Georgia Voices: For Obama State Department, Benghazi remains a horrible black eye
by The Savannah Morning News
January 29, 2014 12:14 AM | 284 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Up until now, critics of the Obama administration’s mishandling of the events leading up to the murders of four Americans in Benghazi in 2012 were lambasted by the president’s defenders as right-wing crazies who were trying to derail the president’s re-election effort.

After Wednesday, they need a new script.

A long-delayed, bipartisan, 58-page report by the Senate Intelligence Committee faulted the administration and the intelligence community for not preventing attacks on two outposts in this Libyan city - a diplomatic compound and a CIA annex.

As a result, people were killed, including U.S. ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

“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 Senate panel said in a statement.

This conclusion flies in the face of what the administration initially reported. It also contradicts much of the picture that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton painted of the events before and after this outrage.

What’s unclear from this scathing report is why Ms. Clinton was caught napping.

The person who’s now considered the leading Democratic contender in the 2016 presidential race was in charge of the State Department when Americans died preventable deaths. She has never fully explained herself.

Democrats and Republicans alike on the Senate committee shared in the unvarnished critique of the Benghazi bungling. Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the ranking GOP member on the panel, was blunt: “In spite of the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi and ample strategic warnings, the United States government simply did not do enough to prevent these attacks and ensure the safety of those serving in Benghazi.”

There’s ample blame to go around.

But the biggest lapse was in Washington.

State Department officials naturally tried to downplay this report; careers are at stake. While it’s reassuring to know that the State Department learned from its tragic errors in 2012 and is working to prevent them from recurring, that doesn’t eliminate this horrible black eye. Or excuse the bungling.
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