Senate Intelligence Committee Releases Benghazi Report

This morning the Senate intelligence committee released its long-delayed report on the attack of the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya.  The report, which includes a series of more than a dozen findings on the attack, concludes that the government did not meet the proper standard of care necessary for protection of its diplomatic outpost.  The committee found that both the State Department and the intelligence community share in the blame for the attack.  As the Washington Post reports, “the State Department failed to increase security at the sites despite warnings, and [the report] faults intelligence agencies for not sharing information about the existence of the CIA outpost with the U.S. military.”

We are still working our way through the report, but stay tuned for analysis on its findings and recommendations from Andy Wright–who has covered congressional oversight of the Benghazi attacks in depth in earlier posts.

The report concludes by stating:

In the year since Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty were killed during the terrorist attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, the Senate Intelligence Committee has worked to understand the events leading up to, during, and after these attacks. Although this report does not attempt to address every aspect of this tragedy, we believe it identifies important findings and recommendations that will improve our intelligence analysis, priorities, and capabilities and help ensure the future safety of U.S. personnel serving overseas.

We recognize, particularly in this post-9/11 era, that the risk to U.S. diplomatic, military, and intelligence officials around the world remains high. We cannot eliminate this risk, but we can and must do more to minimize the potential harm to the men and women who, understanding and accepting this risk, have chosen to serve the United States abroad. Unfortunately, as we learned in Benghazi, the tactical intelligence that can warn of an imminent threat is not always present. This cannot be an excuse for inaction, however. It is imperative that the Intelligence Community position itself to anticipate, rather than just react to, potential terrorism hotspots and changing dynamics on the ground, and that U.S. personnel and facilities overseas are equipped to immediately defend against and withstand any potential attack. It is also imperative that those in decision making positions in Washington, D.C. heed the concerns and wisdom of those on the front lines and make resource and security decisions with those concerns in mind. The United States government did not meet this standard of care in Benghazi, but we believe this report’s findings and recommendations will help avoid similar tragedies.

The Committee honors the lives and sacrifices of the four American heroes Who died in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. We also recognize those who came to their aid or mobilized assistance in their defense. This report cannot in any way compensate for the sacrifices of these individuals, but it is our hope that We can, as a nation, resolve to do all that is needed to protect the lives and well-being of every American citizen serving this country abroad.

 

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About the Author(s)

Thomas Earnest

Former Managing Editor of Just Security (2013-14) Follow him on Twitter (@thomasdearnest).