Lawmakers Denounce State Department Security Lapses In Libya

WASHINGTON (December 19, 2012)--Lawmakers from both parties were expressing frustration Wednesday with the findings of a panel that blamed failures in State Department leadership for security lapses at a U.S. consulate in Libya where four people including the U.S. ambassador were killed in an attack on the consulate in September.

The independent panel’s leaders briefed House and Senate members on the report Wednesday.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said it's clear that "there was a failure" in managing security at the consulate in Benghazi.

Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming said it seems that "the State Department clearly failed the Boy Scout motto of 'Be Prepared.'"

He said there wasn't good enough security ahead of time and that once the attack took place, the security was "woefully inadequate."

The Republican who heads the House intelligence committee, Mike Rogers of Michigan, says the report revealed what he calls a "massive failure of the State Department at all levels" to protect U.S. employees. And he says no one is being held accountable.

But later, there was word that three State Department officials have resigned under pressure, including the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security.

Panel leaders say insufficient security staffing led to the weaknesses at the diplomatic post in lawless Benghazi.

Adm. Mike Mullen said State Department bureaus hadn't assumed shared responsibility for security and that Libyan teams assigned to back up U.S. personnel hadn't performed well.

He said the mission's security fell through bureaucratic cracks because buildings had been categorized as temporary.

Retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering said, "They did the best they possibly could with what they had but what they had wasn't enough."

The two spoke shortly after briefing members of Congress behind closed doors.


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