The State Department’s "back to business as usual" attitude a year after the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi and the "negligence" of one of its top officials is as troubling – and dangerous – as the lack of arrests in the deadly strike, former Navy SEAL Brandon Webb said Wednesday.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV, the Navy veteran and author of "Benghazi: The Definitive Report," said the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Libya that killed four people "is a case study in American foreign policy that’s lost its path."
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"It’s back to business as usual in the State Department and it puts further American lives at risk," Webb said, asking, "and who has been held accountable at the Department of State for what happened there?”
"Everyone that we've spoken to at the State Department – and there's a lot of great people there and American patriots – but all roads seem to lead back to [undersecretary for management Patrick] Kennedy and . . . his negligence just can't be ignored in my opinion and he's getting a free pass."
Patrick Kennedy, a career State Department official, has come under scrutiny
after recent findings of a panel appointed to review diplomatic security in the aftermath of the attack on the State Department outpost.
"[T]he problems cited by the panel focus largely on security management issues in Kennedy’s operation," Al Jazeera America reported
. And The New York Times reported the findings "implicitly criticize Mr. Kennedy’s office as not paying enough attention to the bureau that oversees security at 275 installations."
"I find it disturbing that we can't police up our own within the State Department," Webb told Newsmax. "And I go back to Patrick Kennedy… This is a guy that was explaining away failed or denied security requests in 1998 Africa-US Embassy bombing. So if anyone should know better and have him being in that position, it should have been Patrick Kennedy — and he denied or wavered around the security requests and left his people hanging. … why aren't we holding our own people accountable as well as trying to bring the folks that were responsible to justice as well?"
Webb noted that although the Justice Department has indicted suspects – and that intelligence officials reportedly know where they are hiding – none have been brought to justice.
"Our sources within the State Department and FBI have said a lot of the FBI's work is getting blocked by the State Department," he said. "They're receiving documents with pages of redacted notes so the cooperation just isn't where it should be. The FBI has developed that list of suspects, there's been suspects in custody in Pakistan and in Egypt and other places and they're just not being allowed to pursue these suspects.."
Webb said the lack of cooperation underscores how the U.S. needs "to really reshape and think about how we conduct our foreign policy."
"You see now situations like we have developing in Syria where as much as the Assad regime probably needs to go, it's what happens next — and that's what happened in Libya when you topple Gadhafi and it's what next? It's this void and chaos right now bordering on a civil war in itself."
Webb said he believes President Obama wants to bring the Benghazi suspects to justice – nor is Webb worried the Joint Special Operations Command would "operate unilaterally" in Libya.
But he stops short of endorsing drone strikes to bring about justice.
"I am a fan of due process and giving everyone their day in court," he said. "… I would much rather have bad men go free than see our civil liberties and what we stand for in this country to be tarnished."
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