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  • Report on Benghazi Attack Falls Short on Investigation

    Today, State Department officials testify before the Senate and House of Representatives’ respective foreign affairs committees on the findings of the Accountability Review Board’s (ARB) report on the September 11 terrorist attack against the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi.

    Released yesterday, the report demonstrates the State Department’s profound failure to address diplomatic security in a high-risk area of operation.

    To the disappointment of some in Congress, the report does not examine the interagency discussion in the months prior to the attack nor the White House’s response. Rather, it assesses the security procedures and systems at the U.S. mission in Benghazi and the effectiveness of their implementation.

    Clearly there were many shortcomings. The ARB spreads the blame for inadequate diplomatic security from Congress’s supposed cuts to the State Department budget to the Libyan militias that were charged with defending the facility, to Ambassador Christopher Stevens himself. It also highlights the stark lack of leadership and bureaucratic stovepiping within the State Department.

    Absent from the report are answers to four key questions that would provide significant insight into how diplomatic security in Benghazi was assessed and managed:

    • What counterterrorism and early warning measures were in place to proactively address security threats? The report states that “intelligence provided no immediate, specific tactical warning of the September 11 attacks.” However, it does not provide an assessment of the counterterrorism measures that were in place to address the threat of extremist activity. Furthermore, the report specifies the reliance on local militias to provide early warning capabilities, but notes that there were considerable concerns regarding the effectiveness of these militias as well as their loyalties. Why did the mission continue to use these militias if their services were unreliable?To learn how to prevent attacks against U.S. overseas facilities in the future, it is necessary to know what counterterrorism efforts, if any, were undertaken to reduce the threat of an attack in the first place. The most effective means to stop terrorist threats is to thwart them before they move to execution. What actions were taken to identify and disrupt terrorist operations aimed at diplomatic personnel and facilities? What actions were taken to provide early warning before an attack?
    • What risk assessments were performed and what risk mitigation measures were adopted prior to the attack? While the report urges a review of risk mitigation, it omits what, if any measures were already in place. As the ARB clearly notes, eastern Libya in particular has long been a haven for extremist activity. The instability on the ground created a significant risk to U.S. personnel. Risk assessments that evaluate threat, criticality, and vulnerability and then adopt the most prudent combination of risk-mitigation measures are a proven strategy for enhancing physical security. It is vital to understand how the State Department evaluated risk and how it elected to mitigate that risk.
    • What contingency planning was undertaken and exercised to respond to armed assaults against U.S. facilities in Benghazi? The report indicates that when the mission came under attack, security personnel moved swiftly to take defensive positions and evacuate to the mission’s annex. However, the report fails to examine what, if any contingency planning was present and if it was implemented.Early warning planning and risk assessment are integral to countering threats against U.S. personnel and facilities, but they have their limits. Incomplete data and inaccurate judgment are challenges that could result in unforeseen consequences. Contingency planning that is flexible and adaptable is therefore crucial to ensure an adequate response to potential threats. In order to fully assess the response to the Benghazi attack, it is important to assess what contingency plans were in place, how developed they were, and whether they were exercised or implemented.
    • How is the interagency response to the incident organized and managed? This needs to be explored at length. The ARB narrowly focused its attention on the security systems and procedures rather than the broader interagency response. When a crisis erupts that puts the lives of U.S. personnel as well as U.S. interests at risk, the whole of government should respond with alacrity and with all of the resources that are reasonably available. A complete examination of the U.S. response, therefore, should address the command, control, and coordination of efforts to organize and integrate interagency efforts after the threat in Benghazi became evident.

    Until answers to these four questions are adequately addressed, the investigation into the attack on the mission in Benghazi will remain incomplete.

    See additional papers:

    Lessons from Benghazi: Rethinking U.S. Diplomatic Security

    Benghazi Terrorist Attack: Select Committee Needed to Investigate

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Report on Benghazi Attack Falls Short on Investigation

    1. Bobbie says:

      what good is the accountability board if they're not going to hold anyone accountable?

      The Benghazi horror was 100% preventable. What happened is inexcusable. People with respect for America wouldn't show such denial in their responsibilities. Four lives killed because the government dereliction following necessary procedures for the protection of America's own???? America is better than that. America doesn't deserve people in authority who have no diligence and aren't truthful. If no one is going to be cited on charges of neglect, dereliction, incompetence, wrongful death, manslaughter/ the truth, then all should step down.

      To have Susan Rice in a position to address America as her responsibility but ignores the main responsibility of that role to verify information is accurately conveyed to the nation is plainly unacceptable. America is a civil country where people are held to the truth and the words that come out of their mouths even more so when they're in public office with a voice.

      America can't have people spending paid time assassinating characters and arresting innocent people to cover their own while time goes on where terrorists go free. With the due diligence America expects, this wouldn't have happened! AND corrective action would've taken place immediately or the President would step down from embarrassment. But that's when America's men were men. And four Americans would be alive and well.

      It's insulting and humiliating to have the President protect Susan rices error avoiding her personally accountable,. beneath the expectations of a person in America's office and wrong to force people to tolerate. Corrective action needs to take place to disallow this type of conduct AGAIN! It's inherent people who take responsibility are held to those responsibilities. People learn from the good and bad acts of others since the beginning of humanity where acts have to be judged and corrected to sustain order and civility but as it seems the lesser of men want to drown us in lies so we're left with no truth like they do to people under third world lesser of men leadership! It's also insulting to the female gender that Susan Rice isn't women enough to stand accountable. Her hands also lead me to question her birth gender! Truth will prevail! Keep faith and stay strong!

    2. Dave says:

      We all know that the mission was bungled. The question is was the reason it was bungled through dictate or incompetence.

      If incompetence that is bad.
      If the administration ordered measures to be taken that put the embassy at risk, or worse used as a gun running operation it is treasonous.

    3. Warriorgal says:

      Americans are lost & now is the time to RETURN to The Lord. Things will not get better more shaking in America & the nations. We must humble ourselves as God's people & return to his absolutes. It is heartbreaking how low materialism & secular humanism has taken us.

    4. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      The conclusion? I'm just paraphrasing here: "Everybody's responsible." Well, if everybody's responsible, then nobody's responsible. DA, TOVARICH? DA!

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