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Panel finds what went wrong in Benghazi

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 19th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

An independent panel appointed by Hillary Clinton, has investigated the Sept. 11 Benghazi attacks and released its report, citing "systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies" at the State Department. The report did not suggest any members of the government were guilty of wrongdoing.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The board cited a lack of resources, more than anything else, as the reason for the terrorist's success on Sept. 11, 2012. The board also made a set of 24 recommendations to Clinton, which she said she will accept.

The review board consisted of Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering (Chairman), with Admiral Michael Mullen as Vice Chairman. Additional members were Catherine Bertini, Richard Shinnick, and Hugh Turner, who represented the intelligence community, according to the report.

The report quickly added that the criminal investigation which is still being conducted by the FBI, remains underway.

The purpose of the investigation was to determine where the fault for the tragedy actually lay. As with many tragedies, a multitude of things went wrong.

Among its findings, the report explained that the attacks were of a scale and intensity that was previously unconsidered. The report also stated that the attacks were just that, and no protest ever occurred.

The closest the report came to laying blame was to say that there was a "lack of transparency, responsiveness, and leadership at the senior levels," referring to leadership in Washington, Tripoli and Benghazi.

Specifically, no government entity advocated adequate security in Benghazi, despite previous warnings that the mission there could be under imminent threat.

"Embassy Tripoli did not demonstrate strong and sustained advocacy with Washington for increased security for Special Mission Benghazi," the report said.

The report also cited the lack of security and security problems including reliance on Libyan militias who were on recent strike over working hours and pay.

Ultimately, this reliance on local forces to provide security was the weakest link in the armor protecting the Benghazi Mission. On the night of the attacks, local security forces were not present because of disagreements and unarmed security fled in the face of the attacks.

There is also suspicion that the attackers had inside help, as they were able to breech the front gate of the compound with speed and relative ease.

The report finally says that little could be done, because there was little time for the military to react.

Despite the conclusion of the report that the attacks could not have been prevented or stopped, and that no government officials was responsible, the Obama administration still has much to answer for. Specifically, why did Obama and his staff insist for days afterwards that the attacks were the result of a protest that got out-of-hand versus simply stating the events were the result of terrorist action.

And why wasn't security stronger, given the inherent dangers of the region?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has pledged to accept the recommendations of the independent panel.

Read the unclassified portion of the report here.

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