White House: Senate panel confirms other Libya investigations

Jan. 15, 2014 at 3:01 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- The White House said Wednesday a Senate panel's report on the 2012 terror attack in Libya confirms what earlier investigations found.

White House press secretary Jay Carney also told reporters the administration has worked "with seven different congressional committees investigating what happened before, during and after the Benghazi attacks, including testifying at 13 congressional hearings, participating in 50 staff briefings, and providing over 25,000 pages of documents."

The Senate panel's report, issued earlier Wednesday, said although there was no specific terror warning, the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was preventable.

The attack killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stephens and three other Americans in September 2012. Since then the major parties in Washington have argued about the cause and whether al-Qaida was involved.

An investigation by the New York Times found an anti-Muslim video in the United States contributed to attack and al-Qaida was not directly involved.

Carney said the U.S. State Department was already following some of the recommendations contained in the Senate report.

"So I think this reinforces what other investigations have found," Carney said of the Senate report, "which is that there was not enough security to protect the four Americans who lost their lives and that there are things that we must do and that we are doing to ensure that we do everything we can to protect the security of Americans serving overseas, often in difficult circumstances and dangerous circumstances."

The report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence split between majority Democrats and minority Republicans.

"The [Democratic] majority believes the terrorist attacks against U.S. personnel at the temporary mission facility and the annex in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 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 about the deteriorating situation in Libya," the report said.

"The majority also believes, however, that the Benghazi attacks have been the subject of misinformed speculation and accusations long after the basic facts of the attacks have been determined, thereby distracting attention from more important concerns: the tragic deaths of four Americans, the hunt for their attackers, efforts by the U.S. government to avoid future attacks and the future of U.S.-Libya relationship."

In the report, minority Republicans were far more critical, saying: "The failures of Benghazi can be summed up this way: The Americans serving in Libya were vulnerable, the State Department knew they were vulnerable and no one in the administration really did anything about it. ... The intelligence and warnings from the field were met by this administration with a deafening silence."

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