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Benghazi attack was preventable, Senate panel says

A Libyan man investigating the inside of the  U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. The Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the deadly assault on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, Wednesday, laying blame on the State Department, the late Ambassador Chris Stevens and the intelligence community for failing to communicate and heed warnings of terrorist activity in the area and protect diplomatic facilities. AP Photo

A Libyan man investigating the inside of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. The Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the deadly assault on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, Wednesday, laying blame on the State Department, the late Ambassador Chris Stevens and the intelligence community for failing to communicate and heed warnings of terrorist activity in the area and protect diplomatic facilities. AP Photo

Both highly critical and bipartisan, a Senate report declared yesterday that the deadly assault on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, could have been prevented. The account spreads blame among the State Department, the military and U.S. intelligence for missing what now seem like obvious warning signs.

For the first time in the much-politicized aftermath, the report also points at Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in the attack. It says that the State Department ended a deal with the military to have a special operations team provide extra security in Libya, and that Stevens twice refused an offer to reinstate the team in the weeks before the Sept. 11, 2012, attack.

The military also takes criticism in the report for failing to respond more quickly on the night of the assault.

On the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, armed militants stormed the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, setting the building on fire. Stevens, information technology specialist Sean Smith, and CIA security contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, both former Navy SEALs, were killed over the course of two battles that night.

Stevens died of smoke inhalation after he was taken to a “safe room” in the besieged compound. The Obama administration, reluctant to deal publicly with a terrorist attack weeks before the presidential election, first described the assault as a spontaneous mob protest of an anti-Islamic, American-made video. Such a protest did occur at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo earlier that day.

Officials corrected their description days after the attack, but by then it had become a hot political issue that has continued to dog the administration.

On that issue, the report dives into the contentious initial talking points issued by the intelligence community, which helped fuel Republican allegations of an Obama administration cover-up of militant links to the violence.

“Intelligence analysts inaccurately referred to the presence of a protest at the U.S. mission facility before the attack based on open source information and limited intelligence, but without sufficient intelligence or eyewitness statements to corroborate that assertion,” the report said, adding that U.S. intelligence then took too long to correct the error.

The senators also take the administration to task for failing to bring the attackers to justice more than a year later. They say the U.S. has identified several individuals responsible but can’t capture them because of limited intelligence capabilities in the region and limited cooperation by local governments.

Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, said she hoped the report would put to rest conspiracy theories about the attacks.

Republican Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss said the report showed that despite a deteriorating security situation in Benghazi, the U.S. government did not do enough to prevent the attacks or to protect the diplomatic facility. And Republican committee member Susan Collins of Maine called on the administration to punish those responsible.

“A broken system overseen by senior leadership contributed to the vulnerability of U.S. diplomats . . . in one of the most dangerous cities in the world,” she said in the report. “And yet the secretary of state has not held anyone responsible for the system’s failings.”

U.S. intelligence ultimately blamed the violence on militants who overran the temporary U.S. mission and, hours later, fired mortars at the nearby CIA annex where the Americans had taken shelter.

The report says the subsequent investigation showed individuals from many militant groups took part in the “opportunistic” attacks, including al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, the Libyan militia group Ansar al-Sharia, and members of the Yemeni-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

The report does not name Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time and now is a potential 2016 presidential candidate.

The State Department said the report largely reaffirms the findings reached a year ago by the Benghazi Accountability Review Board, headed by a former ambassador and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf noted that the Senate report recommended improvements to security that the State Department has already taken, including upgrading security cameras, improving fire equipment and increasing the presence of Marine security guards.

The Senate report notes that the State Department has also created a new assistant secretary position for high-threat posts, but it says the department still needs institutional change to help it react more quickly to security threats. It says the State Department should not rely on local security alone in countries where the host government cannot provide adequate protection and should avoid using diplomatic facilities it knows are inadequately protected.

The report says that the department in 2012 had ignored its own “tripwires” set to determine when it had become too dangerous to operate in Benghazi, and continued to operate the facility there despite a growing number of U.S. intelligence reports showing the danger was rising.

“The security situation in Benghazi is ‘trending negatively’ and . . . this daily pattern of violence would be the new normal for the foreseeable future,” the head State Department officer in Benghazi was quoted as saying weeks before the attack. While the nearby CIA annex upgraded its security, the temporary mission did not, the report said.

It said Stevens acknowledged the need for more security yet also turned down available U.S. military resources. The report said the Defense Department had provided a Site Security Team in Tripoli, made up of 16 special operations personnel. But the State Department decided not to extend the team’s mission in August 2012, one month before the attack. In the weeks that followed, Gen. Carter Ham, then the head of the military’s Africa Command, twice asked Stevens to employ the team, and twice Stevens declined, the report said.

Stevens had tried to arrange a local Libyan security force to replace the Americans, but the report said the force was never formed because of bureaucratic delays.

Still, the report faults the U.S. military for failing to anticipate it might be called on. It also says there was confusion within the Pentagon as to the location of the CIA annex – and says the regional U.S. commander must know where such facilities are in the future.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the committee report “largely reaffirms” earlier findings and that the security recommendations are consistent with steps the State Department has already taken.

“This reinforces what other investigations have found, which is that there was not enough security to protect the four Americans who lost their lives,” Carney told reporters traveling with Obama on Tuesday to North Carolina.

Legacy Comments18

More bread and circus from the media industrial complex. This story is months and months in the past and yet a new article prompts the usual suspects on both sides to grab for today's "shiny object." Meanwhile, there are real issues currently staring us in the face of much greater import and no one knows about them.

No idea why there are so many off topic comments here. This report is about Benghazi.

It appears that some of you did not read the report. The military is faulted for not being on DEFCON 5 all the time to respond no matter where they are needed. The man killed is faulted because twice he refused better security and the state department is faulted for not demanding better security and finally the intelligence agencies are faulted for not looking at reports that said this could happen. A lot of the report is like saying "we should have avoided the Pearl Harber bombings to start WW II "IF" we looked at specific reports.

How does that work exactly? Can a State Dept employee just request his own security???? Dont you have to work your own chain of command??

You're right--there's plenty of blame to go around. Which is why no one is likely to be held accountable. Poor communication and "turf" issues between State and the CIA contributed mightily to this preventable tragedy. What is reprehensible on this site is the hyper-partisan rhetoric that distorts the truth to suit its own ends that emanates constantly from the leading "low information poster" (LIP), and general in the Carp Per Diem brigade.

This is for Very LIRV, Nope no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. Period. The End. Finish.

Well that explains why the liberal progressive democrat earns the LIDV title.

Bush, Cheney, Condi Rice LIED! There were no weapons of mass destruction, period!!!!!!!!! Over three thousand people died on 9/11/01. Who got fired? The planning took months and there were plenty of clues. Clinton admin. warned Bush/Cheney about Bin Laden and nothing was done. Bush spent the month of August on his ranch, Cheney,the hero with 11 deferments, disappeared in "an undisclosed location" for months afterward. No one has ever paid any price for 9/11 and yet many politicians used it to their advantage, think the mayor of NY Mr Nine Eleven. Under Reagan's watch 230 marines were killed as they slept in Beirut. We are supposed to pull together as a country when these disasters happen but now days it is just a reason to get some political advantage by rightwingers.

73% of all US soldiers killed in Afghanistan have happened under NObama's watch.

This for the LIDV: "US did find Iraq WMD | New York Post nypost.com/2010/10/25/us-did-find-iraq-wmd..... There were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq after all. The massive cache of almost 400,000 Iraq war documents ... A chemical cache was also found in" ... weapons moved to Syria....LIDV's sheeeeech

Your claim as a justification for the Iraq War is absurd, as can be understood with a little thought: If Bush2 had said we were going to war against Iraq because Iraq had chemical weapons, he would have been laughed out of the White House. Although, come to think of it, that's about what the intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq War amounted to, and we'd have been better off had he been 'laughed off." Instead we got Rice's "Don't let the smoking gun be a mushroom cloud." The fact is we knew Saddam likely possessed chemical and biological weapons because we'd long ago supplied him with many of the necessary ingredients for them. Moreover we looked the other way when he gassed the Kurds, then weeks later supplied intelligence to Iraq regarding Iranian troop movements, knowing in all likelihood Iraq would use poison gas against Iranian troops. "THE US and Britain sold Saddam Hussein the technology and materials Iraq needed to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. Reports by the US Senate's committee on banking, housing and urban affairs -- which oversees American exports policy -- reveal that the US, under the successive administrations of Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr, sold materials including anthrax, VX nerve gas, West Nile fever germs and botulism to Iraq right up until March 1992, as well as germs similar to tuberculosis and pneumonia. Other bacteria sold included brucella melitensis, which damages major organs, and clostridium perfringens, which causes gas gangrene. Classified US Defense Department documents also seen by the Sunday Herald show that Britain sold Iraq the drug pralidoxine, an antidote to nerve gas, in March 1992, after the end of the Gulf war. Pralidoxine can be reverse engineered to create nerve gas." http://www.commondreams.org/headlines02/0908-08.html http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/08/25/secret_cia_files_prove_america_helped_saddam_as_he_gassed_iran

HILLARY ....LIED.... Period. Ambassador and Americans DIED - HILLARY & NOBAMA ....LIED..... period !!!!!!!!! Hillary has an tragedy filled long history of LYING (anybody remember her cattle futures lie) - only a LIDV could possibly support Hillary the serial LIAR. We have seen what NObama the liar does - can America survive another LIAR?

Let's see how mister outrage replies to this. Where was your outrage when 17 were killed in our embassy in Lebanon under RayGun. There was no military response because they didn't want to make the situation worse. Then there was the now forgotten terrorist attack that killed 241 US Marines in the Beirut barracks bombing. Our military response was to pull out our armed forces, again under Raygun. So now we have an Ambassador and 3 security members killed and we feign such righteous indignation and require the juvenile comments because the speaking points were in question. Like Hillary said what difference does it make who said what when None. If we learned anything from Beirut, 9/11 and Benghazi - that is we learn nothing from history. Some arguably learn less than nothing except how to uses the caps lock key.

HILLARY - FLAT OUT LIED - she always chooses the LIE over the truth - There are shelves of books written about Hillary's decades of LIES. She is a flat out liar and wants to be President - "what difference does it make"? To most people being a pathological LIAR like Hillary does make a difference - to a LIDV "what difference does it make"? NONE obviously.

Almost anybody can write a book these days. Whether "those shelves of books" contain much in the way of accuracy and truthfulness is another issue. Sort of like your posts.

Oh yes, that is correct, only the books you read and approve of are accurate, we all forgot. If progressives had their way, they would ban any books that don't support their views. Kind of like a takeoff of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 but instead of burning all books, just the Bible and anything non-Left leaning. Of course the Obama books as you know has many, many falsehoods and many things that contradict each other so you may be right.

Why don't you go ahead and tell us about all those 'lies' and the "many things that contradict each other"? Maybe there'll be some new details and lies that are missing from the "Mother Jones" chart of all the allegations and conspiracy theories. Whatever you might post is likely to tell readers more about your own regard for fairness and accuracy than anything else.http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/10/chart-obama-conspiracy-theories http://mediamatters.org/research/2008/09/17/corsi-again-falsely-claimed-there-is-no-substan/145067 http://mediamatters.org/research/2007/03/20/myths-and-falsehoods-about-barack-obama/138344 http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/muslim.asp http://mediamatters.org/research/2010/05/07/kleins-obama-attack-book-hurls-kitchen-sink-of/164354

When I was writing my book I was exiting a plane taking incoming fire...Hillary was right next to me....

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