Improvement in security needed in wake of report
A report this week from an independent investigative panel appears to have finally gotten to the bottom of what happened in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11. It confirmed the long-standing fears that there had been a serious shortfall in security preparations by the State Department.
But it indicated there was plenty of blame to go around, including for Congress, which the panel said did not provide adequate funding.
The central message of the report was summed up thusly: “Systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place.”
The panel, which was appointed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, did not recommend any disciplinary actions, but it didn't take long for the aftermath of the report's conclusion to be felt. One State Department official resigned and three others were relieved of their duties and put on administrative leave. Clinton, who had already planned to leave office at the end of the year, has already acknowledged her overall responsibility. She said some of the panel's recommendations are already being implemented.
Some who believe the Obama administration played election politics with the incident will undoubtedly remain dissatisfied even with this scathing report. But it gets to the heart of what needs to happen and that is improved security at our diplomatic facilities around the world.
The reality is that terrorists can strike anywhere in the world and will look for vulnerabilities. No U.S. embassy or consulate is entirely safe, and all must be provided with proper security. That may well require additional funding from Congress.
One concern is that some nations, which have the responsibility for protecting our diplomatic posts, may not be up to the job. Those nations need to be identified, and there needs to be an insistence by our government that we be allowed to provide our own security forces if we feel it is necessary. If this is rejected, then those posts should be closed until it is allowed.
The world is too dangerous in today's environment of terrorism, especially for the United States, to be lackadaisical about security, either by the host country or our own forces.