Plenty of Blame To Go Around Concerning The Benghazi Attacks: Senate Report Reveals It Was a ‘Grievous Mistake’ To Keep U.S. Consulate Open Despite Security Threats

Senate report on Benghazi attack says State Department made ‘grievous mistake’ in keeping U.S. consulate open despite security threats

By Reuters Reporter

PUBLISHED: 11:52 EST, 31 December 2012 | UPDATED: 20:26 EST, 31 December 2012

The State Department’s decision to keep the U.S. mission in Benghazi open despite inadequate security and increasingly dangerous threat assessments before it was attacked in September was a ‘grievous mistake,’ a Senate report said on Monday.

The Senate Homeland Security Committee’s report about the September 11 attacks on the U.S. mission and a nearby annex, which killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, faulted intelligence agencies for not having enough focus on Libyan extremists. It also faulted the State Department for waiting for specific warnings instead of acting on security.

The assessment follows a scathing report by an independent State Department accountability review board that resulted in a top security official and three others at the department stepping down.

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ReportReport: Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., right, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speak on Monday about the committee’s report on the security deficiencies at the temporary U.S. Mission in Benghazi


Senate reviewSenate review: Copies for distribution of the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs report, ‘Flashing Red: A Special Report On The Terrorist Attack At Benghazi’

The attack, in which U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens died, has put diplomatic security practices at posts in insecure areas under scrutiny and raised questions about whether intelligence on terrorism in the region was adequate.

The Senate report said the lack of specific intelligence of an imminent threat in Benghazi ‘may reflect a failure’ in the intelligence community’s focus on terrorist groups that have weak or no operational ties to al Qaeda and its affiliates.

‘With Osama bin Laden dead and core al Qaeda weakened, a new collection of violent Islamist extremist organizations and cells have emerged in the last two to three years,’ the report said. That trend has been seen in the ‘Arab Spring’ countries undergoing political transition or military conflict, it said.

The report recommended that U.S. intelligence agencies ‘broaden and deepen their focus in Libya and beyond, on nascent violent Islamist extremist groups in the region that lack strong operational ties to core al Qaeda or its main affiliate groups.’

TragedyTragedy: Chris Stevens (in April 2011) became the U.S. ambassador to Libya in June 2012. He was killed along with three other Americans in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012

Neither the Senate report nor the unclassified accountability review board report pinned blame for the Benghazi attack on a specific group. The FBI is investigating who was behind the assaults.

President Barack Obama, in an interview on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ on Sunday, said the United States had some ‘very good leads’ about who carried out the attacks. He did not provide any details.

The Senate committee report said the State Department should not have waited for specific warnings before acting on improving security in Benghazi.

It also said that it was widely known that the post-revolution Libyan government was ‘incapable of performing its duty to protect U.S. diplomatic facilities and personnel,’ but the State Department failed to take adequate steps to fill the security gap.

‘Despite the inability of the Libyan government to fulfill its duties to secure the facility, the increasingly dangerous threat assessments, and a particularly vulnerable facility, the Department of State officials did not conclude the facility in Benghazi should be closed or temporarily shut down,’ the report said. ‘That was a grievous mistake.’

Video: Senators speak on Benghazi Report:

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Posted on January 1, 2013, in Politics, US Politics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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