U.S. Congress reports Benghazi attacks could have been prevented

27 Janvier 2014

On Wednesday 15, the U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence issued an investigation report that concluded that the September 2012 Benghazi attack – which murdered four Americans including Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens – could have been prevented if the security had been strengthened.

It is based on the 29 recommendations made by the Benghazi Accountability Review Board (ARB) on December 19, 2012. Here goes the very first recommendation: “The Department [of State] must strengthen the security for personnel and platforms beyond traditional reliance on host government security support in high risk, high threat posts.”

The investigators auditioned and interviewed a dozen people who had survived the two assaults on the anniversary of 9/11. They targeted both the American diplomatic mission and the nearby CIA annex.

The attacks brought about a great political scandal and commotion in the whole of the U.S. The Republicans had first accused the Obama administration for trying to conceal the terrorist characteristic of the attacks. Though later belied, the administration argued that the heavily armed assailants had only been stirred by Innocence of Muslims, an anti-Muslim You Tube video.

“Deteriorating security situation”

The ARB, together with the GOP, had rapped the many systemic security failures and the ease with which the attackers managed to enter the diplomatic mission.

The 85-page bipartisan report released last Wednesday states that the Department of State did not sufficiently react to the several caveats on the “deteriorating security situation” in East Libya, and on the risks run by the American personnel. “State Department officials, including Ambassador Stevens, were aware of, and had regular access to, threat reporting on Libya.” One should remember the “two incidents at the Temporary Mission Facility on April 6 and June 6, 2012.”

However, Congress does not blame the CIA’s response to the attacks. The Company contributed to the evacuation and rescue of tens of Americans working in Benghazi. As for the army, the report adds that they could have been even more prepared to an “emergency operation”, though the soldiers are not condemned for their role on that very night.

The Obama administration accepted the previous conclusions on Wednesday. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stated that the report “largely reaffirms the findings reached by the independent Benghazi Accountability Review Board” of December 2012. […] the administration is focused on two pieces: bringing to justice those responsible for the deaths of four Americans, and making sure that we take the steps necessary to improve the security at vulnerable facilities.”

The report further attempts to clarify the confusion which had discredited the administration’s first statements in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. The GOP had reproached Obama for trying to cover the issue up, leading to heated debates.

The Committee adds that the CIA analysts did not have “sufficient intelligence or eyewitness statements to corroborate [the] assertion” according to which protestors were demonstrating against Innocence of Muslims.

The Department of State eventually revealed that it was however somewhat complicated to ascertain how the attacks could have been averted. “Obviously, we’ve talked at length about the fact that we knew there were extremists and terrorists operating in Libya and in Benghazi. But again, we had no specific information indicating a threat, an attack was coming”, reported Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson for the Department of State. The report should from now on spark off a real controversy on the responsibility of the Department of State, then ruled by Hillary Clinton. Not to mention that those responsible for the attacks, however identified, have not been arrested by the American or the Lebanese authorities. 


William Mouelle Makolle
Etudes anglophones. Passionné par l'histoire et la politique américaine. Admirateur de la... En savoir plus sur cet auteur