House GOP Report: Hillary Was 'Aware' of Benghazi Security Lapses

Friday, 07 Feb 2014 08:58 PM

By Cathy Burke

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House Republicans Friday released a blistering new report saying former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “was certainly aware” of security problems in Libya before the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, blasting her and successor John Kerry for failing to hold anyone accountable.

The report written by staff members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s GOP majority cited problems with the State Department’s Accountability Review Board examination of the attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, The Washington Times reported.

And despite the Obama administration’s assertion that review board examination shows the blame for the attack lies with lower-level employees, the House report says Clinton should have been held accountable – and both she and Kerry failed to fire anyone for security breaches that led to the deaths of Stevens, State Department staffer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, the Times reported.

“Systemic failures at the State Department during Secretary Clinton’s tenure resulted in a grossly inadequate security posture in Benghazi,” the report states, according to the Times.

“These vulnerabilities contributed to the deaths of four Americans, including the first U.S. ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1979.”

The House report notes Clinton’s own testimony saying she was aware of security concerns, even as other reviews point out she didn’t know specifics, including that some requests for added security or military protection were denied, the Times reported.

A separate review released last month by the Democratic-controlled Senate intelligence committee found the State Department should have done more to ramp up security but that Stevens didn’t ask for more protection just before the attack.

Stevens’ deputy, however, has said it was the State Department that didn’t want the extra security.

The new report also found “talking points” tying the attack to a protest proved top State Department officials were more concerned about reputations than facts and accountability, USA Today reported.

The bloody attack came less than two months before President Obama ran for re-election, and Republicans, including Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, have charged the State Department and White House downplayed security concerns in Libya because they wanted to make it seem the United States’ role in Libya was a success and that terrorism was diminishing, USA Today reported.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told USA Today she disagrees with the report's findings.

"There was a thorough investigation, including interviews with more than a 100 people, and thousands of documents were reviewed," Psaki said. "We're focused on continuing to implementing the recommendations of the ARB report."

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