About the Show

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

The latest news on the crisis in Ukraine, plus a look at the technology aiding in search for Flight 370.

The latest news on the crisis in Ukraine, plus a look at the technology aiding in search for Flight 370.

January 15th, 2014
04:55 PM ET

Report: Benghazi attacks preventable

(CNN) - A newly declassified report states that the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi that claimed four American lives never had to happen.

A bipartisan study from the Senate Intelligence Committee blames the State Department for ignoring myriad warning signs about deteriorating security in Libya for months.

The attacks were preventable, both Democrats and Republicans agree in the report.

The attacks that horrific night killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Dougherty, and Tyrone Woods.

The bipartisan report faults the State Department, saying State Department officials ignored, didn't respond, or didn't fulfill cables asking for more security personnel.

"The security was inadequate and should have been beefed up," Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chair of the committee, told CNN Wednesday.

As for the attack itself, despite initial official statements, the intelligence community now believes there were no protests outside the Benghazi facility sparking the siege of the U.S. compound, the report states.

And despite claims the attacks were spontaneous, the "collective assessment of the intelligence community remains that the attacks 'were deliberate and organized.'"

U.S. officials - including then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice - contradicted that assessment in the aftermath of the attack.

"Our current, best assessment, based on the information that we have, is that what this began as is a spontaneous, not a premeditated, response to what had transpired in Cairo," Rice told ABC in October 2012.

But the report blames the intelligence community for Rice's misstatements, saying it did not correct its initial erroneous reporting quickly enough and causing confusion.

During that election season, there was much back and forth about whether terrorists were involved in the attack, and whether President Barack Obama used the term or avoided it.

Actually, he did both.

But either way, this report states that terrorist groups were involved in the onslaught, including two al Qaeda affiliates, and the group Ansar al Sharia.

The report gives no credence to the unsubstantiated allegation that the military could have possible saved the lives of the four Americans killed in the assault but had been given a stand down order.

"There were no U.S. military resources in position to intervene in short order in Benghazi to help defend the Temporary Mission Facility and its Annex on September 11 and 12, 2012," the report says.

Sadly, security conditions on the ground in Benghazi remain in tatters. Disturbingly, 15 individuals supporting the FBI's investigation have been killed in Benghazi since the attacks, the report notes. It is unclear if their deaths are related to the investigation.

Meanwhile, justice remains elusive.

"The terrorists who perpetrated the attacks have still not been brought to justice," says the report. "The FBI’s investigation…has been hampered by inadequate cooperation and a lack of capacity by foreign governments to hold these perpetrators accountable"

In a statement at the end of the report, Democrats on the committee assail others for "misinformed speculation and accusations long after the basic facts of the attacks have been determined."

In a separate statement, Republicans on the committee assail the Obama administration for refusing, or being unable "to attain accountability – from the attackers themselves and from those U.S. Government officials who made poor management decisions relating to the Benghazi facilities."

In particular, Republicans single out former Secretary of State and potential 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

"At the end of the day, she was responsible for ensuring the safety of all Americans serving in our diplomatic facilities. Her failure to do so clearly made a difference in the lives of the four murdered Americans and their families," Republicans state in the report.

Posted by ,
Filed under: World Lead
soundoff (No Responses)

Comments are closed.