In testimony before the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will have an opportunity to show Washington what it means to “take full responsibility” for the Benghazi disaster. At a very minimum, it should mean providing real answers.
As the Obama team from the day of the attack itself chose obfuscation and blame shifting over accountability, it is hard to imagine that Clinton today will make real news. It will be recalled that from President Obama to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, for several weeks the Administration peddled the line that the well-orchestrated terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi was the result of offense taken to a silly YouTube movie trailer. In the Rose Garden, on the Sunday talk shows, at the United Nations, the Administration’s line was repeated almost verbatim. The message they sent Americans—and the world—was not only factually wrong, but also failed to defend American principles like freedom of expression.
Senators and Representatives have had time to digest the Accountability Review Board’s (ARB) report on Benghazi, which at least fleshed out the failings within the State Department that left the U.S. ambassador so woefully underprotected. The report pointed to inadequate diplomatic security stemming from Congress’s supposed cuts to the State Department budget, Libyan militias charged with defending the facility, and Ambassador Chris Stevens’s own determination to make the visit to Benghazi. It also highlighted the stark lack of leadership and bureaucratic stove-piping within the State Department, for which Clinton surely has to account.
The congressional hearings still need to seek answers to the following four questions regarding systemic failures in intelligence and security:
What counterterrorism and early warning measures were in place to proactively address security threats? The report states that “intelligence provided no immediate, specific tactical warning of the September 11 attacks.” However, it did not provide an assessment of the counterterrorism measures that were in place to address the threat of extremist activity.
Read More at heritage.org . By Helle Dale.
Photo Credit: marcn (Creative Commons)