News / USA

Republican Senators Criticize Benghazi Embassy Security

Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) speaks with reporters after a vote on Capitol Hill in Washington December 17, 2012.
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) speaks with reporters after a vote on Capitol Hill in Washington December 17, 2012.
Opposition lawmakers are criticizing the Obama administration for sending diplomats to the Libyan city of Benghazi without enough security.  It follows an independent report into the September attack on the U.S. mission there that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. 

Republican Senator Bob Corker says State Department officials knew Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team were going to Benghazi at a time of growing instability and problems with local militia who had been providing security.

"You were aware of the security risk there.  We have read the cables.  You were fully aware.  And either you send people there with security or you do not send them there," Corker said.

An independent report into the violence found "a pervasive realization among personnel who served in Benghazi that the special mission was not a high priority for Washington when it came to security."

Corker says State Department officials are stuck in the past at a time of changing threats. "What I saw in the report is a department that has sclerosis, that does not think outside of the box, that is not using the resources that it has in any sort of creative ways, is not prioritizing," he said.

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Thomas Nides says there is an ongoing worldwide review of overall security, especially where national forces are fragmented or may be weak.

"For more than 200 years, the United States, like every other country around the world, has relied on host nations to provide security for embassies and consulates," Nides stated.  "But in today's evolving threat environment, we have to take a new and harder look at the capabilities and the commitments of our hosts."

Nides says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accepts all of the report's  recommendations and is working to ensure they are acted on quickly. "We have got to learn from this," he said. "We have got to hold people accountable, which we are doing.  And we have to change processes to make sure we are getting it right."

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says Secretary Clinton has accepted the resignation of Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell.  Three other officials have been "relieved of their current duties."  Nuland did not name the other individuals.  All four had been on administrative leave.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio asked why more senior officials were not aware of security lapses in Benghazi, saying he is puzzled about the report placing a lot of blame on lower-level assistant secretaries.

"And why I find that quite puzzling is that because Benghazi, and Libya in general, is not some remote outpost.  It is not Luxembourg.  I mean this is a country that we were involved in militarily not so long ago in a high-profile intervention," Rubio stated.

Rubio says he is looking forward to Secretary Clinton answering questions about Benghazi.  She was scheduled to appear before the committee Thursday, but State Department officials say she has been ill for nearly two weeks.  Corker says Clinton's testimony must be heard.

"I think it is imperative that she come before this committee, and I think it would be really a shame to turn the page on this and go to a new regime without her being here," Corker.  So I do look forward to that happening whenever her health permits."

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair John Kerry says Clinton will appear in January.  She may have stepped down as secretary of state by then.  Kerry is the leading candidate to replace her.

You May Like

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid