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 Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.