Report blames poor security, inadequate response in Benghazi attack
A protester reacts as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi burns.
December 31st, 2012
09:40 AM ET

Report blames poor security, inadequate response in Benghazi attack

By Jill Dougherty

Terrorists in Benghazi, Libya, "essentially walked right into the Benghazi compound unimpeded and set it ablaze," a special Senate report on the September 11 attack that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans says.

The bipartisan report, "Flashing Red: A Special Report on the Terrorist Attack at Benghazi," released Monday by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, cites "extremely poor security in a threat environment that was 'flashing red.' "

The State Department comes in for the major portion of blame for failing to respond to, even ignoring, repeated requests from U.S. staff in Benghazi for more security resources, especially more personnel.

The department, the report says, left it to Libyan security personnel to protect U.S. diplomats, even though those guards were unreliable and had "conflicting loyalties," a problem that it says was "deeply troubling, especially since this problem was recognized long before the attack."

In her preface to the Senate report, Sen. Susan Collins, ranking member of the committee, says the committee also found fault with the intelligence community, the Defense Department, the Obama administration and Congress.

"While the Defense Department attempted to mobilize its resources quickly, it had neither the personnel nor other assets close enough to reach Benghazi in a timely fashion," Collins says.

The report also underscores the need for the intelligence community to "enhance its focus on violent Islamist extremist groups in the region to improve the likelihood of obtaining such intelligence."

Lack of adequate funding for security also played a role, the committee found. "We have seen finger pointing about the lack of resources for embassy security," Collins writes, "but the budget is a shared responsibility. The inadequate security in Benghazi was a product of both budgets approved by Congress and of the desire of the Administration for a light footprint."

Critics say the administration gave conflicting and misleading statements on what sparked the attack, and the report agrees, concluding that the intelligence community recognized it as terrorism "from the beginning."

"Nonetheless, Administration officials were inconsistent in stating publicly that the deaths in Benghazi were the result of a terrorist attack," the report says.

"If the fact that Benghazi was indeed a terrorist attack had been made clear from the outset by the Administration, there would have been much less confusion about what happened in Benghazi that terrible night. The attack clearly was not a peaceful protest in response to a hateful anti-Muslim video that evolved into a violent incident. It was a terrorist attack by an opportunistic enemy."

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Carl Sandburg

    I think only one comment actually responds to the story. Respondents blame the dead ambassador, the Republicans, and even President Reagan. Any possibility you could read the story and say, the infallible Obama screwed up royally? After all, the report is pretty clear. Hillary, DOD, and CIA all screwed up, and altogether now, the boss is the one who is supposed to know how all these things are running.

    Furthermore, the objective investigation concludes that the 'fog of war' is NOT the reason for the false narrative that came from the White House. Hmmm. Imagine that!

    What this means is that FOX news was right to stay on the story that the White House and the mainstream media preferred to think of as a 'bump in the road.' FOX news got it right, huh? Maybe that's why more people watch FOX than any other outlet. Yes, they are biased, but they also actually cover the news. Again, imagine that!

    January 2, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Reply
  2. Bribing

    These Pakistanis are crazzy

    January 1, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Reply
  3. Pete

    @Offtheworldpolitics,nothing was swept anywhere,nothing could be worse than what your Reagan did years ago and he killed thousands arming terrorists like Bin laden,Hussein and others to do his maniacal bidding .Even Russia couldn't persaude Reagan to cut back on nuclear missiles because they also were going broke building them but Reagan didn't care as long as America was first and the middleclass,poor paid for it and you republicans claim he's your hero..Time for you republicans to read up on your partys history because it sure ain't pretty!!

    January 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Reply
  4. Pete

    Why don't most of you read up before posting on something that happened months ago,sounds ignorent if you ask me..Read up on the deaths that were under Reagans watch in the "80s with over 240 military dead at a terrorist attack at a barricks and two embassies attacked killing over 70 more ,but republicans Reagan who also sent nerve gas,weapons to Hussein and others to kill innocents was your hero wasn't he!!!

    January 1, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  5. Carlson

    It appears that the best idea of all is not to have any diplomats in Libya at all. We should never have taken over that country by proxy in the first place but try telling that to the right-wing thugs in Washington!

    January 1, 2013 at 10:07 am | Reply
  6. CarolO

    I am still confused as to why, if Ambassador Stevens was really in fear, that he did not go tio the Embassy that was more fortified and in a populated area? If I was afraid, I would not be staying in a home in the country with a guarded Embassy not far away. No mention is ever made of the 11 Libyans killed that night, either. Who were they? Were they guards? It's also been reported that Stevens was a morning runner and was still taking daily morning runs. Why would you be out jogging if you were afraid?

    January 1, 2013 at 8:47 am | Reply
    • StnCalif

      CarolO, I agree 100%! The "blame" for this tragedy should be placed on Amb Stevens. He knew, very well, he was not secure and no addtional security was coming – HE KNEW THIS, well before 9/11. Yet he chose to stay for the anniversary of 9/11 in this unprotected outpost!!?? He could have easily returned to our protected embassy in Tripoli, but did not! Even worse, Steves died not from any terrorist's bullet, but from smoke inhlalation while trapped in a "safe room" built with no provision for escape! His body guards could have saved him if there was an escape portal.
      But, everyone (with very few exceptions) want to blame others who had no means to save him once this attack began!
      There is much more to this story, but the primary witness (Stevens) is not alive to explain his very foolish decisions! So let's al blame someone else!!!

      January 1, 2013 at 10:56 am | Reply
    • Pete

      @CarolO,he's been in this and other Arabic countries for over 20 years and he trusted ,loved those people..These killers were outsiders and after his death the locals found their hideout and killed some of them..Blame Repub Issa and his committes for cutting the defense funds by over 400 billion,part of that cut was security for embassies and they were training locals to be embassy guards there,nice ha!!

      January 1, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Reply
  7. billy schleppegrell

    let me get this straight..we will have armed guards to protect our valued ambassadors but our children are protected by a sign that says "guns are banned on school property". how about putting up a sign that says "guns are banned on embassy property"?

    December 31, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Reply
    • StanCalif

      The NRA said the only way to stop a "bad man with a gun" is a "good man with a gun – of equal firepower"!
      So let's change those signs to read "Come on! Every classroom and the principle has a high capacity assult weapon waiting for you!"
      Feel better?

      January 1, 2013 at 11:46 am | Reply
  8. Observer

    The question I would like answered is why weren't the navy and marine made aware of the situation the moment it happened, there is all that fire power just off the coast and they were left uninformned of the tragedy that was taking place in their own backyard. Some one really screwed up by not asking the forces ready at hand for help.

    December 31, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Reply
    • CarolO

      Perhaps they could not have arrived in the few minutes it took to pull this off?????

      January 1, 2013 at 8:49 am | Reply
    • Pete

      @Observer,the guards and some CIA ops were sent as soon as they heard but it took 25 minutes once they found out and the navys no good hundreds of miles away right!!

      January 1, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Reply
      • Observer

        Years and years ago they invented these things called airplanes and later were developed into jets that really can cover those distances in minutes literally, but as I had read earlier the support group they were using was hours away and if there was someone closer why weren't they contacted, that all I was saying man.

        January 1, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
  9. OffTheWorldPolitics

    I knew this as soon as the pictures were released..... The whole idea that this was related to a movie was an attempt to sweep things under the rug.

    December 31, 2012 at 10:25 am | Reply

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