So, remember the (small) part of the Benghazi conspiracy theory where “they” ignored repeated warnings of security failures at the high-risk facility in Libya? Well, it turns out that, according to an internal government report, the State Department failed to address a series of security issues at America’s most vulnerable embassies for decades. But conservative Benghazi theorists who’d like to take the major scoop and run with it will face some cognitive dissonance: the documents were obtained by Al Jazeera America.
The report is a result of a recommendation by the State Department’s Accountability Review Board investigation into the Benghazi attacks. That report also found security failures by the State Department in the case of Benghazi. The internal panel, whose report is cited by Al Jazeera America, was chaired by former U.S. Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan. That report, which mentions 273 “significant attacks” on U.S. diplomatic facilities between 1998 and 2012, concluded:
— The State Department has an endemic lack of accountability on security issues. AJA explains:
the undersecretary for management oversees security issues while also handling many other responsibilities. A newly created undersecretary for diplomatic security would allow the State Department to better focus on security issues affecting diplomatic posts around the world.
— There’s a serious lack of review processes for the bureau responsible for embassy security:
The Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the State Department security arm created following the 1983 bombings of the U.S. Embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut, does not have a review process in place to learn from previous security failures.
— The survivors of Benghazi were never debriefed.
— Risk assessments of embassies and consulates in dangerous areas are determined by “experience and intuition.” At least some high-risk facilities lack an intelligence analyst on-site, and there’s no designated facility to train agents entering high-risk posts.
Al Jazeera, citing the report, calls the security at the Benghazi facility “porous” at best. So why did it stay open? They explain:
State Department officials effectively waived the security requirements. For years, the State Department has fostered a culture of waiving such requirements when officials choose not to meet them. “Waivers for not meeting security standards have become commonplace in the Department; however, without a risk management process to identify and implement alternate mitigating measures after a waiver has been given, Department employees, particularly those in high threat areas, could be exposed to an unacceptable level of risk,” Sullivan’s panel wrote.
The results indicate that the findings of the Benghazi agency apply broadly, and go back far. Meanwhile, Benghazi enthusiasts are still focusing on what actually interests them about the attack: how much of the tragedy they can blame personally on President Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Reprinted with permission from the Atlantic Wire. The original story can be found here.
What We're Following See More »
"North Korea said on Friday it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after President Donald Trump vowed to destroy the reclusive country, with leader Kim Jong Un promising to make Trump pay dearly for his threats. Kim did not specify what action he would take against the United States or Trump, whom he called a 'mentally deranged U.S. dotard' in the latest bout of insults the two leaders have traded in recent weeks."
President Trump this afternoon announced another round of sanctions on North Korea, calling the regime "a continuing threat." The executive order, which Trump relayed to Congress, bans any ship or plane that has visited North Korea from visiting the United States within 180 days. The order also authorizes sanctions on any financial institution doing business with North Korea, and permits the secretaries of State and the Treasury to sanction any person involved in trading with North Korea, operating a port there, or involved in a variety of industries there.
In response to a reporter's question, President Trump said "he’ll be looking to impose further financial penalties on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic tests. ... The U.N. has passed two resolutions recently aimed at squeezing the North Korean economy by cutting off oil, labor and exports to the nation." Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that South Korea's unification ministry is sending an $8m aid package aimed at infants and pregnant women in North Korea. The "humanitarian gesture [is] at odds with calls by Japan and the US for unwavering economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang."
President Trump on Tuesday night met with UN Secretary Guterres and President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak. In both cases, as per releases from the White House, Trump pressed them on the need to reform the UN bureaucracy.