Great news: None of six at-risk US embassies followed full vetting procedure for security personnel

posted at 3:41 pm on June 13, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The lack of sufficient vetting for security at the Benghazi consulate turns out to be the rule rather than the exception in the Hillary Clinton-run State Department. After the sacking of the facility in which security contractors fled from or possibly participated in the attack, State’s Inspector General conducted a review of six of the highest-risk US diplomatic facilities in the world. All six failed to follow requirements for vetting and oversight of security personnel:

A newly completed internal audit of security contracts at U.S. embassies abroad found that none of those examined had fully complied with vetting and other requirements for contractors who provide the first line of defense against attack.

The audit, to be released Friday by the State Department’s Inspector General, was conducted in the wake of the 2012 attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead. Local guards contracted to secure the perimeter and entry to the diplomatic compound there were found to have fled or failed to perform their duties.

Of six embassies selected for review based on location and terrorism threat level, “none . . . fully performed all vetting requirements” for local guards, placing “embassies and personnel at risk,” the inspector general audit said. Chief diplomatic security officers at five of the six were said to have performed “inadequate oversight” of local guard vetting.

The performance of local security guards was a significant factor raised by the State Department’s Accountability Review Board examination of the Benghazi incident. The ARB report said that security dependence on a local Libyan militia and an inexperienced British-based firm that hired local guards was “misplaced.”

The IG inspections took place between March and September 2013, but the records checks go back to 2010. In most cases, records were either incomplete or nonexistent. One location employed a guard for months before discovering that he used multiple identities to hide his criminal record. At another, State paid more than a million dollars for wages to a contractor before finding out that the guards didn’t get paid at all — over a three-year period.

Needless to say, this isn’t exactly great timing for Hillary:

Between 1998 and 2012, there were at least 272 significant attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities and personnel, according to the report, including the deadly assault in Benghazi. A Senate intelligence committee found that during the months leading up to September 2012, a temporary mission facility in Benghazi had been vandalized and attacked by guards assigned to protect the outpost. …

This week’s release of Hillary Clinton‘s book “Hard Choices” also has fueled the debate. The former secretary of state wrote that she takes responsibility for the deaths in Benghazi, but she rebuked her critics, accusing them of politicizing the tragedy.

In an interview with ABC News that aired Monday, Mrs. Clinton fielded questions about whether she could have made the diplomatic compound in Benghazi safer.

Mrs. Clinton said she gave direct instructions to professionals with security expertise but that she was “not equipped to sit and look at blueprints, to determine where the blast walls need to be or where the reinforcements need to be.”

Nor is this the only IG report to which Hillary will have to respond. In April, a separate investigation showed that State had “misplaced” $6 billion, most of it during her tenure as Secretary of State:

The State Department misplaced and lost some $6 billion due to the improper filing of contracts during the past six years, mainly during the tenure of former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, according to a newly released Inspector General report.

The $6 billion in unaccounted funds poses a “significant financial risk and demonstrates a lack of internal control over the Department’s contract actions,” according to the report.

The alert, originally sent on March 20 and just released this week, warns that the missing contracting funds “could expose the department to substantial financial losses.”

The report centered on State Department contracts worth “more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located at all,” according to the alert.

“The failure to maintain contract files adequately creates significant financial risk and demonstrates a lack of internal control over the Department’s contract actions,” the alert states.

The situation “creates conditions conducive to fraud, as corrupt individuals may attempt to conceal evidence of illicit behavior by omitting key documents from the contract file,” the report concluded.

That $6 billion might have come in handy for vetting security personnel, no? None of this adds up to an argument for putting Hillary Clinton in charge of the entire executive branch and national security. If the House select committee on Benghazi doesn’t take an interest in these IG reports, Democrats can be sure that Republicans will in other contexts. Whether these issues tie directly to Benghazi or not, they all still go to the claims of Hillary’s executive experience and competence, and make minced meat of them.


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