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December 19. 2012 11:16PM

Benghazi failures: Accountabiity and questions

The U.S. State Department knowingly left U.S. personnel in Libya with substandard security despite repeated requests for upgrades, an independent review has concluded. And again we return to the main questions, still unanswered.

"Systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department (the 'Department') resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place," concluded the Accountability Review Board report, released this week.

"Overall, the number of Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) security staff in Benghazi on the day of the attack and in the months and weeks leading up to it was inadequate, despite repeated requests from Special Mission Benghazi and Embassy Tripoli for additional staffing," the review concluded. It noted that "the Special Mission was not a high priority for Washington when it came to security-related requests, especially those relating to staffing" and that the "security platform was at variance with the appropriate Overseas Security Policy Board (OSPB) standards with respect to perimeter and interior security."

Why those requests went unanswered remains a mystery, as does the reason why the administration repeatedly mentioned protests against an offensive video when such protests never happened. The American people and the families of those who died still need answers to these questions. Three fall guys have resigned over the report. But the most important questions, including who is ultimately responsible, remain unanswered.


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