Imagine if this had come out before the US electionan independent inquiry has slammed the State Department for the lack of security that led to four American deaths, including that of the US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens (above).
In a scathing assessment, the review cited "leadership and management" deficiencies at two department offices, poor coordination among officials and "real confusion" in Washington and in the field over who had the responsibility, and the power, to make decisions that involved policy and security concerns.
The report's harsh assessment seemed likely to tarnish the four-year tenure of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said in a letter accompanying the review that she would adopt all of its recommendations.
"Systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department ... resulted in a special mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place," said the unclassified version of the report by the official "Accountability Review Board."
The board specifically faulted the department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, the regional office which is responsible for the Middle East and North Africa, and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, its law enforcement and security arm.
The five-member board said US intelligence provided no "specific tactical warning" of the attack and that there was "little understanding of militias in Benghazi and the threat they posed to US interests" in the eastern Libyan city, where the central government has little influence.
The report faulted as "misplaced" the mission's dependence for security support on the "armed but poorly skilled" Libyan February 17 Martyrs' Brigade militia members and unarmed guards hired by State Department contractor Blue Mountain Libya.
No Blue Mountain guards were outside the compound immediately before the attack to provide early warning, which was their responsibility. The report raised the possibility that Blue Mountain guards left the "pedestrian gate open after initially seeing the attackers and fleeing the vicinity. They had left the gate unlatched before."
The board found little evidence that the February 17 guards alerted Americans to the attack or swiftly summoned more militia members to help once it was under way. There had been questions of reliability in the weeks preceding the attack.
"At the time of Ambassador Stevens' visit, February 17 militia members had stopped accompanying special mission vehicle movements in protest over salary and working hours," the report said.
The board recommended that the State Department create a new, senior position to oversee security at "high threat" posts, to strengthen security at such posts beyond what is usually provided by host governments, and to consult outside experts on "best practices" for operating in dangerous environments.
The department should also hire more security personnel at dangerous posts, ensure key policy and security staff serve there for at least a year and consider making it easier to punish those who perform poorly in future security incidents.Have you ever been to an Israeli diplomatic installation outside Israel? I have. In New York and in Boston. Additionally, there is similar security at many Jewish community institutions throughout Europe (I've been to them in Vienna, Madrid and Paris off the top of my head). The security is all run by Israelis - no locals. You have to be admitted to an anteroom through one secure door, and that door has to close completely before the door that actually lets you into the building opens. Maybe the US will acknowledge reality and adopt similar measures now. Don't bet on it with Obama in charge. And notice once again that the buck stops at Hillary.
And for those of you who still believe the White House's story that Benghazi started as a demonstration against a movie about Mohamed....
Republican lawmakers had blasted [Susan] Rice for comments she made on several television talk shows in the aftermath of the attack in which she said preliminary information suggested the assault was the result of protests against an anti-Muslim video made in California rather than a premeditated strike.
The review, however, concluded that no protest took place before the attack. Rice has said she was relying on talking points drawn up by US intelligence officials.But hey - the election is over so who the hell cares anymore?