Benghazi review slams State Department on security

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Associated Press

Posted on December 19, 2012 at 11:32 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The leaders of an independent panel that looked into the September attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya are explaining their findings to Congress today behind closed doors.

The two most senior members of the Accountability Review Board, retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are discussing classified details of their findings with the House and Senate foreign affairs committees today.

An unclassified version of the report was released late yesterday. It says security at the mission in Benghazi was "grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place" on Sept. 11, when the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed.

The report blames "systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels" of the State Department.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says in a letter that she accepts all of the panel's recommendations for improving security at high-threat embassies and consulates, and says some are already being implemented.

Tomorrow, two senior State Department officials will testify at open congressional hearings on the matter. Clinton had been scheduled to testify, but canceled last week after fainting and suffering a concussion.

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125-c-14-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP national security correspondent)-"is already implementing"-AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports the panel is issuing nearly 30 recommendations for boosting security at high-risk diplomatic outposts. (19 Dec 2012)

<<CUT *125 (12/19/12)>> 00:14 "is already implementing"

124-v-30-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP national security correspondent)--An independent review panel is slamming the State Department over security lapses before the deadly Libya consulate attack. AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports. (19 Dec 2012)

<<CUT *124 (12/19/12)>> 00:30

126-c-21-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP national security correspondent)-"off warning bells"-AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports the panel doesn't seem to have broken new ground regarding the attack itself. (19 Dec 2012)

<<CUT *126 (12/19/12)>> 00:21 "off warning bells"

APPHOTO WX107: FILE - In this April 11, 2011, file photo, then U.S. envoy Chris Stevens attends meetings at the Tibesty Hotel where an African Union delegation was meeting with opposition leaders in Benghazi, Libya. An independent review board is set to reveal its findings on the Sept. 11 attack in Libya that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, a report the administration hopes will bolster its assertion that diplomats took all reasonable measures to anticipate and respond to the violence, and end months of finger-pointing and recriminations over whether the deaths could have been avoided. Diplomats and intelligence officers alike have testified to the rising risk in Benghazi and growing debate over how to improve security prior to the attack, set against Ambassadors Chris Stevens' decision to keep the Benghazi diplomatic post open and even visit there on Sept. 11. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File) (11 Apr 2011)

<<APPHOTO WX107 (04/11/11)>>

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