WASHINGTON – Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Maine, on December 31, 2012, released their final, bipartisan work product together, a report on the security deficiencies at the temporary U.S. Mission in Benghazi that led to the deaths of four Americans, including Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens.
The report determined there was a high risk of a “significant” terrorist attack on U.S. employees and facilities in Benghazi in the months before the September 11, 2012, assault on the Mission, and the State Department failed to take adequate steps to reduce the Mission’s vulnerability. The State Department’s decisions about security were influenced by the lack of specific actionable intelligence, the report said, because the intelligence community was insufficiently focused on extremist groups with no operational ties to core al Qaeda or its main affiliates.
The report also found that the attack occurred because government officials “failed to imagine the type of attack that occurred” – a finding reminiscent of the 9/11 Commission’s account of why the federal government failed to uncover and avert the 9/11 attacks.
“U.S. and Western diplomats, and other personnel operating in the Middle East and other countries where these terrorists use violence to further their religious extremist agenda and thwart democratic reforms are increasingly at risk,” the report concludes. “We must remain ever vigilant against the terrorist threat, and we owe it to our public servants abroad to protect them as they work to protect us.”
Read the full report here.