U.S. Could Have Prevented Benghazi Attack, Report Says

Multiple requests for extra security went unheeded, says Senate Intelligence Committee report

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The State Department and intelligence agencies could have prevented the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya that killed four Americans, the Senate said in a report released Wednesday.

Warnings about an attack increased in the months leading up to the Sept. 11, 2012 assault, according to the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report, which was based on thousands of intelligence reports, interviews and surveillance footage of the night’s attack. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens—who was one of the four Americans to die in the attack—and other State Department officials sent cables to the State Department in Washington D.C. recommending security teams be formed in Benghazi, the report says, but nothing was done. In the month of the attack, there were only three diplomatic security agents assigned to the Benghazi consulate.

“The State Department should have increased its security more significantly in Benghazi based on the deteriorating security situation on the ground,” the report says. A majority of committee members believed “the terrorist attacks against U.S. personnel at the Temporary Mission Facility and the Annex in Benghazi, Libya on September 11 and 12, 2012 were likely preventable based on the known security shortfalls at the U.S. mission.”

The State Department said Wednesday that it was already in the process of implementing numerous recommendations made by a task force that reviewed the Benghazi attack and its aftermath.

“This will require fundamentally reforming the organization in critical ways—work which is already well underway,” the department said in a statement. “While risk can never be completely eliminated from our diplomatic and development duties, we must always work to minimize it.”

The Obama administration was heavily criticized for its response to the Benghazi attacks, after then-Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice appeared on Sunday morning talk shows to blame the assault on protests stirred up by a YouTube video criticizing Islam. Intelligence officials said the attack was actually carried out by militants linked to al Qaeda. Republicans claim the White House deliberately covered up details about the attack for political purposes ahead of the 2012 election.

The report says a lack of coordination between intelligence agencies and the Department of Defense left the outposts unprepared for the attack, and criticized the State Department for being inattentive to security issues. The U.S. should have relied on its military forces to defend the facilities instead of local Libyan militias, it says, but no U.S. military personnel were even ready to intervene on short notice in case of an assault.

30 comments
lostintaxes
lostintaxes

A scathing Senate intelligence committee report about the Benghazi, Libya massacre says President Clinton, Hillary Clinton and the upper echelon knew immediately that this was a terrorist attack and absolutely nothing to do with some video. Ambassador U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and his three security personnel were murdered by extremists and there was a cover-up not to inform the American People that calls for assistance were virtually ignored. Of course the mainstream media now perceptive of the truth are trying to keep this supporting evidence of wholesale lies, either hidden away from the front page headlines or squashed into a narrow column next to obituaries. It seems this concealment had much to do with President Obama’s pre-2012 election account that he had al-Qaeda was falling apart. I was a fool to vote Democrat; from now I’ll vote as an Independent. I have no trust in either political party anymore. I am going to vote for members of the TEA PARTY. This is truly the PEOPLES PARTY which is splintering away from the Republican Establishment. The Tea Party is moderation in Conservatism, a grassroots movement that calls awareness to any issue which challenges the security, sovereignty, or domestic harmony of our beloved nation, the United States of America. From our founding, the Tea Party represents the voice of the true owners of the United States: WE THE PEOPLE. The Congress is immersed in corruption, except for a small measure of politicians who do not genuflect to Special Interests.

RicardoRivera
RicardoRivera

Even though it was proven that no cover up existed this fact won’t stop the GOP from continuing to use this issue for political reasons. We can’t ignore how the GOP kept on holding to this witch hunt while ignoring their duty to find out what actually happened and making sure it doesn’t happen again. The GOP will hold on to this and use it against Hillary even though she has never avoided taking responsibility. This is the 3rd witch hunt that has failed for the GOP from the fast and furious issue to the IRS issue and now the Benghazi issue. Are we going to keep on listening to a party that seems to be driven by the hate they have for the president instead of finding out the truth? Remember that the GOP thinks they lost the presidential election because, of the Benghazi story even though anyone with common sense knows the election was never going to be close.

jmac
jmac

"IIntelligence officials said the attack was actually carried out by militants linked to al Qaeda. Republicans claim the White House deliberately covered up details about the attack for political purposes ahead of the 2012 election.'


What intelligence officials report NOW as what happened.    Yes, five months later we learn it was an group "linked" to alQaeda.   A group no one -  not even the CIA - had on it's radar at that time.    So for Republicans to start yelling immediately about this   was - Republicans as usual.  


The AMericans that was there were relying on their sources and friends in Libya to warn them if an attack was imminent.   No one stepped forward to warn them.   In the meantime, Republicans still don't want to add funds for these outposts.    




bryanfred1
bryanfred1

Be interesting to hear what Hillary has to say about this.

IronBalls
IronBalls

What I find to be missing from all the reporting about Benghazi is the reason we had a presence there at all.  The country was ending a civil war at the time of the attack.  There wasn't a real Libyan government in place to interact with.  Any Americans that may have been in the country at the time knew it wasn't a good place to be.  They should have been advised that Tripoli was the only contact for expats in Libya.  Was it, is it necessary for us to have a consulate in such a place?  Looking at the State Dept web site there are such consulates all over the Mideast and multiple ones in some countries such as Iraq(!). 

From a budgetary perspective, the same can be said of friendlier places, such as the EU.  Do we really need several for every country on a small continent that is part of one union?  I say this as we have a deficit, there is the argument about the security on the ground and the logisitics of getting around the world today are considerably easier than they were in the past.  A smaller, more effiecient number of embassies and consulates would be easier to fund and have adequate security.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

And of course the GOP just cut 10% from the budget for this type of security. Remind me again about how much they care about keeping our people safe oversees?

BradFoley
BradFoley

Sorry - I still don't get why this is headline news more than a year after the event. I really don't. You put people into dangerous and confusing corners of the world on a regular basis, and it's inevitable that things will go wrong. You try and understand what happened, and try and prevent it from happening again (but guess what, it will). How many thousands died in Iraq and Afghanistan? Terrible - but inevitable if you decide to go there. How many died, and will die, in peace keeping and diplomatic missions in Africa or the Middle East over the next 20-50 years? Probably scores, at least.

The whole cover-up storyline is laughable, and has never been substantiated, depsite hundreds and hundreds of wasted hours. Get over it.  

lordofthefly
lordofthefly

Let's hope this satisfies the GOP's need to hear these findings, and that it makes people on both political sides understand the importance of securing people in harm's way.


I agree with assertions made by Bob Gates in his new book: this is the most politically-motivated White House I can recall. I was young during the Nixon presidency, but  anything Nixon did during the Watergate period does not vary extensively with what Obama is doing today. Nixon screwed what could have been an exceptional legacy because of his paranoia. It appears Obama is on the verge of doing the same. In a couple of decades the really big joke will be his Nobel Peace Prize, just weeks prior to his calling for the bloody, costly Afghan surge.

roknsteve
roknsteve

Right! And the same republicans keep cutting the budget for security.   

DanBruce
DanBruce

The Ambassador was the one who should have assessed the situation as being too dangerous.

j45ashton
j45ashton

Did Chris Stevens have the option of not going?  For political reasons politicians are obviously not asking such questions.  But how many of us would have chosen to go to a region which we knew was not properly secured, which was known to be highly dangerous, which could not be quickly and adequately defended if there were an attack.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@RicardoRivera Only way to prove there is no cover up is to have an open and fair hearing, provide the witnesses and documents requested. Stop the stonewalling. Witch hunt ? Tell that to the families who lost their loved ones. They demand justice.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@bryanfred1 She wont. She is guilty as hell like Obama. That is why they keep silent and wishes it would go away. But it wont. It will explode at a proper time.


jsfox
jsfox

@bryanfred1 Why? There is nothing really new here. And I would be more interested to hear what the Reepublicans who cut the State Department security budget have to say about it.

Yoshi
Yoshi

@mantisdragon91Now is not then. The "GOP" didn't send them there. The State department failed and those people died. Why can't they be held accountable?

La_Randy
La_Randy

@lordofthefly Gates book stated that he (Gates and the military) supported the surge and the President was hesitant and later questioned the strategy.



bryanfred1
bryanfred1

@roknsteve Pretty sure if the reason for not providing additional security were financial, we'd have heard about it by now.

La_Randy
La_Randy

@reallife Because everybody knows that talking about Benghazi is much more important than talking about a lying republican. After all the lying republican is an everyday event.

lordofthefly
lordofthefly

@DanBruce 

According to the above article, he did such an assessment and asked for more security. This was revealed during some of the early hearings.

lordofthefly
lordofthefly

@j45ashton 


You are right. Most of us would not have done it. Most of us don't have the courage and steely commitment Chris Stevens had to a mission and a life purpose. We lack the balls.

Unfortunately, we can't ask the ambassador these questions. Most people probably don't fully comprehend the commitment to the kind of service Chris Stevens did. We can all be very glib about those who serve and put themselves in harm's way - whether in the military or diplomatic service. What if everyone could choose the "No, thanks" options to tough assignments in life? Your mother might have said, "No, thanks."  She had the option. In this world there are special people, but most of us are pretty damned ordinary. Stevens was special.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@Yoshi@mantisdragon91When can we hold the people who sent our troops to die in Iraq accountable? How about the clown who left 241 marines to die in a useless mission in Beirut?

DanBruce
DanBruce

@lordofthefly @DanBruce Yet, he overrode his better judgment and went into an unsafe area anyway. I admire his dedication, but it was a mistake and has caused the administration an unnecessary amount of negative feedback fueled of course by foreign-policy-envying Republicans, such as McCain (who thinks he is knowledgeable but isn't) and Graham (little McCain who seems not to think at all).

j45ashton
j45ashton

@lordofthefly Yeah, I expected a response like this.  Couldn't resist the urge to grandstand.  I once served on a jury that heard a case about man who in the eager pursuit of his worthwhile work heedlessly tried to cross a busy street and was struck by a car.  We were told of his sterling character and the great suffering he now endured.  But when it came down to make a judgment we came to the conclusion that the decisions he made were what caused his injuries.  Chris Stevens had the option of writing to the State Dept saying that the lack of security was keeping him from doing his job properly and that he refused to go to Benghazi until adequate security was in place.  If that makes too much sense to you, I suggest you just tune into Fox news.  They'll tell you what you want to hear.  

lordofthefly
lordofthefly

@DanBruce @lordofthefly 

Mr. and Mrs. McCain are the worst.

As for putting the president in a negative situation, I am sure that if Stevens could come back from beyond the grave, he would apologize to poor Barack Obama for putting him - the living, breathing, wealthy President of the United States of America - in a pinch.Shame on Stevens for letting himself get dead so he can't take up for Obama.