Report on Benghazi Attack Falls Short on Investigation

Morgan Lorraine Roach /

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.

Absent from the report are answers to four key questions that would provide significant insight into how diplomatic security in Benghazi was assessed and managed:

Until answers to these four questions are adequately addressed, the investigation into the attack on the mission in Benghazi will remain incomplete.

See additional papers:

Lessons from Benghazi: Rethinking U.S. Diplomatic Security

Benghazi Terrorist Attack: Select Committee Needed to Investigate