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

Donegan

Wow, Somehow it all goes back to Bush. From the summery of Benghazi
“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”
The president was then notified within 30 minutes of the attack and he promptly went to sleep got up and went to a fund raiser. Clinton on the other hand spent the next 7 hours making up a lie to sell to the public to cover up the fact that neither her or the president answered the 3 AM call. But I am sure you would re-elect him again and are seriously campaigning for Hillary hoping no one will remember that for 7 hours there was a attack on US personell while your President and Sec of State did nothing besides try to cover it up for political purposes.
The reason why no one rallied around the president for Benghazi is anyone with half a brain could see it was all a lie. Go back to keeping your head in the sand, You are a prime example of why this stuff keeps happening.

Darwin's choice

Well, since you seem at ease with what your president is doing,and has done to this country, I'll say that you're part of the problem. You won't be missed here.....

Contango

Re: "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US"

Too nebulous in nature to be of much value. What, when, where, how?

Besides: bin Laden is dead & Detroit is bankrupt.

deertracker

Well since they didn't spell it out for W, The right course of action was to do NOTHING! bin Laden is dead thanks to our brave, decisive Black leader and Detroit is bankrupt because of a black crook. Fair and balanced for ya pooh!

Contango

Re: "The right course of action was to do NOTHING!"

And our security forces were already not on alert? And you know this how?

Your pal Dog is a truther; makes it easy. To him it was an 'inside' job.

deertracker

We got attacked didn't we? Must have been asleep while on duty!

Contango

Re: "We got attacked didn't we?"

The plot began during the Clinton admin. Why didn't they put all the pieces together?

deertracker

They warned your buddy W and he did NOTHING!

Contango

Re: "They warned your buddy W and he did NOTHING!"

So the Clinton admin. TOLD the incoming Bush admin. that planes were going to be flying into the WTC on 9/11?

Only in your Bizarro fantasy land Sport.

So why aren't Pres. Clinton AND Pres. Obama out there blaming Pres. Bush for 9/11?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H...

SamAdams

Decisive? LOL! Obama was apparently offered the opportunity THREE TIMES to take out bin Laden, and it wasn't until the third (at which point the story says he was urged to do so by Valerie Jarrett) that he actually gave the go ahead. Brave? LOL! Obama couldn't even WATCH what was happening (it's been widely reported that he left the situation room to play multiple games of spades) let alone hold a candle to the men who actually carried out the mission!

deertracker

I bet you believe in unicorns too!

deertracker

@Island
Agreed!

Contango

"Britain responded by closing its diplomatic office in Benghazi and withdrawing all UK staff."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/...

"Benghazi timeline: How the attack unfolded (CBS)":

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/beng...

The warning signs were all there.

Also, these Islamists are nuts about symbolism. It was Sept. 11th for gawd's sake!

The admin. & the State Dept. shouldn't have beefed up security or withdrawn consulate staff prior to the day?

deertracker

Ambassador pooh? Who knew?

Contango

Re: "Who knew?"

Read the CBS link - the signs were all there.

So why did the Brits pull out? Why did the Red Cross pull out one yr. earlier?

The Senate report was bi-partisan. Sen. Feinstein chaired the committee.

Get over it.

deertracker

Why didn't Stevens accept the protection? The signs were all there!

Contango

Re: "Why didn't Stevens accept the protection?"

He declined protection?

Again: Links? Facts? Proof?

So Amb. Stevens killed himself and the State Dept. is blameless?

deertracker

Again: Read the above article^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^.

Contango

Re: "Gen. Carter Ham, the head of Africa Command, twice asked Stevens to employ the team, and twice Stevens declined,"

Bureaucratic protocol; stepping on the toes of Hillary.

So why didn't the State Dept. insist or withdraw the staff?

So why all the BS with the blaming of a video Sport?

Obviously Obamabots are stupid enough to believe any caca this guy throws out.

PirateBacker1975

Are you seriously implying that Ambassador Stevens declined the extra security because of bureaucratic protocol ("stepping on the toes of Hillary")? Ambassador Stevens was a seasoned veteran of foreign service and would never have endangered the lives of his staff over bureaucratic protocol!

Also, let's not forget that between 2011 and 2012 the Republican House tried to cut more than $450 million from Secretary of State Clinton's budget request for embassy security funding. Luckily, the Democratic-controlled Senate was able to restore about $88 million (that's 20% of what was requested!). So much for supporting our men and women overseas.

Contango

Re: "Are you seriously implying that Ambassador Stevens declined the extra security because of bureaucratic protocol,"

Yep.

The distrust between this admin. and the military is well known.

(The CIA operates this admin.'s drone program, NOT the Pentagon.)

If Gen. Ham thought it advisable, why would Amb. Stevens decline?

So are you blaming Amb. Stevens for his own death?

Does this admin. take any responsibility for anything negative or are 'mistakes' always somebody else's fault?

So why the BS about the video?

swiss cheese kat

Why did you vote for a failure? The signs were all there!

deertracker

The one you voted for failed because he LOST!

Peninsula Pundit

'Preventable.'
In the same context that the word is used here, the twin towers were preventable, as well.
If the regulations that were already in place at that time were followed, the twin towers were just as 'preventable' as well.
OK, cynical sages of the SR boards, try talking out the other side of your mouths for awhile. It'll give the right side of your face a rest.

Contango

Re: "the twin towers were preventable,"?

Damage was more extensive than just Towers 1 & 2.

And the Pentagon & United 93?

Idiocy.

With perfect hindsight, much is preventable.

H*ll, FDR ordered the Pacific Fleet from San Diego to Pearl Harbor.

Some 'other' conspiracy nuts blame him for the attack. Welcome to the club.

You might wanna read up on the bi-partisan 9/11 Commission.

"After releasing the report, Commission Chair Thomas Kean declared that both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were 'not well served' by the FBI and CIA."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9/1...

Now; back to the subject at hand:

So the attack wasn't prompted by a video like the POTUS repeatedly said?

swiss cheese kat

Mention the word 0-bama and the bootlickers come out to defend the failure.

Peninsula Pundit even tries to sneak Bush into it. When are you idiots gonna quit blaming Bush for all of 0-bama's failures?

Contango

Re: "blaming Bush for all of 0-bama's failures?"

As a member of the Choom Gang in Hawaii, Barry didn't want to smoke dope and snort coke but George made him do it. :)

deertracker

Nap time for you and pooh!

Contango

"Ambassador Stevens twice said no to military offers of more security, U.S. officials say":

"Both Hicks and Ham declined to comment on the exchange between Ham and Stevens.

Hicks’ lawyer, Victoria Toensing, said Hicks did not know the details of conversations between Stevens and Ham and was not aware of Stevens turning down an offer of additional security.

'As far as Mr. Hicks knows, the ambassador always wanted more security and they were both frustrated by not getting it,' she said."

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/...

swiss cheese kat

Hillary Clinton “At this point, what difference does it make?”

http://youtu.be/Ka0_nz53CcM

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