The Benghazi failure
The latest report on last year's tragedy at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya — this one from the Senate Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee — paints a devastating picture of the State Department's failure to prepare for such an attack.
The consulate already had been attacked twice before Sept. 11. The report says State made “a grievous mistake” by not closing it long before, despite knowing that Libyan authorities couldn't protect it and that Benghazi was a hotbed of Islamist extremism.
Nor had State and the Department of Defense “jointly assessed the availability of U.S. assets ... in event of a crisis,” leaving Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans who were killed without military help “close enough to reach Benghazi in a timely fashion.”
The report also says U.S. intelligence agencies quickly knew the attack was not a spontaneous reaction to a U.S.-made, anti-Muslim video but the work of al-Qaida-linked Libyan militia Ansar al-Shariah, which publicly claimed responsibility.
Yet mention of Ansar al-Shariah's role was removed from declassified “talking points” on the attack to “protect sources and methods.”
That's unlikely to end concerns about why it took the Obama White House so long after the attack to label it as what it plainly was: terrorism. And many, at State and elsewhere, remain to be held fully accountable for their roles in a textbook case of how not to protect a U.S. diplomatic mission.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.