A report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee has concluded that the attacks on U.S. outposts in Benghazi, Libya in September, 2012 could have been prevented.
I’m still reading through the full report myself, but some of the primary highlights so far are included below.
From the Washington Post:
A long-delayed Senate intelligence committee report released Wednesday spreads blame among the State Department and intelligence agencies for not preventing attacks on two outposts in Libya that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
The bipartisan report lays out more than a dozen findings regarding the assaults on Sept. 11 and 12, 2012, on a diplomatic compound and a CIA annex in the Libyan city of Benghazi. It says the State Department failed to increase security at its diplomatic mission despite warnings and faults intelligence agencies for not sharing information about the existence of the CIA outpost with the U.S. military.
The committee determined that the U.S. military command in Africa didn’t know about the CIA annex and that the Pentagon didn’t have the resources in place to defend the diplomatic compound in an emergency.
“The attacks were preventable, based on extensive intelligence reporting on the terrorist activity in Libya — to include prior threats and attacks against Western targets — and given the known security shortfalls at the U.S. Mission,” the panel said in a statement.
Beginning on page 9 of the Senate report, it goes on to list several examples of information that provided “ample strategic warning” of the deteriorating security situation in eastern Libya.
Another point mentioned in the report (page 5) is that of whether or not there was a “stand down” order.
The Committee explored claims that there was a “stand down” order given to the security team at the Annex. Although some members of the security team expressed frustration that they were unable to respond more quickly to the Mission compound, the Committee found no evidence of intentional delay or obstruction by the Chief of Base or any other party.
NPR addresses the issue of al Qaeda as noted in the Senate report (which can be found on pg 40):
On the issue of the role al-Qaida operatives played in the Benghazi attacks, the committee says that “individuals affiliated with terrorist groups” linked to that network “participated.” But, the report adds that “it remains unclear if any group or person exercised overall command and control of the attacks or whether extremist group leaders directed their members to participate.”
That conclusion puts the committee at least somewhat at odds with a New York Times report that concluded there is:
“No evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault. The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.”
The Senate report also recounts some of the details of the attack, a difficult account to revisit.
The majority of the report focuses primarily on security shortfalls and provides a number of recommendations aimed at helping to prevent security breaches in the future.
You can read the full Senate report here.DONATE
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