News / USA

Kerry: Congress Shares Blame for Benghazi Security Failure

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., leads hearing about attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Capitol Hill, Dec. 20, 2012.
Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., leads hearing about attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Capitol Hill, Dec. 20, 2012.
Carla Babb
The chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations committee says Congress bears some responsibility for the mistakes leading to the deadly September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Speaking Thursday as the Senate committee questioned Deputy Secretaries of State William Burns and Thomas Nides, Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) said "gridlock and excesses" prevented Congress from properly authorizing and funding legislation. The State Department had said it lacked funding for increased security.
U.S. embassy compound following overnight attack, Benghazi, Sept. 12, 2012.U.S. embassy compound following overnight attack, Benghazi, Sept. 12, 2012.
U.S. embassy compound following overnight attack, Benghazi, Sept. 12, 2012.
U.S. embassy compound following overnight attack, Benghazi, Sept. 12, 2012.
"Adequately funding America's foreign policy objectives is not spending, it's investing in our long-term security and more often than not it saves far more expensive expenditures in dollars and lives for the conflicts that we fail to see or avoid," he said. "We need to invest in America's long-term interest in order to do the job of diplomacy in a dangerous world."
Nides noted that the department had already converted a panel's 29 recommendations into "60 specific action items," some of which would be completed by the end of this month.

Findings of the Accountability Review Board for Benghazi

  • There were no protests before the attacks.
  • Intelligence provided no specific warning of the attacks.
  • The scale and intensity of the attacks was not anticipated.
  • Systemic failures and leadership deficiencies in the State Department resulted in inadequate security.
  • The Libyan government's response to the attack was "profoundly lacking."
  • U.S. personnel in Benghazi acted with courage in a "near impossible situation."
  • There was not enough time for U.S. military assets to have made a difference.
"We get this right about 99 percent of the time. We'd like to be at 100 percent, without question," he said. "We have over 275 posts around the world, and our men and women are in danger all over the world, and we attempt to do this 100 percent."

The top State officials have asked Congress to increase funding to provide better security at high-risk embassies and consulates. Nides said all the assistance for the State Department equals less than one percent of the federal budget.
Funding vs. mismanagement
But Senator Bob Corker, a Republican, lashed out the State Department officials for focusing on funding rather than mismanagement. He pointed to a security team on the ground in Tripoli whose stay was not extended by the State Department despite an extension request and funding from the Defense Department.
"I assumed they would have traveled and been there [to Benghazi] when we had our ambassador there," he said. "I just don't understand. You talk about money, but you had 16 people there free from the Defense Department. They requested that they stay, and you denied that. I don't understand that."
The hearing comes after a report from an independent Accountability Review Board concluded that security at the U.S. mission in Benghazi was "grossly inadequate" at the time of the attack. The findings prompted a personnel shake-up at the State Department.
A State Department spokeswoman said Wednesday Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accepted Eric Boswell's decision to resign as Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security. The spokeswoman also said three other people had been "relieved of their current duties."
The Benghazi attack killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stephens. He was the first U.S. ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1988.
Clinton recovering
Clinton had been scheduled to testify Thursday before the House and Senate committees about the attack. However, she is under doctor's order to rest after becoming ill last week.
The accountability board said senior-level "systematic failures and management deficiencies" within two State Department bureaus led to the failed protection of the consulate.
The panel's recommendations include increased security at temporary facilities in high-risk areas.
The group also urged the State Department to lengthen the duty assignments for program and security personnel at high-risk posts. It said the "short-term, transitory nature" of staffing at the Benghazi mission had resulted in "diminished institutional knowledge" and lack of continuity.

You May Like

Nearly Every Job in America Mapped in Detail

A nifty map pinpoints practically every job in the United States, revealing the economic character of America’s metropolitan areas, which also helps to inform the local culture

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Mike from: Vermont
December 20, 2012 10:47 AM
The question is, do you have more Marines in Paris, Berlin, and Tokyo and Rome, places that have not been ‘hot spots’ for over 50 years, then you do in places like Benghazi and Cairo? It doesn’t take billion dollars to redeploy troops.

And since it is a simple as redeploying troops, it means the Man in charge of those troops has no clue on how to place them on the map. Which equals negligence.

A child playing the board game Risk or Ruse on the Xbox knows better than to do this. The level of incompetence is ridiculous.

by: ali baba from: new york
December 20, 2012 6:07 AM
It is blame game and point finger for who has to blame. the fact that US support the rebel and the rebel has connection of Islamic international terrorism .the genus policy maker believe Gadhafi has to go like Mubarak has to go. The outcome is a disaster .the us policy maker substitute dictator with Islamic psychopath .now they blame an f official for inadequate security measure,. They have to blame the policy maker for implementing a radical Islam form of Gov.. in addition ,the man who mastermind the attack is a Egyptian and financial times write an article .about it .he was released by the another radical from of Gov. from Egypt prison . the Egyptian authority knew that these people are psychopath and possibility to commit another terrorism attack is almost certain. they release him and plan the attack and execute it. please do not blame an official for inadequate security measure. blame the policy maker for not understanding what radical Islam is . we need president Gorge w bush to fix the problem

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs