Senate Report Blasts State Dept. on Benghazi

Lieberman-Collins report echoes independent probe

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 31, 2012 11:55 AM CST

(Newser) – The State Department didn't provide its Benghazi team with enough protection against possible threats, a bipartisan Senate report finds, marking the second slap at State this month over the Libya attack. What's more, intelligence pointed to the attack being the work of terrorists all along—but the Obama administration's comments in the aftermath were muddled and "contributed to the confusion in the public discourse" about just what went on, says the report, led by Sens. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins and obtained by Politico.

"Our investigation found that the terrorists essentially walked right into the Benghazi compound unimpeded and set it ablaze, due to extremely poor security in a threat environment that was 'flashing red,' in the words of a high-ranking official, the report finds. Further, the administration apparently ignored some of the diplomatic mission's requests for heightened safety precautions, Collins notes. Even in the face of "a large amount of evidence" that Libya was a “rapidly deteriorating threat environment," there was no "commensurate increase in security" at the mission. And failing to at least temporarily close the consulate was a "grievous mistake," the report says.

Glass, debris and overturned furniture are strewn inside a room in the gutted US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans.
Glass, debris and overturned furniture are strewn inside a room in the gutted US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans.   (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)
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