Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee have slammed Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in an addendum to a bipartisan report on the attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.
"The tenure of … General Martin Dempsey, has been marked by what we view as significant deficiencies in command," reads the addendum, signed by GOP Sens. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Jim Risch of Idaho, Dan Coats of Indiana, Marco Rubio of Florida and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, reports Stars and Stripes.
"From Syria to Benghazi, there has been either a profound inability or clear unwillingness to identify and prevent problems before they arise. Given the known operating environment in Benghazi, much less North Africa, a strong military leader would have ensured there was a viable plan in place to rescue Americans should the need arise."
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was the only Republican on the committee who did not sign the addendum, which countered Dempsey's argument that a rescue operation was not feasible in Benghazi.
"General Dempsey's attempts to excuse inaction by claiming that forces were not deployed because they would not have gotten there in time does not pass the common sense test. No one knew when the attacks against our facilities in Benghazi would end, or how aggressive the attacks would be. That is the whole point of a pre-established emergency rescue plan—so that the length of the attack alone does not dictate the rescue or survival of Americans," the six senators said.
A spokesman for Dempsey has supported the general's claims. "Our forces were ordered to respond upon notification of the attack. But the fact remains, as we have repeatedly indicated, that U.S. military forces could not have arrived in time to mount a rescue of those Americans who were killed and injured that night," Colonel Edward Thomas told the Daily Beast.
Until now, most of the blame for the assault that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead has been placed on President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Initial investigations by House Republicans found evidence that the State Department refused requests from personnel in the field for more equipment and manpower, according to the Daily Beast.
The latest report, though, also suggested that Clinton bears the ultimate responsibility. "The Temporary Million Facility in Benghazi did not meet the security standards set by the State Department," said the Republicans on the intelligence panel.
"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.
Obama nominated Dempsey, 61, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, following the recommendation of then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The four-star general took over in April 2011 after getting unanimous support in the Senate. Before his appointment, Dempsey was Chief of Staff of the Army.
Dempsey was severely criticized by Republicans led by Sen. John McCain of Arizona during his renomination hearings
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