The State Department’s Accountability Review Board finished its investigation on the issues surrounding the attack on the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi. Last week, Breitbart News first reported the breakdown in the State Department’s Diplomatic Security at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi during the September 11 attack.
Overall, the number of Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) security staff in Benghazi on the day of the attack and in the months and weeks leading up to it was inadequate, despite repeated requests from Special Mission Benghazi and Embassy Tripoli for additional staffing. Board members 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-related requests, especially those relating to staffing.
The insufficient Special Mission security platform was at variance with the appropriate Overseas Security Policy Board (OSPB) standards with respect to perimeter and interior security. Benghazi was also severely under-resourced with regard to certain needed security equipment, although DS funded and installed in 2012 a number of physical security upgrades. These included heightening the outer perimeter wall, safety grills on safe area egress windows, concrete jersey barriers, manual drop-arm vehicle barriers, a steel gate for the Villa C safe area, some locally manufactured steel doors, sandbag fortifications, security cameras, some additional security lighting, guard booths, and an Internal Defense Notification System.
The report continues, in devastating fashion:
Systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department (the “Department”) resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place.
Security in Benghazi was not recognized and implemented as a “shared responsibility” by the bureaus in Washington charged with supporting the post, resulting in stove-piped discussions and decisions on policy and security. That said, Embassy Tripoli did not demonstrate strong and sustained advocacy with Washington for increased security for Special Mission Benghazi.
The short-term, transitory nature of Special Mission Benghazi’s staffing, with talented and committed, but relatively inexperienced, American personnel often on temporary assignments of 40 days or less, resulted in diminished institutional knowledge, continuity, and mission capacity.
The report later recommends:
The Diplomatic Security Training Center and Foreign Service Institute should collaborate in designing joint courses that integrate high threat training and risk management decision processes for senior and mid-level DS agents and Foreign Service Officers and better prepare them for leadership positions in high risk, high threat posts. They should consult throughout the U.S. government for best practices and lessons learned. Foreign Affairs Counter Threat training should be mandatory for high risk, high threat posts, whether an individual is assigned permanently or in longer-term temporary duty status.
CNN reports that an independent review of the attack in Benghazi that resulted in four American deaths, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, “criticizes the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security for its work in Libya before the event.” :
The senior management in charge of diplomatic security “does not come out well at all,” said one of the sources.
Assistant Secretary of State Eric Boswell is head of diplomatic security and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charlene Lamb oversaw State Department decisions on security at the diplomatic outpost. Lamb testified before Congress about the security precautions; documents show Lamb denied repeated requests for additional security in Libya.
State Department Officials William Burns and Thomas Nides will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Relations Committee in lieu of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Mrs. Clinton was due to testify this week, but canceled her visit to Capitol Hill after she fell ill and suffered a concussion.
Breitbart News spoke with Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) on Tuesday who will be at the hearing on Thursday. “I would like to hear an explanation about why the request for security was denied, while the pleadings for help were denied and why Susan Rice went on national television five different times and gave us a demonstrably false statement,” he said.
Senator Marco Rubio (R – FL) told reporters he had not seen the ARB report yet and that was his “biggest concern.”