Senate Report Concludes the Benghazi Attacks Were Preventable

The Senate Intelligence Committee just released its report on the 2012 Benghazi attacks. 

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The Senate Intelligence Committee just released its report on the 2012 Benghazi attacks. According to the committee's findings, the State Department and U.S. Intelligence agencies should share some blame for not doing more to prevent the deadly attacks, which left four Americans dead.

In a statement, the Intelligence Committee concluded:

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 Washington Post's Adam Goldman and Anne Gearan got an early look at the report, and they've pulled out some of the more important findings. First, that the CIA knew about deteriorating security conditions around the Benghazi compound for weeks before the attack. Second, that the State Department didn't increase security at the compound, despite warnings about increased danger. And third, that American intelligence groups failed to share crucial information in the lead-up to the attacks, including the existence of a secret CIA annex near the compound. The Intelligence Committee also details the FBI's difficulties in investigating the attacks in Libya. For instance, 15 Libyan sources have been killed after offering their cooperation in the investigation. 

The report is also notable for what it doesn't contain. Goldman and Gearan explain: 

The account sheds little light on the most politicized aspect of the incident — questions about whether the Obama administration deliberately played down the attack’s terrorist origins. The committee described the attack as opportunistic, and said there was no advance warning of it specifically.

Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, along with many other minority members of the committee, appended their "additional views" on the Benghazi investigation to the otherwise bipartisan report. The GOP senators single out Under Secretary of State Patrick Kennedy in their statement, basically accusing him of shielding the Obama administration from accountability. The Republicans also seem to refer to a long-standing but unsubstantiated theory that the Obama administration repeatedly "downplays" terrorist threats for political gain:

As with Benghazi, the Administration's obligation to provide information to Congress about those cases seemed to be superseded by a desire to script the message that al-Qa'ida had been decimated or to protect a criminal investigation in spite of equally vital intelligence prerogatives. 

The 85-page report is based off of panel hearings, interviews, and thousands of pages of intelligence on the attacks.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.