News / Middle East

Report: Inadequate Security at US Mission in Benghazi

US Benghazi AttackUS Benghazi Attack
x
US Benghazi Attack
US Benghazi Attack
Pamela Dockins
An independent U.S. panel investigating the September 11 attack in Libya that resulted in the deaths of four Americans has concluded that security at the mission in Benghazi was "grossly inadequate."

The Accountability Review Board said senior-level "systematic failures and management deficiencies" within two State Department bureaus led to a security posture that was inadequate to deal with the terrorist attacks at the facilities in the eastern Libyan city.

The board also said the number of diplomatic security staff members in Benghazi at the time of the attack was "inadequate," in spite of repeated requests from diplomats in Libya for additional staffing.

The four Americans killed Benghazi included Ambassador Christopher Stephens, in what was the first murder of a U.S. ambassador since 1988.

Two senior board members, retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, are testifying about the findings on Wednesday. They are going before House and Senate foreign relations committees in a closed session.

State Department officials will testify, publicly, before the committees on Thursday.

Scott Stearns related video:


Panel makes recommendations

The panel listed a number of recommendations, including increased security at temporary facilities in high-risk areas.

It also urged the State Department to lengthen the duty assignments for program and security personnel at high-risk posts.

The panel said the "short-term, transitory nature" of staffing at the Benghazi mission had resulted in "diminished institutional knowledge" and a lack of continuity.

Clinton backs report

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton convened the review panel and asked it to conduct the independent investigation.

In a Tuesday statement to Congress, Clinton said she accepted "every one" of the panel's recommendations and was taking steps to ensure that they were "implemented quickly and completely."

"The Accountability Review Board report provides a clear-eyed look at serious, systematic challenges that we have already begun to fix," said Clinton.

The secretary of state said she had already launched a worldwide security review, with special emphasis on high-threat posts.

Clinton also said the State Department had begun hiring and training additional diplomatic security personnel.

Debate over response to attack

Earlier, some U.S. lawmakers expressed concern about what they called inadequate security measures at the Benghazi mission and a lack of U.S. military intervention during the deadly attack.

At a Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs briefing in November, Senator Joe Lieberman said U.S. armed forces should have been able to intervene and save lives.

"The Department of Defense, obviously, did not have personnel or assets close enough to Benghazi to bring them to the scene of the terrorist attack in a timely way so they could protect American personnel there," said Lieberman.

Meanwhile, Middle East Studies professor Stephen Zunes told VOA the panel's findings could result in disciplinary action or resignations.

"It depends on how detailed the criticism is," said Zunes, and if officials believe the Benghazi attack resulted from a broad policy failure or "was more a problem of oversight by specific individuals in specific positions."

Fallout from attack

The Benghazi attack and the initial response from President Barack Obama's administration also became a highly charged issue in the weeks leading up to Mr. Obama's November re-election.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice received heated criticism after she initially described the attack as a "spontaneous reaction" to protests near the U.S. embassy in Cairo.

At the time, anti-U.S. protests had erupted in Egypt and other locations in response to an anti-Islamic video that was produced in the United States.

Rice said she was repeating information that had been provided to her by the U.S. intelligence community.

However, ongoing Republican criticism led Rice to withdraw her name from consideration to replace Clinton as Secretary of State.

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs