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IG report blasts State Dept.; security remains inadequate

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The government’s chief watchdog blasted the U.S. Department of State for failing to set up adequate security procedures at high-risk diplomatic outposts after the deadly terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

“The Department of State has neither a conceptual framework nor a process for risk management,” the State Department’s Inspector General reported Wednesday, according to The Daily Caller. “There is no one person or office specifically tasked to oversee the assessment of risks in critical, high-threat locales and weigh those risks against … policy priorities to determine if the strategic value of the program outweighs the associated risks.”

The report criticized the State Department for its failure to implement the Benghazi Accountability Review Board’s recommendations to tighten security for the 27 diplomatic posts designated “high-threat.” The board was chaired by former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and vice chaired by Adm. Mike Mullen.

The relaxation of security in Benghazi in the months leading up to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack went against the recommendations of personnel serving there, and is still the subject of debate. So far, no one has been held accountable.

“The Department’s actions to date do not comply with this recommendation,” the report states. “The Benghazi ARB specifically tasked the Department to identify minimum security standards for occupancy in high-risk, high-threat environments. … [The current standards] do not establish minimum security standards for occupancy or address requirements beyond construction standards.”

Another bone of contention has been the membership of the Accountability Review Board, hand-picked by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Daily Caller reported:

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and other Republican lawmakers had previously questioned the Benghazi ARB’s political independence, charging that it had failed to hold high-level State Department officials accountable for their failures.

But the inspector general’s office ultimately gave the board a pass. “The Accountability Review Board process operates as intended — independently and without bias — to identify vulnerabilities in the Department of State’s security programs,” the investigators alleged.

“The idea that the ARB wasn’t biased is laughable,” Tom Fitton, president of the government accountability group Judicial Watch, told The Daily Caller. “There is inherent bias in who investigators choose to question — and, incredibly, the ARB didn’t question Hillary Clinton [the very person who appointed the ARB board members].”

If the Department of State continues to drag its feet in managing security risks at foreign diplomatic missions, it’s only a matter of time before the United States experiences yet another Benghazi.

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