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.

"One overall conclusion in this report is that Congress must do its part to meet this challenge and provide necessary resources to the State Department to address security risks and meet mission imperatives," the report said.

In a letter to the chairmen of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee - the committees charged with oversight of the State Department - Clinton said work was already beginning on the implementation of all of the board's recommendations.

State Department: Clinton not dodging Benghazi hearings

"Because of steps we began taking in the hours and days after the attacks, this works is well underway," Clinton said in letters addressed to Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. R-Florida. "We will have implementation of every recommendation underway by the time the next Secretary of State takes office. There is no higher priority for me or my department.

The report called on the State Department to review the "proper balance" between risk and expected outcomes in in high threat posts, but acknowledged the overall answer "cannot be to refrain from operating in such environment."

One such recommendation was for the establishment of a panel of independent experts with experience in high-threat environments to help identify best practices and regularly evaluate security practices at high-risk U.S. posts overseas. It also called for establishing "multi-bureau support" cells that could help expedite physical security measures and appropriate staffing and equipment for high threat missions before their opening.

The board "strongly" endorsed the State Department's request for increased diplomatic security personnel at high risk posts.

"The Department should assign key policy, program, and security personnel at high risk, high threat posts for a minimum of one year," the report said. "For less critical personnel, the (temporary duty length) should be no less than 120 days."

With added focus on countries in the Middle East, the board also recommended that the State Department upgrade its roster of Arabic-speaking American employees, with the proper amount of resources being granted to do so.

Given the that Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens died of smoke inhalation after attackers set fire to his compound in Benghazi, the board said the State Department "should ensure provision of adequate fire safety and security equipment for safe havens and safe areas" in such facilities like the compound in Benghazi. It also called for an upgrade of surveillance cameras at such locations with greater resolution and nighttime visibility.

And the analysis of intelligence and threats at dangerous posts like Benghazi must be reviewed as well the report said.

"Careful attention should be given to factors showing a deteriorating threat situation in general as a basis for improving security posture," the board said in its report. "Key trends must be quickly identified and used to sharpen risk calculations."

While the board said it was "humbled by the courage and integrity" shown by the actions on the ground in Libya who responded to the attack, it did recommend a revision of Department regulations to allow greater personal accountability of senior officials in similar situations in the future.

In her letter to the committee chairmen outlining steps the State Department is already taking, Clinton said she was implementing additional reforms beyond those recommended by the board including an annual review of high threat posts chaired by the Secretary of State.

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Filed under: Benghazi • Congress • Libya • State Department
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Gilley


    There are none so blind as those who will not see.Condemnation prior to investigation is stupidity.
    Question One-Was there an investigation about the showing of the controersial Video?
    Question Two-What Date and Time was it shown around the Date and Time of the occurence?
    Question Three-Was it released by the State Department?
    Question Four-Who Authorized the release of the video?
    Question Five-Who Released it for vewing?
    Question Six-Did you determine that persons political leanings?.
    If you answer no to any of the questions re do your research,the report you received from the investigation
    is seriously flawed or delibertly misconstrued.

    December 20, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply

    December 20, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  2. Evergreen

    Lets fix these problems so that we reduce the risk of something like this happening again. Also our government carries out many types of operations around the world, please respect the need to keep some information classified.

    December 20, 2012 at 10:04 am | Reply
  3. StanCalif

    Notably absent from all this discussion on the Benghazi incident:
    Why was Amb. Stevens in Benghazi, what was his "mission"?
    When repeated requests for additional security were denied, why did he choose to remain?
    (He should have terminated his "business" and returned to our protected embassy in Tripoli)
    What was Stevens thinking when he chose to remain in Benghazi on the anniversary of 9/11?

    Everyone wants to "blame" Obama first, then Hillary Clinton! Doesn't Amb. Stevens deserve any criticism for his extremely poor judgement? Dig deeper into this! Just maybe, Stevens had "other reasons" for staying in Benghazi – possibly yet another scandal involving an amourous affair!!! Men make their worst decisions when there is a female involved and need to hide it!

    December 20, 2012 at 8:40 am | Reply
  4. lily

    This doesn't really make sense if you think about it. Rather than take a myopic approach and blame the Obama administration we should note that the attackers and the republican share a religious conservative ideology.
    It would be like liberals attacked an American embassy somewhere and the American left blamed the right.

    December 19, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Reply
    • palval

      You, my dear, are so far off base that you should be banned from the game.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Reply
    • jonny

      Dont think you are even close, left or right these types who attack and kill as in bengahzi share nothing with us.

      December 20, 2012 at 10:54 am | Reply
  5. Michigan Mom

    and just think, they are already talking about Hilary running for President in 2016... ..I hope her concussion is healed by then!!!! Losers, all of them.

    December 19, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  6. Steve

    I read this story on Yahoo why did CNN not tell that the finding tell that the people responsible for the deaths were the people who attacked the embasy and killed those inside are the reason they are dead that way a quote from the report.
    All I am saying is dont leave some parts out.

    December 19, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  7. DR. Zuess

    Well, at least a TV Director is in jail.

    December 19, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Reply
  8. ron

    This is just another chance for the Obumer Administration to cover their tracks with more lies and deception. Of course all the Bush haters will now respond to this comment about how Bush was worse than Obumer. The difference is that the Lame Stream Media gives Obumer a free pass on all of this. After all they are the ones who got him elected.......twice.

    December 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Reply
    • blackraze

      Hey Ronald, more respect for YOUR President, bozo. And yes, Bush was far worse in regards to lying and deceiving the world. Idiot.

      December 19, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Reply
      • jds

        Is that going to be the excuse for the next 4 years ? Why don't we let Charles Manson out of prison because Adam Lanza was much worse. Take off your blinders, Obama is not the Messiah.

        December 20, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  9. RCCA

    Total BS, so much so that I am embarrassed as an American. What was Stevens doing in Libya that he was targeted by Al Qaeda affiliates and why was there a decision NOT to give him better security when his consulate had already been breached by mortar attack? Why was he not provided with military assistance when the attack began? Why was there an order to "stand down?" And who was responsible at the time for the "intelligence" that this was a spontaneous demonstration against a video that lead our illustrious leaders to fall all over themselves apologizing for hurting the religious feelings of radical Muslim extremists? Lady Liberty weeps for our nation.

    December 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Reply
    • palval

      Interesting, RCCA, that CNN can't find the space to really let loose on this. Resignations, illness, of the worst stories to come out in years and yet, there's hardly a mention of it today. Can you imagine what coverage a Republican gov't would get over this? Sure hope the newby at the helm there can be more impartial..or is he there already. Shame.The media will take America down, wait and see.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Reply
  10. wjmccartan

    I'm a Canadian and I think that with all that military muscle on the water close by the marines should have been sent in from minute one. Why that wasn't done makes me shake my head. When someone says help, there should be no other thought then to send troops as fast as possible from any point on the compass, sort out who was there first and why later, the priority was to save the ambassador and I'm quite sure he wouldn't have cared where the help came from. That's next, what the hell were the Lybian government doing once the received a mayday from the consulate. If it takes a few more people to make sure this never happens again, then its worth the cost. All of this should be the pervue of the military though, they at least would go first and ask questions later.

    Just a thought.

    December 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Reply
  11. beauville

    And after the attack President Obama gives a little 2 minute speech in the Rose Garden and then runs off too Vegas? And he get's away with that? That's offensive too.

    December 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Reply
  12. beauville

    It is inexcusable that the current Administration left that Embassy unprotected. And no one is being held accountable? !! That’s offensive.

    December 19, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Reply
    • blackraze

      Budget cuts form the House, run by the repubs.

      December 19, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Reply
      • palval

        BULL PUCKY!!

        December 19, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  13. Portland tony

    Appointing a new level of bureaucracy is not going to improve our security in unstable countries. If our intelligence services can't assess the risks, no diplomatic security czar sitting in foggy bottom can do any better!

    December 19, 2012 at 11:27 am | Reply
  14. massoud

    Solyndra ,Fast and Furious, Benghazi just another day in the life of transparency for the Obama Administration. I can.t wait for the next 4 years of concealment of facts and obfuscation of this current Administration they sure keep it interesting.

    December 19, 2012 at 3:39 am | Reply
    • kilowatt23

      I always enjoy the blather that comes from one who has their head buried in Limbaughs butt.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:16 am | Reply
      • Jarad

        Kilowatt23 you really must think this administration is truely transparent. WOW!!! Obama is going to bankrupt this country at tune of over 20 trillion! Time to get your own head out of your a$$, and smell the true STINK! This administration. Catach a wiff!

        December 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
      • massoud

        Hey Llbtard I do not support the Democ-RAT or Republican party

        December 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
      • palval

        Another classy response from the left....dare we expect anything else?

        December 19, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Portland tony

      Any ideas on whether or not they found Saddam's WMDs?

      December 19, 2012 at 11:32 am | Reply
      • massoud

        Hey Libtard I do not support the Democ-Rat part or the Republican party

        December 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • palval

      We can only hope for impeachment. More blunders are undoubtedly on their way.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Reply
  15. Dick Gozinyia

    Stand by for whitewash of Obama, et al.
    Utter disgrace from him down.

    December 19, 2012 at 1:45 am | Reply
  16. wallaceboy

    Once more, it is the "cover up" that is the issue. HC is not to blame but an admin. that is solely focused on it's image. How many mistakes should we allow Barry and his PR machine? This guy must go...

    December 19, 2012 at 1:06 am | Reply
    • kilowatt23

      Try reading the story.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:17 am | Reply
  17. el dono

    Or....stay the h**l out of these countries. We are not nor shall we be the policemen of the World.

    December 19, 2012 at 12:23 am | Reply
  18. Rick Buggy's Rants & Ravings

    Reblogged this on Rick Buggy's Rants & Ravings.

    December 18, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Reply

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