

Even with those warnings going up the entire ladder of the US government, the 9/11 attacks still happened and 3000 innocent victims lost their lives. Many mistakes were made and many lessons were learned. What did we do after 9/11? We rallied around the president and showed a united front to the rest of the world. What did we do after Benghazi? We attacked the president, the secretary of state and even Susan Rice, who was just reporting on the briefings she was given.

Seriously, your hatred for the President of the United States is both shocking and appalling. I stopped reading these comment sections months ago because what I was reading was so disturbing. I started reading them again about a week ago hoping that things were now better. They're not.

Sandusky has really turned into the Mississippi of the north. Go watch your Duck Dynasty and Honey Boo Boo - I'm sure you'll feel right at home.

Pages