Senate Report Finds Benghazi Attack Was Preventable
WASHINGTON — A stinging report by the Senate Intelligence Committee released Wednesday concluded that the attack 16 months ago that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, could have been prevented, and blames both American diplomats and the C.I.A. for poor communication and lax security during the weeks leading up to the deadly episode.
And that is in fact a fair reading of the the report
The Majority believes that the terrorist attacks against U.S. personnel at the Temporary Mission Facility and the Annex in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 and 12, 2012, were likely preventable based on the known security shortfalls at the U.S. Mission and the significant strategic (although not tactical) warnings from the Intelligence Community (IC) about the deteriorating security situation in Libya.
So even Democrats say Benghazi could have been prevented. That's huge news, right? Well ... let's take a look at the State Department's own report
on its independent Benghazi review, which was released in December 2012 while Hillary Clinton was still Secretary of State:
Systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department (the “Department”) resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place.
So the new report says "likely preventable" while the earlier one said "grossly inadequate." Other than the fact that "preventable" makes for better copy, on the substance, there's isn't a lot of difference there. Today's report means there's another round of headlines, but it doesn't actually mean we've learned anything that wasn't obvious from day one.
The political dispute about Benghazi isn't about whether adequate security measures were in place—nobody is arguing that they were. Instead, the thing that has got conservatives so fired up is that they believe that the administration is involved in a coverup of some sort or another. Some of them believe that the administration willfully distorted what it said about the attack to downplay the terrorist threat; others say that during the attack, the administration refused to authorize military support that could have saved lives; others believe that the administration was trying to cover up using Benghazi as a staging ground to orchestrate support for the rebels in Syria; and some of them even believe Benghazi is in Cuba.
There are as many Benghazi theories as there are conservatives promoting them, but they all have at least one thing in common: Nothing in this report made any of them more credible.