Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Benghazi: A Failure on Many Fronts

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Benghazi: A Failure on Many Fronts

Article excerpt

The special House committee investigating the Benghazi attacks did find a smoking gun regarding Hillary Clinton.

It was her reckless use of a private email server in disregard of her own State Department rules.

And the fact that the committee could not find much direct evidence of Clinton's involvement in the lax security at the temporary mission in Libya is no excuse. It was a massive sin of omission that reflected poor leadership.

Clinton has accepted responsibility for the numerous security failings that led to the four deaths at Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. And she accepted all the findings of a special task force appointed by the State Department. Since then, officials say they have implemented nearly 70 measures recommended by the review board.

WIDESPREAD FAILURES

The review board described a total system breakdown that included an inadequate number of security agents, a lack of protective equipment and officials who failed to respond as Benghazi's security deteriorated. A "lack of proactive senior leadership" was cited by the review board, which ought to include Clinton.

The special House committee, however, was not solely targeting Clinton for criticism. The committee also noted failures of the military, the CIA and the Obama administration.

To quote an AP story, "The intelligence community didn't send enough warnings, the State Department didn't take the warnings it did get seriously enough and the military was caught flat-footed."

The military apparently was not prepared to respond to the attack in North Africa even though the services should always be on high alert on every Sept. 11.

A retired Air Force general, Robert Lovell told a previous House committee that the military should have acted more aggressively to the attack.

"The point is, we should have tried," he said. "As another saying goes, 'Always move to the sound of the guns.'"

As author and veteran Bing West wrote in the Times-Union, "For our top leadership, with all the technological and military tools at their disposal, to have done nothing for seven hours was a joint civilian and military failure of initiative and nerve."

The CIA had an annex near the diplomatic mission but apparently was taken by surprise by the attack.

And the administration spent hours trying to figure out what to do during the attack u inexcusable hand-wringing.

A TWO-YEAR STUDY

Did the task force report justify the $7 million and two-year time period? No. This investigation lasted longer than the probes following the 9/11 attacks and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

We could suggest other issues that would justify that much effort, such as going after waste, fraud and abuse within the federal government. Two badly run departments deserve this level of attention - Homeland Security and the Veterans Administration. …

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