US STATE DEPT. (USA), AFP
An independent inquiry has criticized the State Department for inadequate security at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on the day of the September attack that killed four American government personnel including Ambassador John Christopher Stevens.
The 39-page unclassified report, which also cited intelligence failures, focused much of its attention on the on-site security at the Consulate: “Systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place.”
The report cites the "remarkable heroism shown by American personnel" during the Sept 11 assault, but says the response was inadequate "in the face of a series of attacks that began with the sudden penetration of the Special Mission compound by dozens of armed attackers.”
The Board also cited intelligence failures and a lack of "understanding of extremist militias in Libya and the potential threat they posed to U.S. interests, although some threats were known to exist.”
The report concludes by saying that despite the shortfalls, "no individual U.S. Government employee engaged in misconduct or willfully ignored his or her responsibilities."
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she accepted "every one" of 29 recommendations made by the inquiry and was working to boost global security, according to the AFP.
In a letter to U.S. lawmakers, she said the State Department was partnering with the Pentagon to "dispatch hundreds of additional Marine Security Guards to bolster our posts."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Photo U.S. State Department