According to a bipartisan report by the Senate Intelligence Committee, the attack on the United States Embassy in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012 could have been prevented.
The report, released on Jan. 15, is the first public examination of the event that killed American Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. It confirmed that security conditions in Benghazi had been declining in 2012, following the descent of dictator Moammar Gaddafi.
“Despite the clearly deteriorating security situation in Benghazi and requests for additional security resources, few significant improvements were made by the State Department to the security posture of the Temporary Mission Facility,” the report said.
The State Department was heavily criticized for not increasing security when Stevens requested it, while the CIA also pushed for changes for its Benghazi facilities. The report found no warning signs of an attack occurring.
According to the report, intelligence immediately following the attack suggested that it was in response to protests of an American- made YouTube video that defamed Islam. The Sunday following the attack, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice discussed the video on various news programs.
When it was discovered that the video was not the cause of the attack, Republicans believed Rice’s discussion of the video was a cover-up, but the report found that Rice was citing incorrect intelligence.
Instead, the report blames the attack on poor communication between the State Department and the intelligence agencies.
The report also addressed the administration’s lack of military response to assist the Americans and personnel in the embassy. However, it was found that some military resources were moved, but only an unmanned drone was able to make it to the embassy in time.
Approximately 18 recommendations were included in the report that would assist in preventing future attacks, including closely monitoring social media streams of extremists groups and not allowing facilities in dangerous areas to operate unless full security measures are in place.
Following the report’s release, in a statement of their own, the State Department updated its efforts to improve security overseas and other changes previously recommended following the attacks.
“While risk can never be completely eliminated from our diplomatic and development duties, we must always work to minimize it,” the State Department said.
The content of the report was based on committee hearings, briefings, interviews and intelligence and State Department materials.
The House Intelligence Committee lead by Representative Mike Rogers (R—Mich.) is in the process of its own investigation on the events at the Benghazi embassy.
Editor’s Note: Information from Politico, The New York Times and The Washington Post was used in this report.