The investigation into the attack on the diplomatic mission and the C.I.A. annex in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans also faulted State Department officials in Washington for ignoring requests from the American Embassy in Tripoli for more guards for the mission and for failing to make sufficient safety upgrades.The panel also said American intelligence officials had relied too much on specific warnings of imminent attacks, which they did not have in the case of Benghazi, rather than basing assessments more broadly on a deteriorating security environment. By this spring, Benghazi, a hotbed of militant activity in eastern Libya, had experienced a string of assassinations, an attack on a British envoy's motorcade and the explosion of a bomb outside the American Mission.Finally, the report blamed two major State Department bureaus -- Diplomatic Security and Near Eastern Affairs -- for failing to coordinate and plan adequate security. The panel also determined that a number of officials had shown poor leadership, but they were not identified in the unclassified version of the report that was released.
Ambassador Stevens had e-mailed his superiors in Washington in August alerting them to "a security vacuum" in the city. But the report found that in planning his trip there in September, he did not foresee that the compound could come under such a sustained attack, which included mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, despite the worsening security situation."His status as the leading U.S. government advocate on Libya policy, and his expertise on Benghazi in particular, caused Washington to give unusual deference to his judgments," it said.Mr. Stevens was making his first visit to Benghazi in 10 months. But his plans for taking only two American security agents "were not shared thoroughly with the embassy's country team, who were not fully aware of the planned movements off the compound," the report determined.