Report: State Dept knew of Benghazi vulnerabilities, ignored them

posted at 12:41 pm on September 4, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

The State Department has a long-standing policy of waiving security requirements in dangerous areas, as well as ignoring threat assessments, a new report on the Benghazi terror attack concludes. The sacking of the consulate a year ago could be repeated in any number of hot spots, thanks to a lack of focus on security and safety at Foggy Bottom, and lack of accountability for decisions made in those areas, according to the documents leaked to Al-Jazeera America:

The U.S. Department of State has known for decades that inadequate security at embassies and consulates worldwide could lead to tragedy, but senior officials ignored the warnings and left some of America’s most dangerous diplomatic posts vulnerable to attack, according to an internal government report obtained exclusively by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit.

The report by an independent panel of five security and intelligence experts describes how the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi, Libya, which left Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead, exploited the State Department’s failure to address serious security concerns at diplomatic facilities in high-risk areas.

Among the most damning assessments, the panel concluded that the State Department’s failure to identify worsening conditions in Libya and exemptions from security regulations at the U.S. Special Mission contributed to the tragedy in Benghazi. Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy approved using Benghazi as a temporary post despite its significant vulnerabilities, according to an internal State Department document included with the report.

The report’s identification of Kennedy already makes it an improvement over the laughably-named Accountability Review Board.  The ARB decided from the start to focus its attention on lower-level bureaucrats and spare high-ranking political appointees from blame.  Former Ambassador and ARB co-chair Thomas Pickering defended the approach in May, telling CBS’ Bob Schieffer that “[t]he decisions were made and reviewed at the level that we fixed responsibility for failures of performance.” Pickering and the ARB never bothered to talk to the Secretary of State during that period, Hillary Clinton, because “[w]e knew where the responsibility rested.”

This new report from the former director of the Secret Service moves the responsibility up to at least the person in charge of security at diplomatic facilities.  This doesn’t change the story of Benghazi much, but it does show how the systematic disregard for security and threats led Kennedy and Clinton to ignore the danger and push forward with the consulate — even as other Western nations were bugging out of Benghazi.  One reason for the disconnect between the US and its allies is that our allies actually have intel analysts attached to their outposts to make on-the-ground threat assessments:

Yet no one at the State Department connected the intelligence dots to offer concerns about worsening security in Benghazi. According to Sullivan’s panel, this oversight occurred because the Benghazi facility did not have an intelligence analyst on site to determine the “ground truth.”

Benghazi wasn’t unique in this. Sullivan’s panel visited high-risk embassies in Nairobi, Kenya; Juba, South Sudan; Cairo; Beirut; and Sanaa, Yemen. None had an intelligence analyst on staff.

By contrast, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the United Nations employ experienced intelligence analysts in country to identify security concerns from the ground.

State didn’t even stick to its own standards.  After the 1983 Hezbollah attack, Congress passed a requirement known as the Inman Standard for securing diplomatic facilities.  State treats this as an impossible bar to clear, but rather than rework it, they simply ignore it and don’t have any other baseline standard to employ.  Sullivan’s team recommends changing that situation immediately, as well as use the best practices of other Western nations and putting intel analysts in each of those facilities to properly judge the threat levels and needed countermeasures unique to the locations.

Congress will need to explore this more carefully, especially as we prepare to turn another Arab country on the Mediterranean into a failed state.  Diplomatic security will need even more accountability in the near future.

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Well at least the Austrian embassy got their ‘clean air’ electric cars.

Priorities.

GarandFan on September 4, 2013 at 12:45 PM

It’s okay, there were plenty of CIA operatives running around.

John the Libertarian on September 4, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Our Country is being run by a bunch of unaccountable Rodeo Clowns…

… with apologies to Rodeo Clowns everywhere.

Seven Percent Solution on September 4, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Benghazi is so passé.

So are all the scandals, and obama’care’, the budget/ceiling.

Don’t you all know there’s gong to be a war in Syria?

Congress morons/aids, read this and internalize it, you utter fools.

H/t RushBaby

Schadenfreude on September 4, 2013 at 12:49 PM

According to Sullivan’s panel, this oversight occurred because the Benghazi facility did not have an intelligence analyst on site to determine the “ground truth.”

BS! Doherty and Woods could supply that information. They were the ones on the ground looking for the missiles, so I am sure they knew the ‘ground truth’, whatever that means.

The only one that didn’t know the ‘ground truth’ was the administration. The ambassador and RSO told Washington several times what they needed, and what the threat was. They just ignored their requests, especially Hillary.

Patriot Vet on September 4, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Gee. No Sh!t?

katy the mean old lady on September 4, 2013 at 12:50 PM

According to Sullivan’s panel, this oversight occurred because the Benghazi facility did not have an intelligence analyst on site to determine the “ground truth.”

Benghazi wasn’t unique in this. Sullivan’s panel visited high-risk embassies in Nairobi, Kenya; Juba, South Sudan; Cairo; Beirut; and Sanaa, Yemen. None had an intelligence analyst on staff.

Wait, what? We don’t have intelligence analysts in unstable hot zones? What the hell is going at State?

rbj on September 4, 2013 at 12:52 PM

At this point, what does it matter?

Well, somebody had to say it…

trigon on September 4, 2013 at 12:53 PM

lets be real here.

If that guy had not produced that video that blasphemed the “religion of peace” then our ambassador would have have been sodomized half to to death and his body dragged through the streets while throngs of “religion of peace” followers cheered, beat on his unconcious body and spit and pissed on him.

Of course, our fearless leader was no where to be found for 9 hours and our military ordered to stand down even though we could have taken out hundreds of them with an airstrike.

he makes carter look like a real president.

acyl72 on September 4, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Les Aspin resigned after “Blackhawk Down”. How come Hillary didn’t resign after this?

Paul-Cincy on September 4, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Gee. No Sh!t?

katy the mean old lady on September 4, 2013 at 12:50 P

Everyone can go to another thread now….Katy just
hit it out of the park.

ToddPA on September 4, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Okay, Hillary it’s your turn.

DDay on September 4, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Sullivan’s panel visited high-risk embassies in Nairobi, Kenya; Juba, South Sudan; Cairo; Beirut; and Sanaa, Yemen. None had an intelligence analyst on staff.

Wait, what? We don’t have intelligence analysts in unstable hot zones? What the hell is going at State?

rbj on September 4, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Maybe State doesn’t, but I am sure that there are other ‘agencies’ that are in those countries that could provide State with intelligence analysis. One three letter agency comes to mind. They are in all of those countries. Why this new report doesn’t mention that is odd, to say the least. State and ‘other agencies’ have worked together for years in hotspots.

Patriot Vet on September 4, 2013 at 12:56 PM

4 Americans, including an Ambassador, were actually killed there, but no response. Syria allegedly kills it’s own people and we need to get involved there. Real American interests attacked, nothing. Islamist interests threaten in Syria and we need to act. This is President maggOt’s world view in a nutshell.

Flange on September 4, 2013 at 12:57 PM

“I never said the embassies were secure. That was the international community and congress.”

PackerBronco on September 4, 2013 at 1:00 PM

The “smartest woman in the world” didn’t need any intelligence analysts to identify security concerns.

Like Barry Obama, she’s better at all of her subordinates’ jobs than any of them could ever be.

Did she mention she went to Yale?

AZCoyote on September 4, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Phony scandal
-libs

cmsinaz on September 4, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Our Country is being run by a bunch of unaccountable Rodeo Clowns…

… with apologies to Rodeo Clowns everywhere.

Seven Percent Solution on September 4, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Seven Percent Solution:Lol,ahem,*sigh*..yup:)

canopfor on September 4, 2013 at 1:05 PM

Clearly, the panel didn’t see the You Tube video..

hillsoftx on September 4, 2013 at 1:07 PM

It used to be that enemies considering attacking our embassies would be deterred by the possibility of a strong US response, or the hosting country would insure the embassies’ security for the same reason. The State Department could afford to skate on thin ice by depending on this reputation. Now, thanks to the fecklessness of Obama and Hilary and the rest of the gang, that reputation no longer exists, and the threat to the safety of our diplomatic personnel has multiplied.

From what I can tell, State has not adapted to this new reality and is still in denial. Maybe Obama and Kerry are pushing lobbing some missiles at Syria because they think that will fix our reputation. Which just tells me they have no conception of how it was built in the first place.

Socratease on September 4, 2013 at 1:09 PM

So, SecState John Kerry excused the serious security lapses committed by his underlings (under Clinton), and Patrick Kennedy, Eric Boswell, and Charlene Lamb are continuing to endanger diplomatic personnel and staff with their lack of leadership.
How many more deaths will it take for “Lurch” to retrieve his “attachments” from Theresa and act?
Or, is it the policy of the Administration to nut only “gut” the military, but our Diplomatic Corpse(sic) also?

Another Drew on September 4, 2013 at 1:09 PM

The interesting issue is how long these charlatans can perpetuate this boondoggle before they excite the ire of the mindless masses.

rplat on September 4, 2013 at 1:09 PM

Hilary 2016!

ctmom on September 4, 2013 at 1:13 PM

One reason for the disconnect between the US and its allies is that our allies actually have intel analysts attached to their outposts to make on-the-ground threat assessments:

The British ambassador’s convoy was attacked. The Red Cross bugged out because it was too dangerous for their staff. Are they really suggesting that only a intel analyst would be able to discern worsening threat levels? I’d think that they were bloody well clear by the time Hillary killed those four Americans.

Happy Nomad on September 4, 2013 at 1:14 PM

“I never said the embassies were secure. That was the international community and congress.”

PackerBronco on September 4, 2013 at 1:00 PM

We need to dig up Harry Truman and prop him up in the Oval Office. His corpse (for Obama, that’s pronounced “kôrps”) would be more accountable than these clowns. By the way — speaking of clowns — the rodeo clown bit was done not just with Obama but with the Bushes, Clinton, and Reagan. There’s some integrity there! Equal treatment. Consistency. By comparing the Obama admin to rodeo clowns, 7% solution has offended me!

/

Paul-Cincy on September 4, 2013 at 1:14 PM

The interesting issue is how long these charlatans can perpetuate this boondoggle before they excite the ire of the mindless masses.

rplat on September 4, 2013 at 1:09 PM

5 years and counting………….

LeftCoastRight on September 4, 2013 at 1:15 PM

So, SecState John Kerry excused the serious security lapses committed by his underlings (under Clinton), and Patrick Kennedy, Eric Boswell, and Charlene Lamb are continuing to endanger diplomatic personnel and staff with their lack of leadership.

Another Drew on September 4, 2013 at 1:09 PM

Kerry made it clear from the beginning he had no intention of doing anything about Benghazi. I don’t see how this report changes anything.

Happy Nomad on September 4, 2013 at 1:16 PM

What we need for President is a woman who has flown to as many countries as possible. That’s why I’m voting for Samantha Brown 2016!

xuyee on September 4, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Tell us something we didn’t know! Who leaked this to a Muslim Broadcast Network? Why?

tomshup on September 4, 2013 at 2:16 PM

State Dept knew of Benghazi vulnerabilities, ignored them

And, I am told, water is still wet.

So…with this sort of track record, what about the Damascus “vulnerabilities?”

Or, does State [and Defense, and the White House] believe we can b*tch slap Assad and he will just sit there and cry like a little school girl?

How about that guy in Teheran? The current head mullah on the block, Ali Wannadu Ishafsumfun?

coldwarrior on September 4, 2013 at 2:40 PM

State Dept, huh?

That’s Shillary, isn’t it?

Odds-on Dem Candidate in 2016?

ok. I see.

socalcon on September 4, 2013 at 3:05 PM

rplat on September 4, 2013 at 1:09 PM

um, for a long time.

They’re ‘mindless’ yaknow- those masses.

socalcon on September 4, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Where are the Steven’s family members on this?! And all the other families of the unnecessary victims of this gross incompetence? Why are we not hearing from them making a huge fuss?

Is Obama having people sit on them? intimidate them? Buy them off? Too stupid? Or are they just disgusting cowards?

Chessplayer on September 4, 2013 at 4:40 PM