Independent report: “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” at State led to Benghazi deaths

posted at 8:01 am on December 19, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Congress now has the Accountability Review Board report on the Benghazi terrorist attack that killed four Americans, including the first US Ambassador murdered in 33 years, and it’s easy to see why the State Department contemplated keeping it under wraps.  The ARB rips the State Department from the top down all the way to the late Ambassador Chris Stevens — and unequivocally states that there never was a protest in front of the consulate, as the Obama Administration insisted for more than a week afterward:

1. The attacks were security related, involving arson, small arms and machine gun fire, and the use of RPGs, grenades, and mortars against U.S. personnel at two separate facilities – the SMC and the Annex – and en route between them.  Responsibility for the tragic loss of life, injuries, and damage to U.S. facilities and property rests solely and completely with the terrorists who perpetrated the attacks.  The Board concluded that there was no protest prior to the attacks, which were unanticipated in their scale and intensity.

2. 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 ARB also blasts State for its reliance on the February 17 militia for security in general, finding them “poorly skilled” and “inadequate.”  But there’s more to the story than that, emphasis mine:

Although the February 17 militia had proven effective in responding to improvised explosive device (IED) attacks on the Special Mission in April and  June 2012, there were some troubling indicators of its reliability in the months and weeks preceding the September attacks.  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.

Essentially, then, embassy security was on a low-level strike at the time.  And this was the situation at this outpost in an area known to be teeming with Islamist terrorists, including al-Qaeda affiliates, on the anniversary of 9/11.

With the report in hand, Congress would have been prepared for Hillary Clinton’s testimony, originally scheduled for tomorrow before the Secretary of State fainted and ended up with a concussion.  This report’s conclusions about the “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” won’t be a headache she can shrug off as easily as a concussion, however.  The Hill’s Julian Pecquet wonders what happens to Clinton after the publication of this indictment of the organization she ran for nearly four years prior to the attack:

The Benghazi report released Tuesday night bemoans “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” in Hillary Clinton’s State Department that could come back to haunt her should she run for president in 2016.

Clinton remains one of the nation’s most popular politicians and has worked tirelessly to improve America’s image abroad following President George W. Bush’s tenure. The independent review of the Sept. 11 attack, however, tarnishes that legacy by faulting the department for failing to put in place a coordinated approach for handling security, even if it does not single anyone out for disciplinary action.

The report does fault Congress for forcing State to “struggle to obtain the resources necessary to carry out its work, with varying degrees of success,” which gives Hillary a way to fight back in Congressional hearings — but that’s a big trap.  State spent lots of money on other outposts with far less risk than the one in eastern Libya, and there isn’t any indication that State warned Congress about the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi.  To have done so would have allowed Congress to question Barack Obama’s war on Moammar Qaddafu that was fought without Congressional approval.

Hillary Clinton herself said that the buck stopped with her on Benghazi.  The organizational failures outlined in this report belong to the one who sat at the top of that organization since January 2009, long before the US turned eastern Libya into a free zone for Islamist terror networks, and at least indirectly to the President who insisted on conducting the war that created that environment.  In any sane political environment, the leadership failure at State would preclude any effort to seek higher office out of sheer contrition after it resulted in four dead Americans.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Baxter Greene on December 19, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Exactly. And these people walk and talk like they are the smart and aware ones.
They are gullible fools..useful idiot hipsters.

Mimzey on December 19, 2012 at 10:28 AM

In any sane political environment, the leadership failure at State would preclude any effort to seek higher office out of sheer contrition after it resulted in four dead Americans.

I would go a little farther: in a sane world Obama and Clinton would join in a little seppuku.

burt on December 19, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Yep, great report. People made decisions, but they’re NOT RESPONSIBLE for those decisions.

GarandFan on December 19, 2012 at 10:50 AM

However, the Board did not find that any individual U.S. Government
employee engaged in misconduct or willfully ignored his or her responsibilities,
and, therefore did not find reasonable cause to believe that an individual
breached his or her duty so as to be the subject of a recommendation for disciplinary action.

If they aren’t firing anyone or recommending any other disciplinary measure, doesn’t that mean these senior State Dept. officials had performed their duties appropriately according to what policy demanded ?…which points back to Hillary and the White House? Who dictated that no additional security be allowed at Benghazi…isn’t that the next question?

lynncgb on December 19, 2012 at 10:51 AM

MoBro family member Huma, the Saudi American Princess, is just undergoing sea trials as future ghost President.

BL@KBIRD on December 19, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Hillary should have been fired long ago over this. If she can breathe and speak, she should testify Thursday. This is ridiculous to give her a pass.

Amazingoly on December 19, 2012 at 11:03 AM

Just imagine how bad that incident would have been if Hillary hadn’t been in charge.

BobMbx on December 19, 2012 at 11:07 AM

This really shouldn’t be about Hillary at all! The Benghazi killings were just a single incident set against the background of Barky’s enormous arms give-away program, which seems to mainly benefit the Muslim Brotherhood across North Africa and the Mideast. Focussing on Benghazi is like investigating a single red spot on someone’s arm when they have Measles. It’s just a symptom, not the disease.

bofh on December 19, 2012 at 11:13 AM

But 90% of people LOVE this woman, and want her to be the
next PRESIDENT!

ToddPA on December 19, 2012 at 11:18 AM

In any sane political environment, the leadership failure at State would preclude any effort to seek higher office out of sheer contrition after it resulted in four dead Americans.

In Normal America, that would be the case. In this Alternate America, the government isn’t being held accountable for it’s actions by it’s citizens. In Alternate America, the president has no respect for it’s Constitution and has learned (because he is a Constitutional Scholar) the Constitution is nothing but words on an old piece of paper and he doesn’t, and won’t, abide by them.

TulsAmerican on December 19, 2012 at 11:19 AM

In short, HRC phucked up in a big way.

Maybe she should be baking cookies.

BuckeyeSam on December 19, 2012 at 11:23 AM

I found the report to be far more problematic than Ed does. On the issues of who made the decisions to deny requests for greater security in Benghazi, why they made those decisions, and why our government sent no military assets in response to the attack that lasted over seven hours, the report is an utterly worthless whitewash. The Board excuses failure, ignores relevant fact, makes bald assertions disclaiming responsibility, and holds no one liable.

For but one example, the Board baldly asserts that the “attacks . . . were unanticipated in their scale and intensity.” That is ridiculous. The report itself lays out a list of 20 significant attacks that occurred in or near Benghazi in the run up to September 11. The report neglects to note that a month prior to the attack, the security personnel in Benghazi sent a report addressed to Hillary Clinton laying out their concerns that such an attack as occurred on 9-11 might happen, and that it would over-run the U.S. compounds. How much more “anticipated” could this attack have been?

This report is pure bait and switch. It acknowledges only the obvious problems and excuses all else. It does not “rip” the State Dept., it covers for it.

Wolf Howling on December 19, 2012 at 11:23 AM

The report does fault Congress for forcing State to “struggle to obtain the resources necessary to carry out its work, with varying degrees of success,” which gives Hillary a way to fight back in Congressional hearings — but that’s a big trap. State spent lots of money on other outposts, providing many with GM Volts.

Thats better.

BobMbx on December 19, 2012 at 11:27 AM

This report is pure bait and switch. It acknowledges only the obvious problems and excuses all else. It does not “rip” the State Dept., it covers for it.

Wolf Howling on December 19, 2012 at 11:23 AM

Exactly. We’re told certain unnamed leaders/managers at State failed to competently perform the jobs they were hired/appointed to do, but we are not told their names, and not one of them is fired or even disciplined for their failures that led to the destruction of the consulate and the deaths of four Americans.

Hey, some folks screwed up, but their intentions were good, so that’s all that matters; they’ll stay in their jobs, keep a clean disciplinary record, and maybe even get promoted. And no, you taxpayers who are paying their salaries do not have any right to know the names of your incompetent employees.

AZCoyote on December 19, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Hillary has never accomplished anything on her own and never will. She was a total failure as SOS even before Benghazi.

huckleberryfriend on December 19, 2012 at 9:05 AM

She was a pretty miserable FLOTUS, too…

affenhauer on December 19, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Off Topic, but don’t miss this.

BobMbx on December 19, 2012 at 12:29 PM

2016 should be interesting when we get our first woman president and an accessory to murder leading our country…this country deserves everything it gets.

RedInMD on December 19, 2012 at 12:32 PM

The Board concluded that there was no protest prior to the attacks, which were unanticipated in their scale and intensity.

Unexpected!!!

KS Rex on December 19, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Hillary falls on her AR$E & gets a concussion (now we know where her brains are, assuming she has any). Football players who get concussions go to the hospital, but our Secretary of State simply goes home and gets no medical attention. I AM SO SICK OF THIS BS ADMINISTRATION & THE LYING LIBERALS LIKE OBAMA & HILLARY!!!

It should be obvious to EVERY American that this administration CONTINUES to LIE & cover-up the details about Benghazi! Obama does so to hide the his abysmal foreign policy, refusal to protect our Ambassador + 3 Americans, & that he BETRAYED them during the attack, ordering a military response team to ‘Stand Down’! Hillary continues to hide the details to protect her potential 2016 Presidential run!

‘Fast & Furious’, ‘Auto Bailout Pension Scandal’, The Benghazi Attack….it is one scandal after another, one Felony Count of Perjury before Congress after another to keep all the facts hidden…

HOW MUCH LONGER BEFORE AMERICANS WILL FINALLY SAY, ‘ENOUGH‘?!

easyt65 on December 19, 2012 at 12:57 PM

What is broken here…

… cannot be fixed.

Seven Percent Solution on December 19, 2012 at 1:20 PM

Hillary should have been fired long ago over this. If she can breathe and speak, she should testify Thursday. This is ridiculous to give her a pass. – Amazingoly on December 19, 2012 at 11:03 AM

The House of Representatives needs to subpoena her immediately.

SC.Charlie on December 19, 2012 at 1:20 PM

unequivocally states that there never was a protest in front of the consulate, as the Obama Administration insisted for more than a week afterward

Fu*k you, Left. Let your lies haunt you to the end of time.

rrpjr on December 19, 2012 at 1:26 PM

But it has been reported they had resources to rotate security in Barbados, and install an electric vehicle charging station in Vienna.

Akzed on December 19, 2012 at 8:53 AM

Priorities……

Solaratov on December 19, 2012 at 1:34 PM

I want one pic from the situation room. It’s more likely Wolf Blitzer was there than the president

Slade73 on December 19, 2012 at 8:32 AM

Well,somebody (with enough authority) had to give the stand down order.

Who was that?

Solaratov on December 19, 2012 at 1:40 PM

Under the cover of the Newtown school shooting, an “independent” five member investigative panel quietly released an unclassified, 39-page report Tuesday night, detailing their findings of the attack that led to the murder of four Americans in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.

Schadenfreude on December 19, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Four Americans were murdered in Benghazi. Over forty thousand are dead in Syria. Soon, it will be four million dead as a result of the hidden agenda of our elected leaders, the complicity of a corrupt media, and the complacency of a brainwashed public. Today we cry over the deaths in Newtown, but tomorrow, our sobs will be for the masses.

Schadenfreude on December 19, 2012 at 2:07 PM

jihad’s terror groups are being armed better than U.S.citizens are allowed to arm themselves.

aceinstall on December 19, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Looks like ‘spreading the wealth around’ via redistribution isn’t the only are that the progressives think redistribution works.

H.R.Clinton is responsible for the State Department. She is, and has been, Secretary of State for four years. If there were ‘massive failures’ in the department, she is ultimately responsible for those failures.

This report is clearly an effort to diffuse the blame and culpability for the failures of the response to the attack on the consulate in Benghazi.

The real issue, though, is what led up to the attack on the consulate, why Ambassador Stevens was even AT the consulate, particularly on the anniversary of 9/11, with virtually no competent security in place, no standing protocols for lockdown in observance, and dealing with a security staff and budget that had been recently cut.

Again, H.R.Clinton is Secretary of State. That department and it’s functioning are her responsibility.

thatsafactjack on December 19, 2012 at 3:35 PM

MisTwiLies Run & Hide CYA.

Now we know about Hillary’s convenient stomach flue and concussion. Unable to testify the day after the release of the report???? Maybe able to testify after the inauguration????? After she is out of office and can not tell any thing because of the non-disclosure agreement she had to sign and is no longer Secretary of State. Why do we keep buying these “Misleading-Twists-Lies-CYA”.

When things get tuff the HillaryBills from Arkansas do what they do best, “RUN AND HIDE” till we all forget. Hope(AR)fully not this time. Hillary Clinton has totally toasted her future for 2016. “We The People” will never forget the Four People she left to die, the lies she helped spread and the cover-up she is part of. She will never tell the truth she never has and never will. She and her kind in government
have fostered a decadent ruling class that has no honorer. Even Obama’s sedition is to except unlimited corporate donations for his Inauguration is nothing more then the days of old when the Barron gave annual tribute to the King. What have we become???? A Ruling Class who’s philosophy has become MisTwiLies Run & Hide CYA.

jpcpt03 on December 19, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Lets word play this:

B. Obama.

Revised and extended.

B. Systemic Failure Leadership Management Deficiency Obama.

Its all in a name.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on December 19, 2012 at 3:58 PM

On why people like Ms Clinton and her husband, got away with it and will get away with it.

We the People allowed Lt. John F. Kerry to “get away with it”, and its been down hill from there.

Now that error comes to U.S. in a fearfull way.

“A Traitor, A Person of Treason” our Sec. of State.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on December 19, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Sheer incompetence mixed with a typically lackadaisical attitude sprinkled with the pixie dust of Libtard self-righteousness and arrogance.

Dr. ZhivBlago on December 19, 2012 at 4:07 PM

And they want John Reportingforduty Kerry to take her place. Pathetic!

Sticky Wicket on December 19, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Could he be worse?

Now there’s a question for the ages.

tom on December 19, 2012 at 4:52 PM

Obama’s henchmen were behind this whole thing. An elaborate plot to put an end to the career and future of HRC. Callous and calculating. Remember, BHO said the lost lives were just “not optimal”. He could care less about who died. As long as Hillary eats it. And by extension, Bill.

sgtstogie on December 20, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Hmmm… An Independent investigation on Benghazi Report by the State Department on the State Department blames everyone but the Sec. of the State Department, Hillarious Clinton. Go figure…

aposematic on December 21, 2012 at 9:39 AM

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