An independent inquiry into the September 11 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi that killed the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans has found that systematic failures at the State Department led to “grossly” inadequate security at the mission.
The report, unclassified section of which was made public on Tuesday, is highly critical to the State Department for a lack of seasoned security personnel and for depending on untested local militias to safeguard the Benghazi compound.
The Accountability Review Board (ARB) for Benghazi in its report determined that systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place.
“Security in Benghazi was not recognised and implemented as a ‘shared responsibility’ by the bureaus in Washington charged with supporting the post, resulting in stove-piped discussions and decisions on policy and security,” the report said.
“Embassy Tripoli did not demonstrate strong and sustained advocacy with Washington for increased security for Special Mission Benghazi,” said the report of the ARB, which was chaired by former US Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Admiral (rtd) Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The two officials would testify before the two Congressional committees in closed doors today.
“Overall, the number of Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) 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 report said.
“Board members found a pervasive realisation among personnel who served in Benghazi that the Special Mission was not a high priority for Washington when it came to security-related requests, especially those relating to staffing,” it added.