Senate report faults State Department in Benghazi attack
A report by the Senate called the State Department's choice to keep a US mission open in Benghazi a mistake. The report also faulted the intelligence community for a lack of specific information surrounding the deadly Sept. 11 attack in Libya, in which four Americans were killed.
The State Department's decision to keep the U.S. mission in Benghazi open despite inadequate security and increasingly dangerous threat assessments before it was attacked in September was a "grievous mistake," a Senate report said on Monday.Skip to next paragraph
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The Senate Homeland Security Committee's report about the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. mission and a nearby annex, which killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, faulted intelligence agencies for not having enough focus on Libyan extremists. It also faulted the State Department for waiting for specific warnings instead of acting on security.
The assessment follows a scathing report by an independent State Department accountability review board that resulted in a top security official and three others at the department stepping down.
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The attack, in which U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens died, has put diplomatic security practices at posts in insecure areas under scrutiny and raised questions about whether intelligence on terrorism in the region was adequate.
The Senate report said the lack of specific intelligence of an imminent threat in Benghazi "may reflect a failure" in the intelligence community's focus on terrorist groups that have weak or no operational ties to al Qaeda and its affiliates.
"With Osama bin Laden dead and core al Qaeda weakened, a new collection of violent Islamist extremist organizations and cells have emerged in the last two to three years," the report said. That trend has been seen in the "Arab Spring" countries undergoing political transition or military conflict, it said.