The unclassified portion of the Accountability Review Board’s report on the terrorist attack in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other diplomats on Sept. 11 was released late Tuesday evening.
The findings slammed the State Department for “systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” which left security measures in place that were “inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place,” reported the Associated Press. However, the report concluded, “that no individual official ignored or violated their duties and recommended no disciplinary action,” though it added, “poor performance by senior managers should be grounds for disciplinary recommendations in the future.”
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton was required by law to convene the board that was tasked with examining the facts and circumstances surrounding events in Benghazi before and during the attacks and to make recommendations to the State Department on how to improve security and prevent future attacks.
Ultimately, the report concluded what we already knew; there was no protest over a YouTube video outside the consulate. The board found that while there were no specific threats on that day, previous incidents in Benghazi “should have set off warning bells,” reported the Huffington Post.
According to CNN, the board determined the Bureau of Diplomatic Security had inadequate staff “despite repeated requests from Special Mission Benghazi and Embassy Tripoli for additional staffing.” It added there was a “‘lack of transparency, responsiveness, and leadership’ at the senior levels in Washington, Tripoli and Benghazi,” and discussed the “inexperienced U.S. personnel” and “poorly trained” Libyan forces who helped provide security at the Consulate. The report also pointed out that budget cuts led to “savings over security” which ultimately left the Consulate vulnerable to such attacks.
The board commended the courageousness of U.S. personnel on the ground in Benghazi that day, and addressed the question of why our military wasn’t called in saying, “There was simply not enough time for armed U.S. military assets to have made a difference.”
Sec. Clinton said she accepted all 29 recommendations the board made to “improve security at high-threat embassies and consulates,” and added the State Department has “already begun to implement some of the recommendations,” reported the AP.
Both the chairman of the review board, former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and the vice-chairman, former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will present their findings privately to the House and Senate committees on foreign affairs sometime on Wednesday. On Thursday, two of Clinton’s deputies will appear in her place in public sessions before the same House and Senate committees. Clinton is unable to testify at this time due to a concussion and stomach virus she is recovering from.
You can read the Accountability Review Board’s report and Sec. Clinton’s letter to Congress regarding the report HERE.