Today, State Department officials testify before the Senate and House of Representatives’ respective foreign affairs committees on the findings of the Accountability Review Board’s (ARB) report on the September 11 terrorist attack against the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi.
Released yesterday, the report demonstrates the State Department’s profound failure to address diplomatic security in a high-risk area of operation.
To the disappointment of some in Congress, the report does not examine the interagency discussion in the months prior to the attack nor the White House’s response. Rather, it assesses the security procedures and systems at the U.S. mission in Benghazi and the effectiveness of their implementation.
Clearly there were many shortcomings. The ARB spreads the blame for inadequate diplomatic security from Congress’s supposed cuts to the State Department budget to the Libyan militias that were charged with defending the facility, to Ambassador Christopher Stevens himself. It also highlights the stark lack of leadership and bureaucratic stovepiping within the State Department.