December 18th, 2012
11:20 PM ET

Benghazi problems suggest long list of changes for security of diplomats

By Jamie Crawford

The independent inquiry into the September 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi made key recommendations to overcome what investigators found were weak security, lack of support for improvement requests denied and failure to see risk in the accumulated incidents of attacks in Benghazi.

The Accountability Review Board (ARB) delivered its report, a comprehensive investigation of what went wrong in Benghazi, to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday, who in turn submitted it to Congress on Tuesday.

FIRST ON CNN: Benghazi review critical of State's diplomatic security

It put forward recommendations in six core areas - overarching security considerations, staffing for high threat and high risk posts, training and awareness, security and fire safety equipment, intelligence and threat analysis, and personal accountability.

In addition to its recommendations to the State Department, it also called on Congress to do its part to support such posts in the future.

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Filed under: Benghazi • Congress • Libya • State Department
Feds: Florida man wanted to attack NYC landmark but lacked funds, bombs
Raees Alam Qazi, 20, left and Sheheryar Alam Qazi, 30, were arrested in November for allegedly plotting a terror attack.
December 18th, 2012
09:04 PM ET

Feds: Florida man wanted to attack NYC landmark but lacked funds, bombs

By Carol Cratty

A Florida man arrested on terror charges allegedly wanted to attack a landmark in New York City but didn't have the money or bomb-making components to carry out his plot, according to arguments made by federal prosecutors during a detention hearing Tuesday.

According to a federal law enforcement official familiar with the case, the government alleges Raees Alam Qazi, 20, wanted to avenge deaths in Afghanistan and those killed by U.S. drone attacks.

Prosecutors said Qazi, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, considered such potential targets as Wall Street, Times Square and theaters.
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FIRST ON CNN:  Benghazi review critical of State's diplomatic security
December 18th, 2012
08:08 PM ET

FIRST ON CNN: Benghazi review critical of State's diplomatic security

Update: Read CNN's coverage of the report which cites "systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies" at the State Department. The full report can be found here. It includes recommendations for substantial improvements to how security is handled.

By Elise Labott

An independent review of the September 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi criticizes the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security for its work in Libya before the event in which four Americans were killed, two sources who have read the report told CNN Tuesday.

The senior management in charge of diplomatic security "does not come out well at all," said one of the sources. FULL POST

December 18th, 2012
06:21 PM ET

Question about David Petraeus gets a laugh from Leon Panetta

By Larry Shaughnessy

"You've got to be kidding me."

That's how Secretary of Defense and former CIA Director Leon Panetta first responded when asked about David Petraeus's sudden and unceremonial departure from the CIA.

The question was asked during an event Tuesday at the National Press Club.

"As the former head of the CIA, please explain why Gen. Petraeus was forced to resign, rather than a lesser punishment," an unidentified audience member asked.
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Filed under: CIA • Obama • Panetta • Pentagon • Petraeus • Petraeus • Security Brief • White House
State Department: Clinton not dodging Benghazi hearings
Secretary Clinton speaks during a news conference during her visit to Northern Ireland on December 7, 2012 just before returning to the United States later that day.
December 18th, 2012
02:39 PM ET

State Department: Clinton not dodging Benghazi hearings

By Adam Levine

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is "on the mend" and working from home, the State Department’s spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Clinton had been recovering from a bout of stomach flu last week when she fainted and ended up with a concussion. Clinton informed the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs committees this weekend that she would be unable to testify at upcoming hearings about the deadly events in Benghazi, Libya, at the advice of her doctors. In her place, deputies Thomas Nides and Bill Burns will testify on Thursday.

Clinton was finishing her cover letter to Congress to accompany the independent Benghazi review that was just completed, as she recuperates at home from her concussion injury and stomach virus, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

The classified version of the independent review is being sent to Congress Tuesday afternoon, and an unclassified version could be released for public consumption as early as Wednesday, the same day that former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, who led the review, brief congressional committees about their findings.
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