Inquiry into Benghazi: 'Grossly' inadequate security and leadership failures

Rick Moran
Tell us something we didn't know already.

Washington Post:

An independent investigation of the fatal attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Libya on Sept. 11 found that "grossly" inadequate security and reliance on local militias left U.S. diplomats and other personnel vulnerable, the State Department told Congress on Tuesday.

The review of the assault on the mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans faulted systemic failures of leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department, according to an unclassified version posted on the department's Web site Tuesday night.

The review by the Accountability Review Board said the temporary, lightly defended compound where Stevens died lacked disciplined oversight of its security operations. The diplomatic post's ad hoc nature, with inexperienced staff members working there for short periods, "resulted in diminished institutional knowledge, continuity, and mission capacity," the report said.

Finally, the report said State Department officials in Washington ignored requests from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, for additional guards and better security for the Benghazi compound, which served as a temporary U.S. consulate for eastern Libya. It also said that there had been worrisome incidents in the weeks before the attack that should have led to increased security, but the report did not identify any specific threats to the compound on Sept. 11.

The report said State Department security personnel on the scene and CIA officers at a nearby annex used as an operations base had responded in a timely and appropriate manner, and it absolved the U.S. military of any blame, saying there was not enough time for a military response that would have made any difference.

No individuals were singled out for criticism, nor was any disciplinary action recommended. The report confirmed there had been no demonstration prior to the attack.

As expected, a whitewash. A couple of minor underling's may be fired, a few tweaks made to security, and lots of money spent on additional measures to protect our diplomats.

In the meantime, what the hell happened out there?

All the timelines that have been issued - CIA, defense, state - are self-serving and are sometimes at odds with one another. The report tries to fill in a few blanks - especially regarding the militia ("February 17") that was supposed to be guarding the Special Mission Compound(SMC):

The Board found the responses by both the BML guards and February 17 to be inadequate. The Board's inquiry found little evidence that the armed February 17 guards offered any meaningful defense of the SMC, or succeeded in summoning a February 17 militia presence to assist expeditiously.

Do you know why the militia didn't respond? They were protesting against bad pay and long hours.

Although the February 17 militia had proven effective in responding to improvised explosive device (IED) attacks on the Special Mission in April and June 2012, there were some troubling indicators of its reliability in the months and weeks preceding the September attacks. At the time of Ambassador Stevens' visit, February 17 militia members had stopped accompanying Special Mission vehicle movements in protest over salary and working hours.

So whether Hillary Clinton has a concussion or not, she and the president were basically cleared by this report and her appearance tomorrow at the committee hearing wouldn't shed any light on the attack anyway.

You can read the entire unclassified report here.


Tell us something we didn't know already.

Washington Post:

An independent investigation of the fatal attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Libya on Sept. 11 found that "grossly" inadequate security and reliance on local militias left U.S. diplomats and other personnel vulnerable, the State Department told Congress on Tuesday.

The review of the assault on the mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans faulted systemic failures of leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department, according to an unclassified version posted on the department's Web site Tuesday night.

The review by the Accountability Review Board said the temporary, lightly defended compound where Stevens died lacked disciplined oversight of its security operations. The diplomatic post's ad hoc nature, with inexperienced staff members working there for short periods, "resulted in diminished institutional knowledge, continuity, and mission capacity," the report said.

Finally, the report said State Department officials in Washington ignored requests from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, for additional guards and better security for the Benghazi compound, which served as a temporary U.S. consulate for eastern Libya. It also said that there had been worrisome incidents in the weeks before the attack that should have led to increased security, but the report did not identify any specific threats to the compound on Sept. 11.

The report said State Department security personnel on the scene and CIA officers at a nearby annex used as an operations base had responded in a timely and appropriate manner, and it absolved the U.S. military of any blame, saying there was not enough time for a military response that would have made any difference.

No individuals were singled out for criticism, nor was any disciplinary action recommended. The report confirmed there had been no demonstration prior to the attack.

As expected, a whitewash. A couple of minor underling's may be fired, a few tweaks made to security, and lots of money spent on additional measures to protect our diplomats.

In the meantime, what the hell happened out there?

All the timelines that have been issued - CIA, defense, state - are self-serving and are sometimes at odds with one another. The report tries to fill in a few blanks - especially regarding the militia ("February 17") that was supposed to be guarding the Special Mission Compound(SMC):

The Board found the responses by both the BML guards and February 17 to be inadequate. The Board's inquiry found little evidence that the armed February 17 guards offered any meaningful defense of the SMC, or succeeded in summoning a February 17 militia presence to assist expeditiously.

Do you know why the militia didn't respond? They were protesting against bad pay and long hours.

Although the February 17 militia had proven effective in responding to improvised explosive device (IED) attacks on the Special Mission in April and June 2012, there were some troubling indicators of its reliability in the months and weeks preceding the September attacks. At the time of Ambassador Stevens' visit, February 17 militia members had stopped accompanying Special Mission vehicle movements in protest over salary and working hours.

So whether Hillary Clinton has a concussion or not, she and the president were basically cleared by this report and her appearance tomorrow at the committee hearing wouldn't shed any light on the attack anyway.

You can read the entire unclassified report here.