A Senate panel faults the State Department and intelligence agencies for failing to thwart the September 11, 2012 assault on American outposts in Benghazi and says that the attacks were “preventable.”
In a statement on the declassified report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee, lawmakers said that “the attacks were preventable, based on extensive intelligence reporting on the terrorist activity in Libya—to include prior threats and attacks against Western targets—and given the known security shortfalls at the U.S. Mission.”
The panel takes both the State Department and the intelligence community to task for failing to upgrading security despite the warning signs that an attack could happen. Its findings largely mirror those of an independent review board, which released its findings in December 2012.
"The State Department should have increased its security posture more significantly in Benghazi based on the deteriorating security situation on the ground and [intelligence community] threat reporting on the prior attacks against Westerners in Benghazi," the Senate report states.
The bipartisan report includes over a dozen recommendations for the prevention of future security breaches.
Its findings are based on a series of hearings, staff briefings and in-person meetings, interviews with U.S. personnel on the ground during the attacks, and reviews of documents.
The Benghazi attack left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
While members of the committee stated they have "differing views" on the controversial talking points provided to lawmakers by the CIA in the wake of the attack, lawmakers agree that intelligence officials should simply provide lawmakers the facts in the future.
"In responding to future requests for unclassified talking points from Congress, the Intelligence Community should simply tell Congress which facts are unclassified and let Members of Congress provide additional context for the public," they write.