Senate Intelligence Report Sheds Light on Benghazi Attacks

Lawmakers say State Department did not do enough to protect U.S. diplomats.

An armed man waves his rifle outside the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.
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A long-awaited Senate Intelligence Committee report released Wednesday concluded there was no specific advanced warning ahead of the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attacks that killed four American diplomats, but top officials should have done more to ensure safety in the region.

"In the months prior to the attack, [U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens] and other State Department officials in Libya outlined concerns via cables to State Department headquarters about the security of the Mission compound in Benghazi and made several requests for additional security resources," the report said.

But despite the warnings, sufficient action to improve safety was not taken, according to the Senate panel.

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"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 committee found no evidence that significant actions were taken by the State Department between August 15, 2012, and September 11, 2012, to increase security at the Mission facility in response to the concerns raised in that meeting."

Thought the report went over many long-reported details of the attacks, some new details were revealed.

While Stevens, one of the four diplomats who died that night, was still missing, someone was using his phone. But some receiving the calls soon became alarmed the individual was trying to lure people in for another attack.

"After an exchange of calls between the individual in possession of Stevens' phone and some of the Americans, the Americans became concerned that the caller could be luring U.S. personnel into an ambush at the hospital and concluded it was too risky to go to the hospital," the report said.

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Further complicating the night's events was the fact that U.S. military in command was unaware of the neighboring CIA annex in Benghazi, the Senate panel determined.

Republican lawmakers have continually said the Obama administration has not been forthcoming enough about the details of the attacks and the bipartisan Senate report does not appear to have sufficiently answered their questions.

"This is not a complete report, and it only sheds light on part of the overall picture," said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a release. "The American people deserve the truth when it comes to the Benghazi attacks, and more work needs to be done."

 

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