The Senate Intelligence Committee's conclusion that the deadly terrorist attacks in Benghazi were preventable points to "scathing" policy failures and cover-ups within the Obama administration, says national security expert Bill Gertz.
"This is a scathing report which criticizes the State Department and the intelligence community for not having the correct information and then not acting on that information," Gertz told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"This is focusing on the intelligence. There were policy failures that went along with that, and this is a serious problem. The administration, obviously, has been trying to cover this up and hide these failures."
On Wednesday, the committee blamed the State Department and intelligence agencies for not preventing attacks that killed on U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Libya on Sept. 11, 2012.
In its long-awaited report, the committee said State Department failed to increase security at its diplomatic headquarters despite warnings of possible terrorist activity.
"The next step here is who's going to be held accountable for these failures, and that's really the key," Gertz said Wednesday.
"It's not simply enough to just say that, hey, there were mistakes made, there were failures, there need to be steps taken to hold people accountable for those failures because four Americans . . . were killed."
Gertz, the national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon, said misinformation is still a problem.
"Within the past several weeks the administration has just identified Ansar al-Sharia, one of the groups involved in the attack, as an al-Qaida affiliate," Gertz said.
"Even up to a week ago, the State Department spokeswoman was denying that this Ansar al-Sharia was an al-Qaida affiliate. In other words, because it wasn't 'central al-Qaida.'
"So, this whole narrative is beginning to unravel and, again, the next step is we've got to get answers to why this happened and what was going on."
Gertz said that when the attack occurred it was a "heated" presidential election period.
"The White House had put out a narrative that al-Qaida was on the decline, and here was evidence that al-Qaida was not on the decline," he said.
"In fact, [it] had conducted an attack on the biggest anniversary of the most significant terrorist attack on American soil that was ever carried out."
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