[Congressional Record Volume 158, Number 170 (Sunday, December 30, 2012)]
[Pages S8530-S8541]


  Mr. LIEBERMAN. Mr. President, I guess the good news is that I am 
rising today not to speak about the fiscal cliff. What I am speaking 
about is not good news because it deals with the tragic event that 
occurred in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, when terrorists took the 
lives of our Ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three other brave Americans 
who were serving us there.
  I rise today, along with the ranking member of the Homeland Security 
and Governmental Affairs Committee, Senator Collins, to submit for the 
Record the report she and I have been working on with our staffs and 
other members of the committee following those events in Libya. We call 
this report ``Flashing Red: A Special Report On The Terrorist Attack At 
Benghazi.'' ``Flashing red'' is a term that was used in a conversation 
with us by an official of the State Department, and it could not have 
been more correct. All the evidence was flashing red that we had put 
American personnel in Benghazi in an increasingly dangerous situation, 
with violent Islamic extremists gathering there, with events having 
occurred, attacks on our mission there--two others prior that year. Yet 
we did not give them the security they needed to protect them, and we 
did not make the decision that I believe we should have made, since we 
did not provide them with the security, that we should have closed our 
mission there. As a result, people really suffered.
  We recognize that the congressionally mandated Accountability Review 
Board at the Department of State has issued a report on the events in 
Benghazi. I think it was an excellent report. There are other 
committees of Congress continuing with their own investigations. Each 
of these will and should make a valuable contribution to our 
understanding of what happened at Benghazi so that we can take steps to 
make sure nothing like it ever happens again.
  Under the rules of the Senate, the Committee on Homeland Security and 
Governmental Affairs has a unique mandate to investigate the 
effectiveness and efficiency of governmental agencies, especially when 
matters that span multiple agencies are involved.
  Our report is intended to inform the Senate and the American people 
about events immediately before, during, and after the attack at 
Benghazi. In order to contribute most to the public debate, we have 
chosen to include only unclassified information in this report. We are 
hopeful that the report can and will make an important contribution to 
the ongoing discussions about how to better protect our diplomatic 
personnel abroad.
  Our report contains 10 findings and 11 recommendations that we 
believe can help us better protect our diplomats and others who serve 
our country, often in very dangerous places. I ask unanimous consent 
that the full text of the report be printed in the Record.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  (See exhibit 1.)
  Mr. LIEBERMAN. Mr. President, this is probably the last opportunity I 
will have to do this, to thank the ranking member again for the 
extraordinary partnership we have had for more than a decade now on the 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. It is really 
meaningful to me that we have this last opportunity to do something 
together, across party lines, that we believe and hope will be in our 
national interest.

                               Exhibit 1

   Flashing Red: A Special Report on the Terrorist Attack at Benghazi

(By Joseph I. Lieberman, Chairman and Susan M. Collins, Ranking Member)

 United States Senate Committee On Homeland Security And Governmental 

                           December 30, 2012

       While our country spent September 11, 2012, remembering the 
     terrorist attacks that took place 11 years earlier, brave 
     Americans posted at U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, 
     Libya, were fighting for their lives against a terrorist 
     assault. When the fight ended, U.S. Ambassador to Libya John 
     C. (Chris) Stevens and three other Americans were dead and 
     U.S. facilities in Benghazi were left in ruin. We must 
     remember the sacrifice that these selfless public servants 
     made to support the struggle for freedom in Libya and to 
     improve our own national security. While we mourn their 
     deaths, it is also crucial that we learn from how they died. 
     By examining the circumstances of the attack in Benghazi on 
     September 11th, we hope to gain a better understanding of 
     what went wrong and what we must do now to ensure better 
     protection for American diplomatic personnel who must 
     sometimes operate in dangerous places abroad.
       We are cognizant that the Congressionally-mandated 
     Accountability Review Board (ARB) of the Department of State 
     has now issued its important and constructive report and that 
     other Congressional committees are investigating the Benghazi 
     attack as well. Each makes significant contributions to our 
     collective understanding of what transpired and what we must 
     do going forward.
       The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs 
     (HSGAC), pursuant to its authority under Rule XXV(k) of the 
     Standing Rules of the Senate, Section 101 of S. Res 445 
     (108th Congress) and Section 12(e) of S. Res 81 (112th 
     Congress), has a unique mandate to investigate the 
     effectiveness and efficiency of governmental agencies, 
     especially when matters that span multiple government 
     agencies are involved. Over the years, HSGAC has spent much 
     time and dedicated considerable resources to understanding 
     the challenges inherent in national security interagency 
     relationships, and it is through this lens that we have 
     examined and drawn lessons from the attack in Benghazi.
       Since the 112th Congress is drawing to a close, this 
     investigation has necessarily been conducted with a sense of 
     urgency and with focused objectives. Our findings and 
     recommendations are based on investigative work that the 
     Committee has conducted since shortly after the attack of 
     September 11, 2012, including meetings of members and staff 
     with senior and mid-level government officials; reviews of 
     thousands of pages of documents provided by the Department of 
     State, Department of Defense, and the Intelligence Community 
     (IC); written responses to questions posed by the Committee 
     to these agencies; and reading of publicly-available 
       In the report that follows we provide a brief factual 
     overview of the attacks in Benghazi and then discuss our 
     findings and recommendations.

                 Brief Overview of the Benghazi Attacks

       The attacks in Benghazi occurred at two different 
     locations: a Department of State ``Temporary Mission 
     Facility'' and an Annex facility (``Annex'') approximately a 
     mile away used by another agency of the United States 
     Government. On September 11th, Ambassador Stevens was in 
     Benghazi, accompanied by two Diplomatic Security (DS) agents 
     who had traveled there with him. Also present were three 
     other DS agents and a Foreign Service Officer, Sean Smith, 
     who were posted at the Temporary Mission Facility 
     (``facility'' or ``compound''). There were also three members 
     of the February 17 Brigade, a Libyan militia deputized by the 
     Libyan government but not under its direct control, and four 
     unarmed local contract guards protecting the compound.
       During the day on September 11th, the Ambassador held 
     several meetings on the compound and retired to his room at 
     approximately 9:00 p.m. local time. About 40 minutes later, 
     several agents and guards

[[Page S8531]]

     heard loud shouting, noises coming from the gate, as well as 
     gunfire, and an explosion. A closed-circuit television 
     monitor at the facility's Tactical Operations Center 
     (``TOC'') showed a large number of armed people flowing 
     unimpeded through the main gate. One of the DS agents in the 
     compound's TOC triggered an audible alarm, and immediately 
     alerted the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli and DS headquarters in 
     Washington. These notifications were quickly transmitted from 
     the Department of State to the Department of Defense. DS 
     headquarters maintained open phone lines with the DS 
     personnel throughout the attack. That same DS agent also 
     called the Annex to request assistance from security 
     personnel there, who immediately began to prepare to aid the 
     U.S. personnel at the diplomatic facility.
       When the attack commenced, four DS agents and Foreign 
     Service Officer Smith were in or just outside the same 
     building where the Ambassador was spending that night. A 
     fifth DS agent was in the TOC when the terrorist attack 
     began. Ambassador Stevens, Smith, and one DS agent sought 
     shelter in the building's safe haven, a fortified area 
     designed to keep intruders out, while the other three agents 
     went to retrieve additional weapons and tactical gear such as 
     body armor, helmets, and ammunition. After retrieving their 
     gear, at least two of the DS agents sought to return to the 
     building where the Ambassador was. On the way back, however, 
     the DS agents encountered attackers. The lone DS agent with 
     the Ambassador reported via radio that he was secure within 
     the safe haven, allowing the two agents who had left in 
     search of weapons to seek refuge in the same building where 
     they had armed themselves. The third DS agent who had gone to 
     the TOC to retrieve his gear, stayed there with the DS agent 
     who had been manning the TOC since the beginning of the 
       The attackers started to set several of the compound's 
     structures on fire, using diesel fuel found on site, and 
     groups of attackers tried to enter several buildings on the 
     compound. The attackers did not succeed in entering the TOC, 
     but did succeed in entering the building where Ambassador 
     Stevens was staying and the building where the two DS agents 
     were seeking refuge. No safe havens were breached during the 
     initial assault. The attackers spread the diesel fuel 
     throughout the building where the Ambassador was hiding, and 
     ignited it, causing the building to fill with smoke.
       When the smoke became so thick that breathing was 
     difficult, the DS agent attempted to lead the Ambassador and 
     Smith to escape through a nearby window. The agent opened the 
     window to make sure it was safe to leave, and stepped out but 
     then realized he had become separated from the Ambassador and 
     Smith. The agent radioed the TOC, requesting assistance and 
     returned numerous times to the building to look for the 
     Ambassador and Smith. When the other agents arrived, they 
     also took turns entering and searching the building. Though 
     they were able to find and remove Smith's body, they were 
     unable to find Ambassador Stevens.
       After being notified about the attack, Annex personnel had 
     attempted to contact the February 17 Brigade, other militias, 
     and the Libyan government to ask for assistance. After 
     gathering necessary weapons and gear, at approximately 10:04 
     p.m., six security personnel and a translator left the 
     Annex en route to the facility. Prior to reaching the 
     facility, they again attempted to contact and enlist 
     assistance from the February 17 Brigade, other militias, 
     and the Libyan government. By 10:25 p.m., the security 
     personnel from the Annex had entered the compound and 
     engaged in a 15-minute firefight with the armed invaders. 
     The team reached the Ambassador's building at 10:40 p.m. 
     but was unable to find him due to the intense fire and 
       At 11:15 p.m., the Annex security personnel sent the DS 
     agents (who were all suffering from smoke inhalation from 
     their continuous search for Ambassador Stevens and Smith) to 
     the Annex, and followed there later, both groups taking fire 
     while en route. By this time, an unmanned, unarmed 
     surveillance aircraft began circling over the Benghazi 
     compound, having been diverted by the Department of Defense 
     from its previous surveillance assignment over another 
     location. Soon after the Americans returned to the Annex, 
     just before midnight, they were attacked by rocket-propelled 
     grenade (RPG) and small arms fire. The sporadic attacks 
     stopped at approximately 1:01 a.m.
       U.S. government security personnel who were based in 
     Tripoli had deployed to Benghazi by chartered aircraft after 
     receiving word of the attack, arriving at the Benghazi 
     airport at 1:15 a.m. They were held at the airport for at 
     least three hours while they negotiated with Libyan 
     authorities about logistics. The exact cause of this hours-
     long delay, and its relationship to the rescue effort, 
     remains unclear and merits further inquiry. Was it simply the 
     result of a difficult Libyan bureaucracy and a chaotic 
     environment or was it part of a plot to keep American help 
     from reaching the Americans under siege in Benghazi?
       The team from Tripoli finally cleared the airport and 
     arrived at the Annex at approximately 5:04 a.m., about ten 
     minutes before a new assault by the terrorist began, 
     involving mortar rounds fired at the Annex. The attack 
     concluded at approximately 5:26 a.m., leaving Annex security 
     team members Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty dead and two 
     others wounded. The decision was then made to leave the 
     Annex. Libyan forces, not militia, arrived around 6:00 a.m. 
     with 50 vehicles and escorted the Americans to the airport. 
     Two planes carrying all remaining U.S. personnel then left 
     Benghazi. The first flight departed between 7:00 a.m. and 
     7:40 a.m. (agency timelines vary on this point) and the 
     second at 10:00 a.m.
       American government officials outside of Benghazi learned 
     of the attack shortly after it started at 3:40 p.m. EST (9:40 
     p.m. Benghazi time). DS agents, in addition to notifying 
     personnel at the Annex, immediately alerted officials at the 
     U.S Embassy in Tripoli and the Department of State 
     Headquarters in Washington, D.C. As noted earlier, the U.S. 
     Africa Command (AFRICOM) at the Department of Defense (DOD) 
     directed an unarmed surveillance aircraft to the skies over 
     the Benghazi compound at 3:59 p.m. EST. It arrived there at 
     5:10 p.m. EST (11:10 p.m. Benghazi time). At 4:32 p.m., the 
     National Military Command Center in the Pentagon alerted the 
     Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff, and 
     the information was shared with Secretary of Defense Leon 
     Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General 
     Martin Dempsey. Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey were at 
     the White House for a previously scheduled meeting at 5:00 
     p.m. and so were able to brief the President on the 
     developments in Benghazi as they were occurring.
       From 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. EST, Secretary Panetta met with 
     senior DOD officials to discuss the Benghazi attack and other 
     violence in the region in reaction to the anti-Muslim video. 
     The Secretary directed three actions: 1) that one Fleet 
     Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) platoon stationed in Rota, 
     Spain, deploy to Benghazi and that a second FAST platoon in 
     Rota prepare to deploy to Tripoli; 2) that U.S. European 
     Command's In-extremis Force, which happened to be training in 
     central Europe, deploy to a staging base in southern Europe; 
     and 3) that a special operations force based in the United 
     States deploy to a staging base in southern Europe. The 
     National Command Center transmitted formal authorization for 
     these actions at 8:39 p.m. A FAST platoon arrived in Tripoli 
     the evening (local time) of September 12th, and the other 
     forces arrived that evening at a staging base in Italy, long 
     after the terrorist attack on the U.S. facilities in Benghazi 
     had ended and four Americans had been killed.

                    Key Findings and Recommendations

       Finding 1. In the months leading up to the attack on the 
     Temporary Mission Facility in Benghazi, there was a large 
     amount of evidence gathered by the U.S. Intelligence 
     Community (IC) and from open sources that Benghazi was 
     increasingly dangerous and unstable, and that a significant 
     attack against American personnel there was becoming much 
     more likely. While this intelligence was effectively shared 
     within the Intelligence Community (IC) and with key officials 
     at the Department of State, it did not lead to a commensurate 
     increase in security at Benghazi nor to a decision to close 
     the American mission there, either of which would have been 
     more than justified by the intelligence presented.
       Security decisions concerning U.S. facilities and personnel 
     overseas are informed by several different types of 
     information, including classified threat reporting from the 
     IC; cables and spot reports from U.S. diplomatic posts, which 
     describe local incidents and threats; and publicly available 
     information. Prior to the attack, the IC and the Department 
     of State were aware of the overall threat landscape in Libya 
     and the challenges facing the new Libyan government in 
     addressing those threats. This understanding evolved over 
     time, consistent with broader changes in the nature of the 
     threat, and also based on reported incidents and attacks in 
     Benghazi and other parts of Libya in 2012.
       The Committee has reviewed dozens of classified 
     intelligence reports on the evolution of threats in Libya 
     which were issued between February 2011 and September 11, 
     2012. We are precluded in this report from discussing the 
     information in detail, but overall, these intelligence 
     reports (as the ARB similarly noted) provide a clear and 
     vivid picture of a rapidly deteriorating threat environment 
     in eastern Libya--one that we believe should have been 
     sufficient to inform policy-makers of the growing danger to 
     U.S. facilities and personnel in that part of the country and 
     the urgency of them doing something about it. This 
     information was effectively shared by the IC with key 
     officials at the Department of State. For example, both the 
     Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International 
     Programs in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Charlene Lamb, 
     who was responsible for the security at more than 275 
     diplomatic facilities, and former Regional Security Officer 
     (RSO) for Libya Eric Nordstrom, who was the principal 
     security adviser to the U.S. Ambassador in Libya from 
     September 21, 2011 to July 26, 2012, told the Committee that 
     they had full access to all threat information from the IC 
     about eastern Libya during the months before the attack of 
     September 11, 2012. Yet the Department failed to take 
     adequate action to protect its personnel there.
       This classified intelligence reporting was complemented by 
     open-source reporting on attacks and other incidents 
     targeting western interests in Libya during the months prior 
     to the September 11, 2012 attack. The RSO in Libya compiled a 
     list of 234 security incidents in Libya between June 2011 and

[[Page S8532]]

     July 2012, 50 of which took place in Benghazi. The document 
     describes an array of incidents, including large-scale 
     militia clashes, protests involving several hundred people, 
     and the temporary detention of non-governmental organization 
     (NGO) workers and of U.S. diplomatic personnel in Benghazi. 
     Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy noted in 
     a briefing for the Committee, that Libya and Benghazi were 
     ``flashing red'' around the time of the attack.
       The incident reporting shows that western facilities and 
     personnel became an increasing focus of threats in the spring 
     of 2012. For example, on April 2, 2012 in Benghazi, a British 
     diplomatic vehicle was attacked by a mob of demonstrators. 
     Four days later, on April 6th, a crude improvised explosive 
     device (IED) was thrown over the wall of the U.S. facility in 
     Benghazi, causing minimal damage. A spot report on the day of 
     the event stated that shortly after the event two individuals 
     were questioned. The suspects included one current and one 
     former guard employed by Blue Mountain Group, the company 
     which supplied the unarmed Libyan contract guards responsible 
     for screening visitors to the U.S. compound--underscoring the 
     potential risk of an insider threat in Benghazi. Four days 
     after that, on April 10th, also in Benghazi, a crude IED was 
     thrown at the convoy of the United Nations Special Envoy to 
       Other publicly reported incidents occurred during this time 
     frame, but there are four that we believe are particularly 
     noteworthy. Taken as a whole, they demonstrated the 
     capability and intent of Benghazi-based Islamist extremist 
     groups to conduct a significant attack against U.S. or other 
     western interests in Libya:
       On May 22, 2012, the International Committee for the Red 
     Cross/Red Crescent (ICRC) building in Benghazi was hit by two 
     RPG rounds, causing damage to the building but no casualties. 
     Several days later, the Brigades of the Imprisoned Sheikh 
     Omar Abdel Rahman claimed responsibility for this attack, 
     accusing the ICRC of proselytizing in Libya.
       On June 6, 2012, the U.S. Temporary Mission Facility in 
     Benghazi was targeted by an IED attack that blew a hole in 
     the perimeter wall. Credit for this attack was also claimed 
     by the Brigades of the Imprisoned Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, 
     which said it carried out the attack in response to the 
     reported drone strike on al Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi in 
     Northern Waziristan.
       On June 11, 2012, an attack was carried out in Benghazi on 
     the convoy of the British Ambassador to Libya. Attackers 
     fired an RPG on the convoy, followed by small arms fire. Two 
     British bodyguards were injured in the attack. This attack 
     was characterized afterwards in an incident report by the 
     Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security as a 
     ``complex, coordinated attack.''
       On June 18, 2012, the Tunisian consulate in Benghazi was 
     stormed by individuals affiliated with Ansar al-Sharia Libya 
     (AAS), allegedly because of ``attacks by Tunisian artists 
     against Islam.''
       Overall, the threat to western interests in eastern Libya 
     and in Benghazi specifically was high even prior to the 
     attack of September 11, 2012. Reviewing these incidents, an 
     unclassified open source report by a contractor to AFRICOM 
     noted in July 2012 that:
       ``Nonetheless, Benghazi has seen a notable increase in 
     violence in recent months, particularly against international 
     targets. These events point to strong anti-Western sentiments 
     among certain segments of the population, the willingness of 
     Salafi-jihadi groups in the city to openly engage in violence 
     against foreign targets, and their capacity to carry out 
     these attacks.''
       Taking classified reporting on the increasing dangers in 
     eastern Libya together with the open source incidents should 
     have provided a clear picture of the dangers for American 
     personnel in Benghazi unless their security were greatly 
       Finding 2. Notwithstanding the increasingly dangerous 
     environment in eastern Libya in 2011 and 2012, the U.S. 
     government did not have specific intelligence of an imminent 
     attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. The lack of such 
     actionable intelligence may reflect a failure in the IC to 
     focus sufficiently on terrorist groups that have weak or no 
     operational ties to core al Qaeda and its main affiliates.
       While the IC had developed and adequately shared general 
     threat information on terrorist groups and Islamist extremist 
     militias in eastern Libya prior to the attack, it did not 
     have specific warning that this attack was to take place on 
     September 11, 2012. Intelligence capabilities that provide 
     early, specific warnings have played a critical role in 
     preventing terrorist attacks against U.S. facilities overseas 
     and in the homeland in the last decade. There were no such 
     warnings available for Benghazi before the attack of 
     September 11, 2012. Why?
       First, there may not have been significant or elaborate 
     advance planning for the attack. In a hearing before our 
     Committee on September 19, 2012, National Counterterrorism 
     Center (NCTC) Director Matthew Olsen described the attack as 
     ``opportunistic'' and stated that the IC had no indication of 
     ``significant advanced planning or coordination for this 
       However, the activities of local terrorist and Islamist 
     extremist groups in Libya may have received insufficient 
     attention from the IC prior to the attack, partially because 
     some of the groups possessed ambiguous operational ties to 
     core al Qaeda and its primary affiliates. For example, public 
     statements by Libyan officials and many news reports have 
     indicated that Ansar al-Sharia Libya (AAS) was one of the key 
     groups involved in carrying out this attack on the U.S. 
     facility in Benghazi. The group took credit on its own 
     Facebook page for the attack before later deleting the post. 
     U.S. officials viewed AAS prior to the attack as a ``local 
     extremist group with an eye on gaining political ground in 
     Libya.'' AAS has not been designated as a foreign terrorist 
     organization by the U.S. government, and apparently the IC 
     was ``not focused'' on this group to the same extent as core 
     al Qaeda and its operational affiliates.
       This finding has broader implications for U.S. 
     counterterrorism activities in the Middle East and North 
     Africa. With Osama bin Laden dead and core al Qaeda weakened, 
     a new collection of violent Islamist extremist organizations 
     and cells have emerged in the last two to three years. These 
     groups are not all operationally linked to core al Qaeda or 
     in some cases have only weak ties to al Qaeda. This trend is 
     particularly notable in countries such as Libya, Egypt, 
     Tunisia, and Syria that are going through political 
     transition or military conflict as a result of the political 
     upheavals referred to as the ``Arab Spring.''
       While such groups do not always have strong operational 
     ties to al Qaeda, they adhere to a similar violent Islamist 
     extremist ideology. As an unclassified August 2012 report by 
     the Library of Congress noted, AAS in Libya shares common 
     symbols (the black flag) and ideology with al Qaeda. This 
     Committee has spent several years focusing on the role that 
     this ideology plays in motivating homegrown violent Islamist 
     extremists, most of whom have no direct ties to al Qaeda. A 
     similar phenomenon, though potentially much more dangerous, 
     is at work with respect to many of these nascent terrorist 
     groups, and is leading many of them to shift their focus from 
     local grievances to foreign attacks against U.S. and other 
     western facilities overseas.
       Recommendation: U.S. intelligence agencies must broaden and 
     deepen their focus in Libya, and beyond, on nascent violent 
     Islamist extremist groups in the region that lack strong 
     operational ties to core al Qaeda or its main affiliate 
     groups. One benefit of doing so would be improved tactical 
     warning capabilities, the kind of which were not present at 
     Benghazi, but might have been even for an ``opportunistic'' 
       Finding 3. The absence of specific intelligence about an 
     imminent attack should not have prevented the Department of 
     State from taking more effective steps to protect its 
     personnel and facilities in Benghazi.
       This finding reflects earlier conclusions of the 1985 
     Advisory Panel on Overseas Security (``Inman Report'') and 
     the 1999 Accountability Review Board report on the attacks on 
     the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which both warned 
     the Department of State against becoming too reliant on 
     tactical intelligence to determine the level of potential 
     terrorist threats. The Inman report points out that ``it 
     would be foolhardy to make security decisions on the basis of 
     an expectation of advance warning of peril.''
       Deputy Assistant Secretary Charlene Lamb stated that the 
     level and kind of attack at Benghazi was something they had 
     never seen before anywhere in the world. However, given clear 
     warnings that threats were increasing in the Benghazi area, 
     the Department of State should not have waited for a specific 
     incident to happen or expected the delivery of tactical 
     intelligence of a specific, imminent threat before taking 
     additional steps to protect its diplomats or, if that was not 
     possible, to close the Benghazi facility.
       Recommendation: In providing security for its personnel 
     around the world, the Department of State must fully consider 
     the types of attacks that could take place given the 
     strategic threat environment, even in the absence of imminent 
     warning intelligence.
       Finding 4. Prior to the terrorist attacks in Libya on 
     September 11, 2012, it was widely understood that the Libyan 
     government was incapable of performing its duty to protect 
     U.S. diplomatic facilities and personnel, as required by 
     longstanding international agreements, but the Department of 
     State failed to take adequate steps to fill the resulting 
     security gap, or to invest in upgrading the Libyan security 
       A host country's responsibility to protect and safeguard a 
     foreign nation's diplomatic personnel and facilities in its 
     country has been codified in several international treaties, 
     including the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 
     which states that ``[t]he receiving State is under a special 
     duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the consular 
     premises against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any 
     disturbance of the peace of the consular post or impairment 
     of its dignity.'' The Treaty also states that ``[t]he 
     receiving State shall treat consular officers with due 
     respect and shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any 
     attack on their person, freedom or dignity.''
       A host country's protection of an American embassy or other 
     diplomatic facilities is one of the most important elements 
     of security at that facility, but it is not the only one. A 
     facility's own security, such as its U.S. Marine Corps 
     Security Guards, DS agents, and in some cases, private 
     security guards under contract, is also critical to its 
     overall security posture. States whose governments do not 
     exercise full control over their sovereign territory, or that 
     have a limited security capability, cannot be counted

[[Page S8533]]

     on to safeguard U.S. diplomatic personnel and facilities. 
     This is usually true, of course, in the aftermath of a 
     revolution or civil war--as was the case in Libya--where the 
     provision of protective services by the host nations is 
     unpredictable at best. In those instances, the Department of 
     State must improve one or more of the other three protectors 
     of mission security within its control: Marine Corps Security 
     Guards, Dipolmatic Security agents, or private security 
       In February 2011, the revolution began to end Colonel 
     Muammar al-Qadhafi's autocratic rule of Libya. Between 
     February and October of 2011, Libya was consumed with intense 
     fighting between anti-government groups and Qadhafi's regime. 
     On October 20, 2011, opposition forces conquered the last 
     Qadhafi stronghold in Sirte and killed Qadhafi. Qadhafi's 
     death ended the revolt but left open the question of who 
     would govern Libya and how.
       Just days after Qadhafi's death, Libyans turned to the 
     interim Transitional National Council (TNC), established in 
     the spring of 2011, to improve security and begin the process 
     of reconstituting national institutions. However, the TNC 
     faced numerous challenges and ``struggled to calm the 
     incendiary regional and factional disputes or exert control 
     even over its own militias.'' Since no cohesive opposition 
     group emerged from the civil war, the TNC had to contend with 
     various armed factions that ``remained a law unto 
       On July 7, 2012, Libyan voters participated in the first 
     national election since 1965 and elected 200 members to the 
     General National Congress. The election of the General 
     National Congress represented a significant political 
     achievement, but the formation of a new government was still 
     under negotiation when the attacks in Benghazi occurred three 
     months later in September. Civil order had not yet been 
     restored. According to one expert review, ``[a]ttacks on 
     international targets, a series of aggressive attacks by 
     armed Salafists on religious buildings around the country, 
     and an assassination campaign against senior security 
     officers have fueled widespread criticism of interim leaders 
     since early 2012.''
       Given the unstable political and security situation, 
     particularly in eastern Libya, the Libyan government was 
     unable to provide security protection to foreign diplomatic 
     facilities in a manner consistent with international law. 
     That is why the Department of State relied in part on a local 
     militia, the February 17 Brigade, to provide protection for 
     the Benghazi facility, as well as unarmed Libyan guards under 
     contract with a private security firm. Throughout 2012, 
     Department of State officials questioned the February 17 
     Brigade's competence and expressed concerns about its 
     abilities. U.S. Department of State personnel were also 
     concerned about the involvement of members of the February 17 
     Brigade in the extrajudicial detention of U.S. diplomatic 
     personnel in at least one incident in Benghazi. Eric 
     Nordstrom, told the Committee that while the February 17 
     Brigade did provide some protection and would likely respond 
     to an attack, they clearly needed additional training. Only 
     limited training ever occurred.
       Some U.S. personnel also questioned the Brigade's loyalty 
     to the Libyan government and their capacity or desire to 
     safeguard American interests. In June 2012, an RSO in 
     Benghazi wrote, ``Unfortunately, given the current threat to 
     the diplomatic mission, the militia members not currently on 
     the [four-man team stationed at the facility] have expressed 
     concern with showing active open support for the Americans in 
     Benghazi.'' Notably, the contract between the State 
     Department and the February 17 Brigade had expired by the 
     time of the attack. In a handoff email to his replacement on 
     August 29, 2012, the principal U.S. diplomatic officer in 
     Benghazi wrote that the contract with the militia ``lapsed 
     several weeks ago'' but that they were still operating under 
     its terms. He said that ``[t]his is a delicate issue, as we 
     are relying on a militia in lieu of the central authorities 
     and [Feb 17 Brigade] has been implicated in several of the 
     recent detentions. We also have the usual concerns re their 
     ultimate loyalties. But they are competent, and give us an 
     added measure of security. For the time being, I don't think 
     we have a viable alternative.'' In early September, a member 
     of the February 17 Brigade told another RSO in Benghazi that 
     it could no longer support U.S. personnel movements. The RSO 
     also asked specifically if the militia could provide 
     additional support for the Ambassador's pending visit and was 
     told no.
       The ability of the Libyan government to provide surge 
     forces to rescue or evacuate personnel from the Benghazi 
     facility was also extremely limited. The Department of State 
     recognized this limitation. As early as February 1, 2012, RSO 
     Nordstrom stated in a memo to his superiors that the 
     political situation in post-revolution Libya ``was fragile'' 
     and that ``[m]any basic state institutions, including 
     emergency services and tourist facilities are not yet fully 
       Nordstrom noted that ``various factions and militias 
     continue to vie for power in the absence of a stable 
     political and security environment, often resulting in 
       This view of the Libyan government's inadequate security 
     capabilities persisted through the attack on September 11, 
     2012. Communications from U.S. personnel in Libya continued 
     to repeat the same conclusions stated by Nordstrom earlier in 
     February. For instance, an early August cable from the 
     Tripoli Embassy to the Department of State in Washington, 
     states that even though the TNC had established a Supreme 
     Security Council (SSC) to stabilize the security situation in 
     Benghazi, its own commander had said that the SSC had ``not 
     coalesced into an effective, stable security force.'' 
     Further, the cable warned that the ``absence of a significant 
     deterrence, has contributed to a security vacuum that is 
     being exploited by independent actors.'' Similarly, an August 
     20, 2012 security update reported that other diplomats 
     believed the SSC was `` `fading away,' unwilling to take on 
     `anyone with powerful patrons from powerful tribes.' '' That 
     same month, DS personnel reviewing tripwires for an ordered 
     departure of the post--that is, political, security, and 
     intelligence benchmarks which would prompt diplomatic 
     officials to close a facility or modify its operations--
     stated that ``[m]ission opinion is that Libyan security 
     forces are indifferent to the safety needs of the U.S. 
     mission.'' On September 11, 2012, the day of the attack, the 
     ``Weekly Report'' prepared by Department of State officers on 
     the security situation in Benghazi described the frustrations 
     of an SSC commander that the police and security forces were 
     ``too weak to keep the country secure.''
       Prior to Ambassador Stevens' visit to Benghazi in September 
     2012, the U.S. mission in Benghazi had made a request to the 
     Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs for additional security in 
     Benghazi to support the visit. At a minimum, these requests 
     included appeals for a 24/7 police presence consisting of a 
     vehicle and personnel at each of the compound's three gates. 
     The only Libyan government response appears to have been an 
     SSC police vehicle parked in front of the front gate (which, 
     as the ARB noted, sped away as the attack began).
       Though a few members of the February 17 Brigade and the 
     Libya Shield militia assisted the Americans on the night of 
     the attack, the security that these militias and the local 
     police provided to U.S. personnel was woefully inadequate to 
     the dangerous security environment in Benghazi.
       The unarmed local contract guards also provided no 
     meaningful resistance to the attackers. The Department of 
     State's Inspector General had previously found that concerns 
     about local security guards were not limited to Libya. A 
     February 2012 Department of State Inspector General (IG) 
     report found that more than two-thirds of 86 diplomatic posts 
     around the world surveyed reported problems with their local 
     guard contractors. Of those posts that reported problems with 
     their contractors, 37 percent said there was an insufficient 
     number of local guards and 40 percent said there was 
     insufficient training. The IG found that overseas diplomatic 
     posts, particularly those in high-threat situations beyond 
     Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan urgently needed best-value 
     contracting, which takes into account the past performance of 
       Recommendation: When it becomes clear that a host nation 
     cannot adequately perform its functions under the Vienna 
     Convention, the Department of State must provide additional 
     security measures of its own, urgently attempt to upgrade the 
     host nation security forces, or decide to close a U.S. 
     Diplomatic facility and remove U.S. personnel until 
     appropriate steps can be taken to provide adequate security. 
     American personnel who serve us abroad must often work in 
     high risk environments, but when they do, we must provide 
     them with adequate security. That clearly was not the case in 
     Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
       Recommendation: The Department must conduct a review of its 
     local guard programs and particularly the use of local guard 
     contractors at high-risk posts who do not meet appropriate 
     standards necessary for the protection of our personnel or 
       Finding 5. The Benghazi facility's temporary status had a 
     detrimental effect on security decisions, and that fact was 
     clearly known by DS personnel in Benghazi and to their 
     superiors who nevertheless left the American personnel in 
     Benghazi in this very dangerous situation. The Department of 
     State did not take adequate measures to mitigate the 
     facility's significant vulnerabilities in this high-threat 
       The Department of State opened the temporary mission in 
     Benghazi in 2011 after the revolution against the Qadhafi 
     government began because eastern Libya was the headquartes of 
     the opposition to Qadhafi, and the embassy in Tripoli had 
     been closed due to security concerns. The temporary mission 
     was first located in a hotel and then moved, based on 
     security concerns, to the compound referred to as the 
     Temporary Mission Facility. After the U.S. Embassy was 
     reopened in Tripoli when Qadhafi was overthrown, the 
     Department of State initially planned to close the Benghazi 
     facility in late 2011. However, in December 2011, the 
     Department decided to extend its presence in Benghazi until 
     December 2012. In the memo approving this decision, the 
     Department stated that the facility would be a ``smaller 
     operation'' but noted its importance to eastern Libyans and 
     the assistance it could provide to the embassy in Tripoli.
       The temporary status of the Benghazi facility contributed 
     to its vulnerability. For example, DS agents stationed in 
     Benghazi were always on temporary duty assignments, remaining 
     there for relatively short periods, often no longer than a 
     month. As Nordstrom noted, having temporary duty agents made 
     ``developing security procedures, policies,

[[Page S8534]]

     and relationships more difficult.'' The temporary status also 
     made it difficult to procure funds for security upgrades. A 
     briefing paper prepared for a meeting of Assistant Secretary 
     of State for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell and then-
     Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz noted, ``Due to the ambiguity 
     surrounding the duration of the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, RSO 
     Benghazi has encountered funding issues for projects that are 
     commonplace at most U.S. missions.'' The Committee received 
     conflicting evidence with regard to whether the temporary 
     Benghazi facility was on the Security Environment Threat 
     List--a semiannual document that aids DS management in the 
     allocation of overseas security resources and programs. In 
     any event, it is hard to imagine there were more than a few 
     Department of State missions anywhere in the world that were 
     in a more dangerous environment than Benghazi.
       In the December 2011 memo approving the Temporary Mission 
     Facility in Benghazi, the Department of State noted the need 
     for corrective security measures for the facility. According 
     to RSO Nordstrom, the Department of State never consulted 
     with him about the security requirements of the facility 
     before the December 2011 action memo was sent to Under 
     Secretary Kennedy for approval. The memo approved by Kennedy 
     indicated that the Department of State would ``rapidly 
     implement a series of corrective security measures as part of 
     the consolidation of the State footprint.'' However, the memo 
     lacked details as to the security standards to be followed 
     and the resources required to implement the security 
     measures. The absence of dedicated resources contributed to 
     the constraints under which those in Washington and Benghazi 
     would operate throughout 2012.
       During 2012, however, the Department did make a variety of 
     field expedient security enhancements, including:
       The installation of concrete jersey barriers;
       The installation of four vehicle barriers for access 
     control and anti-ram protection;
       Increased compound lighting;
       The installation of barbed wire on top of the existing 
     perimeter wall to raise height and on top of the interior 
     chain link fence to create secondary barrier;
       The installation of platforms for property and street 
       The construction of four guard booths;
       The installation of steel grillwork on windows;
       The installation of emergency releases on select windows 
     grills for fire/emergency exit;
       The replacement of several wooden doors with steel doors 
     with appropriate locking hardware;
       Sandbag emplacements for internal defense purposes; and
       Hardening villas with safe rooms with a steel door.
       But these physical security upgrades were insufficient to 
     deter or repel the dozens of armed attackers that swarmed the 
     compound, unimpeded, on September 11, 2012. As discussed in 
     more detail below, the facility lacked the type of pedestrian 
     barriers that could have slowed the attackers, even though 
     the Department of State Inspector General and an earlier 
     Accountability Review Board had each recommended the 
     installation of such barriers at diplomatic posts in high-
     risk places like Benghazi.
       Because the Benghazi facility was temporary, no security 
     standards applied to it. While existing security standards 
     require meaningful physical barriers to slow pedestrian 
     access for permanent U.S. diplomatic facilities, there were 
     few meaningful physical barriers at the Benghazi facility 
     that would slow pedestrian access other than the closed gate. 
     Once the gate was opened, there were no other physical 
     impediments at that access point to keep anyone out of the 
     facility's grounds or slow their assault.
       Having additional physical barriers to reinforce the gate 
     might have delayed the breach of the compound, giving those 
     inside more time to prepare for the attack. For example, some 
     permanent diplomatic facilities have a compound access 
     control (CAC) point, a ``mantrap,'' or both. Both of these 
     types of barriers act as gates or enclosures that are used to 
     limit the movement of pedestrians entering a diplomatic 
     facility. While a CAC is primarily installed in conjunction 
     with a pedestrian entrance, a mantrap is typically installed 
     in conjunction with a vehicle gate or barrier. According to 
     Deputy Assistant Secretary Charlene Lamb, a CAC was not in 
     place at Benghazi due to time and money constraints. She 
     estimated a CAC there would have cost hundreds of thousands 
     of dollars. No mantrap was in place either, though the reason 
     for that is less clear. Unfortunately, we will never know if 
     the additional investment in either a CAC or mantrap would 
     have provided the time needed to save the lives of Ambassador 
     Chris Stevens and Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith because 
     of the fires set by the terrorists.
       The absence of mantraps has been identified as a security 
     vulnerability at least twice in the last ten years by the 
     Department of State. According to a 2009 Department of State 
     Inspector General Report, the 2004 Accountability Review 
     Board regarding the attack on the U.S. consulate in Jeddah, 
     Saudi Arabia recommended the installation of pedestrian 
     barriers at U.S. diplomatic facilities overseas. During that 
     attack, terrorists exited their vehicle and quickly breached 
     the perimeter after being stopped by the entrance's anti-
     vehicle barrier. The attackers killed six and wounded several 
       Five years later, the Department of State Inspector General 
     found that the absence of approved security standards or 
     recent directives from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security 
     regarding the installation of mantraps resulted in a fewer 
     number of mantraps at overseas posts than required worldwide. 
     At the time, 25 percent of critical threat posts that 
     responded to the IG's survey did not have or request a 
     mantrap and 39 percent of posts rated as a high threat post 
     that responded to the survey also had no mantraps, plans for 
     a mantrap, or were unable to accommodate mantraps. The 
     numbers were worse for low and medium threat posts. According 
     to the Department of State IG report, the average cost of 
     installing mantraps at a U.S. diplomatic post (including 
     related infrastructure) is approximately $55,000.
       In determining the amount of additional security to provide 
     to the Benghazi facility, the Department of State did not 
     conduct a joint analysis or confer with other agencies, such 
     as DOD or members of the IC. For U.S. diplomatic facilities 
     at greatest risk, such as Benghazi, more interagency analysis 
     of security needs must be done to identify gaps in security 
     and take the steps to address them. Since the attack in 
     Benghazi, the Department of State and the Department of 
     Defense have jointly begun this important work, focusing 
     initially on the highest threat facilities around the globe, 
     but that should have happened before the attack.
       Resourcing for security is a joint responsibility of the 
     Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch. The Department 
     of State's decisions regarding security at the Benghazi 
     facility were made in the context of its budget and security 
     requirements for diplomatic facilities around the world. 
     Overall, the Department of State's base requests for security 
     funding have increased by 38 percent since Fiscal Year (FY) 
     2007, and base budget appropriations have increased by 27 
     percent in the same time period. Other security funding 
     provided beyond that in supplemental appropriations bills has 
     been nearly entirely for diplomatic facilities in just three 
     countries--Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Less has gone 
     elsewhere and very little is available to the temporary 
     facilities such as the one in Benghazi.
       Importantly, funding requests for baseline diplomatic 
     security programs have not been fully funded in any year 
     since FY 2010. These accounts fund local guards, security 
     technology, DS agents, and maintenance, construction and 
     security upgrades for facilities. The Administration 
     requested almost $2.4 billion for the Worldwide Security 
     Protection (WSP) and Embassy Security, Construction and 
     Maintenance (ESCM) accounts in fiscal year 2011 (the 
     Department of State's two largest diplomatic security 
     accounts), but the House of Representatives recommended a 
     funding level that was $127.5 million less than the 
     President's Budget request. The Senate restored $38 million 
     of the funding in the final enacted appropriations bill for 
     that year. In fiscal year 2012, the gap was larger: Congress 
     enacted appropriations for diplomatic security that were $275 
     million less than was requested.
       At the same time, Congress has generally been responsive in 
     providing supplemental and Overseas Contingency Operations 
     (OCO) funds to the Department of State--more than $1.7 
     billion since 2007--in response to emergent, security-driven 
     funding requests, although primarily for facilities in Iraq, 
     Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, there was no supplemental 
     or OCO request made by the President for additional 
     diplomatic security enhancements in FY2010 or FY2011. Neither 
     the Department of State nor Congress made a point of 
     providing additional funds in a supplemental request for 
     Libya, or more specifically, Benghazi.
       Congress' inability to appropriate funds in a timely manner 
     has also had consequences for the implementation of security 
     upgrades. RSO Nordstrom stated that Continuing Resolutions 
     had two detrimental effects on efforts to improve security in 
     Benghazi. First, the Department of State would only allow 
     funds to be expended at a rate of 80 percent of the previous 
     year's appropriations level, so as not to risk a violation of 
     the Anti-Deficiency Act. Second, in the absence of a 
     supplemental appropriations or reprogramming request, 
     security funds for Benghazi had to be taken ``out of hide'' 
     from funding levels for Libya because Benghazi was not 
     included in previous budget requests.
       Recommendation: The Department of State should establish a 
     mandatory process to determine what security standards are 
     applicable to temporary facilities to ensure that they are 
     adequately protected.
       Recommendation: In the future, more interagency joint 
     assessments or analyses of security needs must be done for 
     U.S. diplomatic facilities at greatest risk. A joint 
     assessment could not only improve our government's ability to 
     identify security gaps, it would make all agencies more aware 
     of assets available to meet security challenges and those 
     available to respond to a crisis.
       Recommendation: The Administration and Congress must work 
     together to provide sufficient, steady, and timely funding 
     resources to secure diplomatic facilities and personnel 
       Finding 6. The Department of State did not adequately 
     support security requests from its own security personnel in 
       Throughout 2012, the number of DS agents temporarily 
     deployed to Benghazi fluctuated, decreasing to as low as one 
     agent for a six week period in March and April 2012 due to 
     visa problems. At the time of the attack, there were three DS 
     agents who were stationed in Benghazi and two more who 
     accompanied the Ambassador there from Tripoli.

[[Page S8535]]

     RSO Nordstrom said that security personnel in Tripoli were 
     sometimes used to augment Benghazi security when necessary.
       As conditions changed in late spring and early summer, 
     officers in Tripoli and in Washington had good situational 
     awareness of the growing threats in Libya and especially in 
     Benghazi. However, the Department of State did not provide 
     enough security to address the increased threats and did not 
     adequately support field requests for additional security. 
     For example, in March 2012 the Tripoli Embassy had requested 
     five full-time security positions for Benghazi. However, a 
     day after sending this request, Nordstrom was told that 
     Washington had capped the number of agents in Benghazi at 
     three, even though the request for five agents was consistent 
     with the December 2011 action memo approved by Under 
     Secretary Kennedy to extend the duration of the Benghazi 
     facility. In addressing the March request for five DS agents, 
     Deputy Assistant Secretary Lamb questioned RSO Nordstrom 
     about the fact that two of those five requested positions 
     would be used for non-personnel security related duties--one 
     for driving and one to secure a computer. Deputy Assistant 
     Secretary Lamb asked that local employees be hired for these 
     positions since they were arguably not related to security. 
     Later, two local nationals were hired to fulfill these 
     duties. In July Embassy officials in Tripoli requested a 
     minimum of three DS agents for Benghazi.
       Nordstrom also testified that he would have preferred to 
     extend a DOD support team, which DOD provided to the 
     Department of State on a non-reimbursable basis, that was 
     scheduled to depart in August 2012. The 16-person Site 
     Security Team (SST) was stationed in Tripoli, but on occasion 
     some of its members also helped with security in Benghazi. 
     The team's deployment had previously been extended twice. 
     Nordstrom said he thought that requesting an extension would 
     have ``too much political cost,'' and he was not told to do 
     so. In July 2012, Nordstrom had sent a request, via cable 
     approved by Ambassador Stevens, for a minimum of 13 temporary 
     U.S. security personnel--which he said could be either DS 
     employees or SST personnel, or a combination of both--to 
     support needs in Tripoli. Nordstrom said he never received a 
     response to that request. Though the Department of State 
     never formally asked DOD to extend the SST team, at the time 
     of the attack several members of the SST were still in 
     Tripoli for other purposes, and two participated in the 
     rescue effort the night of the attack.
       In the Department's late 2011 plan describing a transition 
     to ``locally staffed operations,'' one of the reasons given 
     for that transition was that ``DS does not have sufficient 
     resources to sustain the current level of the security assets 
     in Libya.'' Lamb commented on this issue in her interview 
     with the Committee, stating that it was hard to sustain large 
     numbers of DS agents on short-term tours because there is not 
     a floating pool of agents so that to fill a gap in Libya she 
     needed to create a gap elsewhere.
       Finding 7. Despite the inability of the Libyan government 
     to fulfill its duties to secure the facility, the 
     increasingly dangerous threat assessments, and a particularly 
     vulnerable facility, the Department of State officials did 
     not conclude the facility in Benghazi should be closed or 
     temporarily shut down. That was a grevious mistake.
       The Department of State kept the Benghazi facility open 
     despite the inability of the Libyan government to fulfill its 
     duties to secure the facility and the increasingly dangerous 
     threat environment that American intelligence described. 
     Though diplomatic security officials in Libya repeatedly 
     considered and discussed the adequacy of security at the 
     Benghazi facility, we found no evidence that any official 
     ever recommended closing the facility even though the 
     facility's vulnerability remained high, particularly in 
     relation to the limited number and quality of the security 
     personnel on site including the militia, the contracted 
     guards, and DS agents on short-term assignments.
       In the months leading up to the September 11, 2012 attack, 
     U.S. personnel sitting on the Benghazi Emergency Action 
     Committee (EAC)--the interagency entity responsible for 
     assessing the security of the facility--met several times to 
     discuss the growing threats in eastern Libya, and whether 
     additional actions to protect U.S. personnel ought to be 
     taken. As late as August 15, 2012, an EAC was convened and 
     resolved to update the ``tripwires'' for the facility. The 
     updates were to include a new category, ``suspension of 
     operations,'' under which diplomatic personnel remain present 
     at a post but limit activity off U.S. grounds. Notes from 
     that meeting show that joint security exercises were carried 
     out with Annex security personnel that same month, and that 
     conditional manpower requests and the revised set of 
     tripwires were sent to the Embassy in Tripoli for review. A 
     Department of State document shared between officials in 
     Tripoli show various ``tripwires'' in Benghazi were, in fact, 
     set off weeks before September 11, 2012. Following a bomb 
     attack on a Libyan Army colonel in August, the principal U.S. 
     diplomatic officer in Benghazi wrote that ``[g]iven our small 
     size, there is really no distinction between authorized and 
     ordered departure from Benghazi: if we lose one more person, 
     we will be ineffective . . . we are already at a skeleton 
       Still, no additional security was provided to the facility 
     in Benghazi and there was no ordered evacuation. RSO 
     Nordstrom said the inability of the host nation to provide 
     security is a significant tripwire. Yet neither he nor, to 
     his knowledge anyone else at the Department of State, 
     recommended the Benghazi post be closed.
       Despite the Department of State's initial determination 
     that the facility in Benghazi would be a temporary one, as 
     time progressed, some Department of State officials believed 
     U.S. diplomats needed to remain there longer than they 
     initially expected. Just weeks before his death and even 
     after there had been attacks against the facility and other 
     western targets in Benghazi, Ambassador Stevens continued to 
     make the case that the Department of State needed a long term 
     presence in Benghazi.
       A number of other western governments also continued to 
     maintain a presence in Benghazi throughout the summer and 
     fall of 2012. Under Secretary Kennedy noted that diplomats 
     for Italy, France, Turkey and the United Nations remained in 
     Benghazi during that time period.
       One option American officials did consider was co-locating 
     the American government facilities in Benghazi. By December 
     27, 2011, officials had ``come to the conclusion that co-
     location is the best and most economical option for'' a 
     continued presence in Benghazi. They also recognized that 
     there were administrative hurdles to this--such as finding a 
     suitable location large enough for the presence of all 
     personnel. The ARB report on the 1998 Nairobi and Dar es 
     Salaam attacks recommended that, ``When building new 
     chanceries abroad, all U.S. government agencies, with rare 
     exceptions, should be located in the same compound.'' The 
     Department of State should also examine whether similar 
     standards should be adopted for the co-location of temporary 
       Finding 8. The Department of Defense and the Department of 
     State had not jointly assessed the availability of U.S. 
     assets to support the Temporary Mission Facility in Benghazi 
     in the event of a crisis and although DOD attempted to 
     quickly mobilize its resources, it did not have assets or 
     personnel close enough to reach Benghazi in a timely fashion.
       The Department of Defense (DOD) has a longstanding 
     cooperative relationship with the Department of State, 
     providing support for evacuation and security of diplomatic 
     facilities. For Libya, responsibility for DOD support for 
     diplomatic missions primarily rested with AFRICOM and its 
     Combatant Commander, General Carter F. Ham, headquartered in 
     Stuttgart, Germany. AFRICOM is one of DOD's six geographic 
     combatant commands and is responsible for all DOD operations, 
     exercises, and security cooperation on the African continent 
     (with the exception of Egypt), its island nations, and 
     surrounding waters. The command is also responsible to the 
     Secretary of Defense for military relations with 54 African 
     nations, the African Union, and African regional security 
     organizations. It was established in February 2007 and became 
     a stand-alone command in October 2008. The reason for 
     establishing AFRICOM grew out of concerns about DOD's 
     division of responsibility for Africa among three geographic 
     commands--European Command (EUCOM), Central Command 
     (CENTCOM), and Pacific Command (PACOM)--and worries that 
     security in Africa was receiving less attention than it 
     required based on the increasing presence of Islamist 
     extremists and terrorists there.
       Since its creation, AFRICOM has been involved in a number 
     of operations in Africa, with a focus on training African 
     forces and engaging in counterterrorism activities in the 
     Horn of Africa. Unlike many of the other geographical 
     combatant commands, AFRICOM was developed to maintain a light 
     footprint. It maintains a single base on the entire 
     continent, in Djibouti. In the spring of 2011, AFRICOM 
     directed U.S. support to the NATO military operations in 
     Libya, and in October 2011, it established a joint task force 
     to command and control post-conflict U.S. operations related 
     to Libya. Since DOD assumes responsibility for evacuation of 
     diplomatic personnel, U.S. citizens, and designated host 
     nation and third country nationals in crises, AFRICOM was 
     responsible for working with Department of State officials in 
     Libya to develop and coordinate Noncombatant Evacuation 
     Operations (NEO) plans for the diplomatic facilities within 
     the region. But the Department of State did not know how long 
     it would take DOD to evacuate personnel at the Benghazi 
     facility in the case of a crisis, naturally making it more 
     difficult for the Department of State to ensure it had 
     adequate security at the facility.
       In addition, General Ham did not have complete visibility 
     of the extent and number of government personnel in Benghazi 
     in the event that a NEO was required. If sufficient time had 
     been available for such an evacuation, we are concerned that 
     this limitation could have impeded AFRICOM's ability to 
     respond and fulfill its mission responsibility.
       AFRICOM's lack of operational assets near Benghazi hindered 
     its capacity to evacuate U.S. personnel during the attacks. 
     The Djibouti base was several thousand miles away. There was 
     no Marine expeditionary unit, carrier group or a smaller 
     group of U.S. ships closely located in the Mediterranean Sea 
     that could have provided aerial or ground support or helped 
     evacuate personnel from Benghazi. AFRICOM also lacked a 
     dedicated Commander's In-extremis Force (CIF)--a specially 
     trained force capable of performing no-notice missions. As a 

[[Page S8536]]

     General Ham was forced to call on the European Command's CIF 
     whose location in Eastern Europe prevented it from getting to 
     Benghazi before the four Americans were killed and all other 
     U.S. personnel were evacuated. We note that AFRICOM later 
     received an independent CIF in October, 2012. DOD and AFRICOM 
     tried to provide effective support on September 11th, but 
     given the nature of the attack in Benghazi and the distance 
     of their assets from Benghazi, they were tragically unable to 
     do so.
       Recommendation: DOD and the Department of State must 
     jointly perform comprehensive crisis defense and evacuation 
     planning for personnel at U.S. diplomatic facilities 
     worldwide, particularly in high risk environments to 
     determine whether DOD can provide timely support and 
     evacuation capabilities, and assist the Department of State 
     in deciding whether to keep facilities open.
       Recommendation: Because Africa has increasingly become a 
     haven for terrorist groups in places like Libya and Mali, DOD 
     should provide more assets and personnel within range on land 
     and sea to protect and defend both Americans and our allies 
     on the African continent.
       Finding 9. Although the September 11, 2012 attack in 
     Benghazi was recognized as a terrorist attack by the 
     Intelligence Community and personnel at the Department of 
     State from the beginning, Administration officials were 
     inconsistent in stating publicly that the deaths in Benghazi 
     were the result of a terrorist attack.
       One of the key lessons of this Committee's six-year focus 
     on the threat of violent Islamist extremism is that, in order 
     to understand and counter the threat we face, we must clearly 
     identify that threat. During the Committee's investigation 
     into the Fort Hood massacre, for example, we found systemic 
     problems with the way the military addressed violent Islamist 
     extremism in its policies and procedures (treating this 
     specific threat within the broader context of ``workplace 
     violence''). Similarly, while we welcomed the 
     Administration's release last year of a national strategy and 
     implementation plan for countering radicalization 
     domestically, we expressed our disappointment in the 
     Administration's continued refusal to identify violent 
     Islamist extremism as our enemy. The enemy is not a vague 
     catchall of violent extremism, but a specific violent 
     Islamist extremism. It is unfair to the vast majority of law-
     abiding Muslims not to distinguish between their peaceful 
     religion and a twisted corruption of that religion used to 
     justify violence.
       There are related lessons to be learned from the 
     Administration's public comments about Benghazi, which we 
     believe contributed to the confusion in the public discourse 
     after the attack about exactly what happened.
       The NCTC and U.S. law define terrorism as the 
     ``premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated 
     against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or 
     clandestine agents.'' Senior officials from the IC, the 
     Department of State, and the FBI who participated in 
     briefings and interviews with the Committee said they 
     believed the attack on the mission facility in Benghazi to be 
     a terrorist attack immediately or almost immediately after it 
     occurred. The ODNI's spokesman also has publicly said, ``The 
     intelligence community assessed from the very beginning that 
     what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.''
       In short, regardless of questions about whether there had 
     been a demonstration or protest outside the Temporary Mission 
     Facility in advance of the attack, the extent to which the 
     attacks were preplanned, or the role of an anti-Islamic video 
     which had sparked protests at the U.S. embassy in Cairo and 
     elsewhere earlier on September 11th, there was never any 
     doubt among key officials, including officials in the IC and 
     the Department of State, that the attack in Benghazi was an 
     act of terrorism.
       For example, two emails from the State Department 
     Diplomatic Security Operations Center on the day of the 
     attack, September 11, and the day after, September 12, 2012, 
     characterized the attack as an ``initial terrorism incident'' 
     and as a ``terrorist event.'' Agencies and offices 
     responsible for terrorism, including the National 
     Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), the CIA's Office of Terrorism 
     Analysis, and the FBI's Counterterrorism Division, were 
     immediately involved with gathering information about the 
     attack. Indeed, how could there have been any doubt in 
     anyone's mind that, when a large number of armed men break 
     into a U.S. diplomatic facility, set fire to its buildings, 
     and fire mortars at Americans, that it is by definition a 
     terrorist attack?
       However, the IC's assessment was not reflected consistently 
     in the public statements made by Administration officials, 
     several of whom cited the ongoing investigation, in the week 
     following the attack:
       On September 12th, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 
     attributed the attack to ``heavily armed militants'' who 
     assaulted the compound . . .'' Her suspicion was that the 
     people involved in this ``were looking to target Americans 
     from the start.'' She also noted that we ``continue to apply 
     pressure on Al Qaeda and other elements that are affiliated . 
     . .''
       Also that September 12th President Obama, referring to the 
     anti-Islamic video, said ``we reject all efforts to denigrate 
     the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no 
     justification to this type of senseless violence . . .'' He 
     went on to add, ``Of course, yesterday was already a painful 
     day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 
     attacks,'' and that ``No acts of terror will ever shake the 
     resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or 
     eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.''
       However, that same day, the President had the following 
     exchanges with Steve Kroft in a taping for the CBS news 
     program 60 Minutes:
       Mr. Kroft: Do you believe that this was a terrorist attack?
       The President: Well, it's too early to know exactly how 
     this came about, what group was involved, but obviously it 
     was an attack on Americans and we are going to be working 
     with the Libyan government to make sure that we bring these 
     folks to justice one way or the other . . .
       Mr. Kroft: That doesn't sound like your normal 
       The President: As I said, we're still investigating exactly 
     what happened, I don't want to jump the gun on this. But--
     you're right that this is not a situation that was--exactly 
     the same as what happened in Egypt. And--my suspicion is--is 
     that there are folks involved in this who were looking to 
     target Americans from the start. So we're gonna--make sure 
     that our first priority is to get our folks out safe, make 
     sure that our embassies are secured around the world. And 
     then we are gonna go after--those folks who carried this out 
     . . .
       This is also obviously a reminder that for all the progress 
     that we've made in fighting terrorism, that we're living in a 
     volatile world. And, you know, our troops, but also our 
     diplomats and our intelligence officers they're putting their 
     lives on the line every single day in some very dangerous 
     circumstances . . .
       But I think we also also have to understand that, we have 
     to remain vigilant. And that even as we--continue to apply 
     pressure on Al Qaeda and--other elements that are 
     affiliated--that in big chunks of the world, in Northern 
     Africa and the Middle East, you've got--a lot of dangerous 
     characters. And we've got to make sure that we're continuing 
     to apply pressure on them . . .
       Two days later, during a September 14, 2012, White House 
     press briefing, Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked to 
     respond to senators' characterizations of the incident as a 
     terrorist attack following a briefing by Secretary Panetta 
     and others:
       [Unidentified Reporter]: Jay, one last question--while we 
     were sitting here--Secretary Panetta and the Vice Chair of 
     the Joint Chiefs briefed the Senate Armed Services Committee. 
     And the senators came out and said their indication was that 
     this, or the attack on Benghazi was a terrorist attack 
     organized and carried out by terrorists, that it was 
     premeditated, a calculated act of terror. Levin said--Senator 
     Levin--I think it was a planned, premeditated attack. The 
     kind of equipment that they had used was evidence it was a 
     planned, premeditated attack. Is there anything more you 
     can--now that the administration is briefing senators on 
     this, is there anything more you can tell us?
       Mr. Carney: Well, I think we wait to hear from 
     administration officials. Again, it's actively under 
     investigation, both the Benghazi attack and incidents 
     elsewhere. And my point was that we don't have and did not 
     have concrete evidence to suggest that this was not in 
     reaction to the film. But we're obviously investigating the 
     matter, and I'll certainly--I'm sure both the Department of 
     Defense and the White House and other places will have more 
     to say about that as more information becomes available.
       Then, on September 16th, during one of several similar 
     appearances on the Sunday news programs, Ambassador Susan 
     Rice had the following exchange with David Gregory of NBC's 
     Meet the Press:
       Gregory: Can you say definitively that the attacks on--on 
     our consulate in Libya that killed Ambassador Stevens and 
     others there security personnel, that was spontaneous, was it 
     a planned attack? Was there a terrorist element to it?
       Ms. Rice: Well, let us--let me tell you the--the best 
     information we have at present. First of all, there's an FBI 
     investigation which is ongoing. And we look to that 
     investigation to give us the definitive word as to what 
     transpired. But putting together the best information that we 
     have available to us today our current assessment is that 
     what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous 
     reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, 
     almost a copycat of--of the demonstrations against our 
     facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the 
     video. What we think then transpired in Benghazi is that 
     opportunistic extremist elements came to the consulate as 
     this was unfolding. They came with heavy weapons which 
     unfortunately are readily available in post revolutionary 
     Libya. And it escalated into a much more violent episode. 
     Obviously, that's--that's our best judgment now. We'll await 
     the results of the investigation . . .
       On September 18th, President Obama said on the Late Show 
     with David Letterman that ``extremists and terrorists used 
     this (referring again to the anti-Islamist video) as an 
     excuse to attack a variety of our embassies, including the 
     consulate in Libya.''
       A definitive response to the question of whether Benghazi 
     was a terrorist attack was given by NCTC Director Matthew 
     Olsen during a hearing before this Committee on September 19, 
     2012. Olsen was asked by the Chairman whether he ``would say 
     that Ambassador Stevens and the three other Americans died as 
     a result of a terrorist attack.''

[[Page S8537]]

     Director Olsen responded that, ``[c]ertainly, on that 
     particular question, I would say yes. They were killed in the 
     course of a terrorist attack'' on our diplomatic mission in 
       After Olsen's September 19th appearance before the 
     Committee, other Administration officials stated with more 
     certainty that Benghazi was a terrorist attack. For example:
       On September 19th, referring to Matthew Olsen's statements 
     that Benghazi was a terrorist attack, Victoria Nuland stated 
     ``We stand by comments made by our intelligence community who 
     has first responsibility for evaluating the intelligence and 
     what they believe we are seeing.''
       On September 20th, Jay Carney said, ``It is, I think, self-
     evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist 
     attack. Our embassy was attacked violently, and the result 
     was four deaths of American officials. So again, that's self 
     evident . . . ''
       On September 21st, Secretary Clinton said, ``What happened 
     in Benghazi was a terrorist attack, and we will not rest 
     until we have tracked down and brought to justice the 
     terrorist who murdered four Americans.''
       On September 24th, however, when one of the co-hosts of the 
     television program The View asked the President to clarify 
     what she perceived to be discrepancies in the public record 
     regarding the Administration's position about whether 
     Benghazi attack was an act of terrorism, the President's 
     answer was not as definitive:
       Joy Behar: It was reported that people just went crazy and 
     wild because of this anti-Muslim movie, or anti-Muhammad, I 
     guess, movie. But then I heard Hillary Clinton say that it 
     was an act of terrorism. Is it? What do you say?
       The President: Well, we're still doing an investigation. 
     There's no doubt that the kind of weapons that were used, the 
     ongoing assault, that it wasn't just a mob action. Now, we 
     don't have all the information yet, so we're still gathering 
     it. But what's clear is that around the world, there's still 
     a lot of threats out there. And that's why we have to 
     maintain the strongest military in the world. That's why we 
     can't let down our guard when it comes to the intelligence 
     work that we do, and staying on top of not just al Qaeda--the 
     traditional al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan--but all 
     these various fringe groups that have started to develop . . 
       Director Olsen's statement on September 19, 2012 before 
     this Committee was also significant because he mentioned ties 
     to al Qaeda. He said:
       At this point, what I would say is that a number of 
     different elements appear to have been involved in the 
     attack, including individuals connected to militant groups 
     that are prevalent in eastern Libya, particularly in the 
     Benghazi area. As well, we are looking at indications that 
     individuals involved in the attack may have had 
     connections to al Qaeda or al Qaeda's affiliates, in 
     particular al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb.
       Olsen's acknowledgement was important because, in talking 
     points that were prepared the previous week by the IC for 
     Congress, a line saying ``we know'' that individuals 
     associated with al Qaeda or its affiliates participated in 
     the attacks had been changed to say: ``There are indications 
     that extremists participated,'' dropping the reference to al 
     Qaeda and its affiliates altogether. Members of the IC 
     differed over whether or not this information should remain 
     classified. It is nevertheless noteworthy that the analyst 
     who drafted the original talking points--a veteran career 
     analyst in the intelligence community believed it was 
     appropriate to include a reference to al Qaeda in the 
     unclassified talking points. The senior analyst concluded 
     that the information could be made public because of the 
     claims of responsibility made by Ansar al-Sharia, which has 
     been publicly linked to al Qaeda.
       In addition to the change deleting al-Qaeda, a reference to 
     ``attacks'' in Benghazi was changed to ``demonstrations.'' 
     Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper and 
     representatives from the CIA, the State Department, NCTC and 
     the FBI told this Committee that the changes characterizing 
     the attacks as ``demonstrations'' and removing references to 
     al-Qaeda or its affiliates were made within the CIA and the 
     IC, while the change from ``we know'' to ``indications'' was 
     made in response to an FBI request. They also testified that 
     no changes were made for political reasons, that there was no 
     attempt to mislead the American people about what happened in 
     Benghazi, and that the only change made by the White House 
     was to change a reference of ``consulate'' to ``mission.''
       To provide a full account of the changes made to the 
     talking points, by whom they were made and why, DNI Clapper 
     offered to provide the Committee with a detailed timeline 
     regarding the development of the talking points. At the time 
     of writing this report, despite repeated requests, the 
     Committee had yet to receive this timeline. According to a 
     senior IC official, the timeline has not been delivered as 
     promised because the Administration has spent weeks debating 
     internally whether or not it should turn over information 
     considered ``deliberative'' to the Congress. The September 
     28, 2012 public statement from the ODNI confirmed the IC's 
     judgment ``that some of those involved were linked to groups 
     affiliated with, or sympathetic to al Qa'ida.''
       We anticipate that the ongoing investigation into these 
     attacks by the FBI will provide important new details about 
     exactly which violent Islamist extremists carried out the 
     attack, the extent to which it was planned, and their precise 
     motivations. But as everyone now acknowledges, there is no 
     doubt that Benghazi was indeed a deliberate and organized 
     terrorist attack on our nation. If the fact that Benghazi was 
     indeed a terrorist attack had been made clear from the outset 
     by all Administration and Executive Branch spokespeople, 
     there would have been much less confusion and division in the 
     public response to what happened there on September 11, 2012.
       Much of the public discussion about the Benghazi attack has 
     focused on whether a protest took place in Benghazi prior to 
     the attack. While the IC worked feverishly in the days after 
     the attack to identify the perpetrators of the attack, they 
     did not place a high priority on determining with certainty 
     whether a protest had in fact occurred. The IC's preliminary 
     conclusion was that there had been a protest outside of the 
     mission prior to the attack, making this assessment based on 
     open source news reports and on other information available 
     to intelligence agencies. The IC later revised its assessment 
     and the Accountability Review Board has since ``concluded 
     that no protest took place before the Special Mission and 
     Annex attacks.''
       The unnecessary confusion in public statements about what 
     happened that night with regards to an alleged protest should 
     have ended much earlier than it did. Key evidence suggesting 
     the absence of a protest was not widely shared as early as it 
     could have been, creating or contributing to confusion over 
     whether this was a peaceful protest that evolved into 
     something more violent or a terrorist attack by an 
     opportunistic enemy looking for the most advantageous moments 
     to strike.
       As early as September 15th, the Annex team that had been in 
     Benghazi during the attack reported there had been no 
     protest. This information was apparently not shared broadly, 
     and to the extent that it was shared, it apparently did not 
     outweigh the evidence decribed above that there was a 
     protest. The next day, the President of Libya's General 
     National Congress, Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf, also stated on 
     the CBS News show Face the Nation that the attack was planned 
     and involved Al Qaeda elements.
       On September 15th and 16th, officials from the FBI 
     conducted face-to-face interviews in Germany of the U.S. 
     personnel who had been on the compound in Benghazi during the 
     attack. The U.S. personnel who were interviewed saw no 
     indications that there had been a protest prior to the 
     attack. Information from those interviews was shared on a 
     secure video teleconference on the afternoon of the 16th with 
     FBI and other IC officials in Washington; it is unclear 
     whether the question of whether a protest took place was 
     discussed during this video conference.
       Information from those interviews was written into FBI FD-
     302 interrogation reports and sent back to the FBI 
     headquarters. Nearly a week later, on or around September 
     22nd, key information from those interrogation reports was 
     disseminated by the FBI in Intelligence Information Reports 
     (IIRs) to other agencies within the IC. By that date, 
     however, the IC had already received conclusive proof via 
     other means that there had been no protest prior to the 
     attack, in the form of video evidence from the facility's 
     CCTV cameras.
       We also found documentation that one DS agent apparently 
     concluded there had been no protest as early as September 
     18th. On that date, a State Department DS agent who had seen 
     national press reporting about the attacks asked an agent at 
     the DS Command Center in an email, ``Was there any rioting in 
     Benghazi reported prior to the attack?'' The reply from the 
     Command Center agent: ``Zip, nothing, nada.''
       Recommendation: When terrorists attack our country, either 
     at home or abroad, Administration officials should speak 
     clearly and consistently about what has happened. While 
     specific details and a full accounting cannot be provided 
     until the government has completed its investigation, the 
     fact that a terrorist attack occurred must be communicated 
     with clarity.
       Finding 10. As discussed earlier, the talking points about 
     the September 11th attack in Benghazi which were issued by 
     the Intelligence Community on September 14th in response to a 
     request by the House Permanent Select Committee on 
     Intelligence, were the subject of much of the confusion and 
     division in the discussion of the attack. That confusion and 
     division were intensified by the fact that the talking points 
     were issued before the IC had a high degree of confidence 
     about what happened in Benghazi and in the midst of a 
     national political campaign.
       Recommendation: While the Intelligence Community's primary 
     mission is to inform the appropriate officials of the 
     executive and legislative branches of our government about 
     events that affect our security, it is not the responsibility 
     of the IC to draft talking points for public consumption--
     especially in the heat of a political campaign--and we 
     therefore recommend that the IC decline to do so in the 


       The deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans 
     at the hands of terrorists is a tragic reminder that the 
     fight our country is engaged in with Islamist extremists and 
     terrorists is not over. U.S. and

[[Page S8538]]

     Western diplomats, and other personnel operating in the 
     Middle East and other countries where these terrorists use 
     violence to further their extremist agenda and thwart 
     democratic reforms are increasingly at risk.
       We hope this report will help contribute to the ongoing 
     discussion that our nation must have about how best to 
     protect the brave men and women who serve our country abroad 
     and how to win this war that will continue for years to come. 
     We owe it to our public servants abroad to protect them as 
     they work to protect us. The government of the U.S. failed 
     tragically to fulfill that responsibility in Benghazi on 
     September 11, 2012. We hope the findings and recommendations 
     we have made in this Special Report will help ensure that 
     such a failure never happens again.


       1. The details of this narrative are based on briefings to 
     the Committee in November 2012, as well as publicly available 
     documents describing the narrative provided by the Department 
     of State and the Department of Defense.
       2. Charlene Lamb and Eric Nordstrom, interviews with 
     Committee staff, December 2012.
       3. U.S. Embassy Tripoli, Libya, Regional Security Office, 
     ``Security Incidents since June 2011.''
       4. Committee Member briefing, November 14, 2012.
       5. REDACTED, e-mail message to DS-IP-NEA, April 6, 2012.
       6. U.S. Embassy Tripoli, Libya, Regional Security Office, 
     ``Security Incidents since June 2011.''
       7. Ibid.
       8. Ibid.
       9. REDACTED, e-mail message to DS-IP-NEA; DSCC_E TIA/PII; 
     DSCC_E TIA/ITA; DSCC_C DS Seniors, ``Benghazi--SR--Attack on 
     British Ambassador Motorcade--06112012,'' June 11, 2012.
       10. Hadeel Al-Shalchi, ``Gunmen attack Tunisian consulate 
     in Benghazi,'' Reuters, June 18, 2012. http://
 idUSBRE85H1V620120618; Michel Cousins, ``Tunisian Consulate 
     in Benghazi attacked,'' Libya Herald, June 18, 2012. http://
 11. Navanti Group, Security Conditions in Benghazi, Libya, 
     July 12, 2012.
       12. However, as discussed later in this report, reliance 
     solely on early warning intelligence is insufficient for 
     making security improvement decisions.
       13. Homeland Threats and Agency Responses: Hearing before 
     the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, 
     United States Senate, 112th Cong., September 19, 2012. 
     (Statement of Matthew Olsen, Director, NCTC).
       14. Eli Lake, ``Ansar al Sharia's Role in Benghazi Attacks 
     still a Mystery,'' The Daily Beast, November 5, 2012, http://
       15. Ibid.
       16. For a general discussion of this phenomenon: Robert F. 
     Worth, ``Al Qaeda-Inspired Groups, Minus Goal of Striking 
     U.S.'', The New York Times, October 27, 2012, 
       17. Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, Al-
     Qaeda in Libya: A Profile, August 2012. See, e.g., the 
     discussion of two local Libyan Islamist-oriented militias--
     Ansar al-Sharia and al-A'hrar Libya--which are described as 
     broadcasting ``typical al-Qaeda-type propaganda on the 
     Internet.''(33), http://freebeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/
       18. As discussed further, infra, the State Department and 
     the IC must also think beyond ``warning'' intelligence of 
     specific attacks when making security decisions. This is one 
     of the key lessons of the Accountability Review Board (ARB) 
     Reports on the 1998 terrorist attacks on the U.S. embassies 
     in Kenya and Tanzania.
       19. Inman Report, Report of the Secretary of State's 
     Advisory Panel on Overseas Security, (June 1985). http://
       20. Charlene Lamb, interview with Committee staff, December 
     6, 2012.
       21. See Finzer v. Barry, 798 F.2d 1450, 1455 (D.C. Cir. 
     1986) (Bork, J.), (citing 2 C. Hyde, International Law 1249 
     (1945)) (``The principle that host states have a special 
     responsibility to ensure that foreign embassies and the 
     personnel inside them are free from threats of violence and 
     intimidation is `solidly entrenched in the Law of Nations.' 
       22. Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, (Adopted April 
     24, 1963, entered into force, March 19, 1967) Art. 31; see 
     also The 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Art. 
     22 (Adopted April 18, 1961, entered into force, April 29, 
       23. Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, (Adopted April 
     24, 1963, entered into force, March 19, 1967) Art. 40.
       24. Christopher M. Blanchard, Congressional Research 
     Service, Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy, October 18, 2012 
       25. Adam Nossiter and Kareem Fahim, ``Revolution Won, Top 
     Libyan Official Promises Elections and a More Pious State,'' 
     New York Times, October 24, 2011, A10.
       26. Ibid.
       27. Blanchard (17).
       28. Blanchard (6).
       29. See, for example, REDACTED, e-mail message to REDACTED, 
     January 4, 2012; or REDACTED, e-mail message to REDACTED, 
     April 1, 2012.
       30. ``Security Incidents since June 2011,'' U.S. Embassy 
     Tripoli, Libya, Regional Security Office and REDACTED, email 
     to DS-IP-NEA, ``Benghazi RSO Spot Report,'' March 15, 2012.
       31. Eric Nordstrom, interview with Committee staff, 
     December 7, 2012. The State Department did provide some 
     training to members of the Brigade.
       32. See, for example, REDACTED, e-mail message to REDACTED, 
     January 4, 2012; or REDACTED, e-mail message to REDACTED, 
     April 1, 2012. See also, REDACTED, email to REDACTED, June 
     17, 2012.
       33. REDACTED, e-mail message to REDACTED, June 17, 2012.
       34. REDACTED, e-mail message to REDACTED, ``Benghazi Hand-
     off Notes,'' August 29, 2012.
       35. REDACTED, e-mail message to Charlene Lamb, 
     ``Ambassador's protective detail in Benghazi,'' September 20, 
       36. The Security Failures of Benghazi: Hearing before the 
     Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. Congress, 
     112th Cong., October 10, 2012. (Eric Allan Nordstrom, 
     Regional Security Officer, Tripoli, Libya from 9/21/11--7/26/
       37. RSO Eric Nordstrom, Memorandum to DS/DSS/TIA/OSAC, 
     ``OSAC Crime and Safety Report,'' February 1, 2012.
       38. Ibid.
       39. REDACTED, e-mail message to REDACTED, ``The Guns of 
     August: security in eastern Libya,'' August 8, 2012.
       40. Ibid.
       41. REDACTED, e-mail message to REDACTED, ``Benghazi Weekly 
     Report, Special Eid al-Fitr Edition,'' August 20, 2012.
       42. Under an ordered departure, all U.S. diplomatic 
     personnel and their families are instructed by the Chief of 
     Mission to leave the post.
       43. Benghazi Assessment of Tripwires Breached as of August 
     13, 2012.
       44. REDACTED, e-mail message to REDACTED, ``Benghazi Weekly 
     Report,'' September 11, 2012, (1).
       45. REDACTED, e-mail message to Charlene Lamb, 
     ``Ambassador's protective detail in Benghazi,'' September 20, 
       46. State Department, Office of Inspector General, Review 
     of Best-Value Contracting for the Department of State Local 
     Guard Program and the Utility of Expanding the Policy Beyond 
     High-Threat Posts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, 
     February, 2012 (9).
       47. Ibid. (5).
       48. Alex Tiersky and Susan Epstein, Congressional Research 
     Service, Securing U.S. Diplomatic Facilities and Personnel 
     Abroad: Background and Policy Issues, November 26, 2012, (3).
       49. REDACTED, e-mail message to DS-IP-NEA and REDACTED, 
     September 13, 2012.
       50. NEA--Jeffrey Feltman, Action Memo to Under Secretary 
     Kennedy, December 27, 2011, (2).
       51. The Security Failures of Benghazi: Hearing before the 
     Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. Congress, 
     112th Cong., October 10, 2012. (Eric Allan Nordstrom, 
     Regional Security Officer, Tripoli, Libya from 9/21/11-7/26/
       52. Diplomatic Security Issues Only Briefing paper for 
     March 6, 2012 meeting of Assistant Secretary Boswell and 
     Ambassador Cretz.
       53. Eric Nordstrom, interview with Committee staff, 
     December 7, 2012.
       54. Ibid.
       55. NEA--Jeffrey Feltman, Action Memo to Under Secretary 
     Kennedy, December 27, 2011, (2).
       56. REDACTED, e-mail message to DS-IP-NEA and REDACTED, 
     September 13, 2012.
       57. Charlene Lamb and Eric Nordstrom, interviews with 
     Committee staff, December 2012.
       58. Charlene Lamb, interview with Committee staff, December 
     6, 2012.
       59. Department of State, Inspector General, Review of the 
     Department's Implementation of Mantraps, Report Number ISP-I-
     09-29, February 2009, (2-3).
       60. Attack on U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah, James C. 
     Oberwetter, U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, On-the-Record 
     Briefing, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, December 7, 2004 http://2001-
       61. Department of State, Inspector General, Review of the 
     Department's Implementation of Mantraps, Report Number ISP-I-
     09-29, February 2009, (3).
       62. Committee member briefing, November 14, 2012.
       63. Congressional Research Service (CRS), e-mail message to 
     Committee staff, December 20, 2012. For example, CRS noted 
     all Overseas Contingency Operations enacted and requested for 
     the Worldwide Security Protection account in Fiscal Years 
     2012 and 2013 were for facilities in Afghanistan and 
     Pakistan. Additionally, there was approximately $1.5 billion 
     funding for Iraq embassy ``security and overhead cover'' in 
     FY 2012.
       64. According to CRS, these include State Department 
     accounts for Worldwide Security Protection (WSP); Embassy 
     Security, Construction and Maintenance (ESCM); Diplomatic 
     Security, Counterterrorism within the Diplomatic and Consular 
     Programs; and Diplomatic Security within the Border Security 
       65. Department of State, Congressional Budget Justification 
     Volume 1: Department of State Operations Fiscal Year 2013 
     (February 13, 2012), and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 
     2012, P.L. 112-74.

[[Page S8539]]

       66. Alex Tiersky and Susan Epstein, Congressional Research 
     Service, Securing U.S. Diplomatic Facilities and Personnel 
     Abroad: Background and Policy Issues, November 26, 2012, 
       67. Eric Nordstrom, interview with Committee staff, 
     December 7, 2012.
       68. REDACTED, e-mail message to REDACTED, October 1, 2012.
       69. Eric Nordstrom, interview with Committee staff, 
     December 7, 2012.
       70. Eric Nordstrom, e-mail message to REDACTED, March 29, 
       71. Charlene Lamb, interview with Committee staff, December 
     6, 2012.
       72. Ibid.
       73. The Security Failures of Benghazi: Hearing before the 
     Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. Congress, 
     112th Cong., October 10, 2012. (Eric Allan Nordstrom, 
     Regional Security Officer from September 21--July 26, 2012).
       74. 12 Tripoli 690, July 9, 2012.
       75. The Security Failures of Benghazi: Hearing before the 
     Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. Congress, 
     112th Cong., October 10, 2012. (Eric Allan Nordstrom, 
     Regional Security Officer from September 21--July 26, 2012).
       76. DS/IP/OPO/FPD, Proposal for Security Support to RSO 
       77. Charlene Lamb, interview with Committee staff, December 
     6, 2012.
       78. REDACTED, e-mail message to REDACTED, August 30, 2012. 
     Subject: ``Latest tripwires for Tripoli and Benghazi,'' which 
     included an attached document entitled ``Benghazi assessment 
     of tripwires breached as of 8/31/2012''
       79. REDACTED, e-mail message to REDACTED, August 6, 2012, 
     ``Security Incident Involving Embassy Vehicle Driven by DOD 
       80. Eric Nordstrom, interview with Committee staff, 
     December 7, 2012.
       81. ``Benghazi.docx,'' document attached to email of August 
     31, 2012.
       82. Committee member briefing, November 29, 2012.
       83. NEA--Jeffrey Feltman, Action Memo to Under Secretary 
     Kennedy, December 27, 2011. Re: ``Future of Operations in 
     Benghazi, Libya''
       84. Accountability Review Board, Bombings of the US 
     Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on 
     August 7, 1998, (January 8, 1999). NB: The facility in 
     Benghazi was a lease and not new construction.
       85. Committee member briefing, November 14, 2012.
       86. Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Budget 
     Request from U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command: 
     Armed Services Committee, United States House of 
     Representatives, 112th Congress, February 29, 2012. (General 
     Carter Ham, Commander, United States Africa Command). http://
       87. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Noncombatant Evacuation 
     Operations, Report 3-68, December 23, 2010, I-1. http://
       88. General Carter Ham, Combatant Commander for Africa 
     Command, briefing Chairman and Ranking Member, December 6, 
       89. General Carter Ham, Counterterrorism in Africa, 
     Homeland Security Policy Institute event, December 3, 2012. 
     According to General Ham, DOD had been developing this force 
     since 2011.
       90. U.S. Senate, Homeland Security and Government Affairs 
     Committee, A Ticking Time Bomb: Counterterrorism Lessons From 
     the U.S. Government's Failure to Prevent the Fort Hood 
     Attack, 112th Cong., 1st sess, February 3, 2011, 7,9.
       91. The White House, Strategic Implementation Plan for 
     Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the 
     United States, December 2011.
       92. ``Lieberman, Collins React to Administration's 
     Countering Violent Extremism Strategic Implementation Plan,'' 
     Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, press 
     release, December 8, 2011. 
       93. The National Counterterrorism Center, Terrorism 
     Definitions, August 27, 2010. http://www.nctc.gov/site/other/
       94. Committee member briefings, November 14, 2012 and 
     November 29, 2012.
       95. ``Sources: Office of the DNI cut ``al Qaeda'' reference 
     from Benghazi talking points, and CIA, FBI signed off,'' CBS 
     News, November 20, 2010. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-
 96. See, for example, REDACTED on behalf of the DS Command 
     Center, email message, ``Terrorism Event Notification--
     Libya,'' September 12, 2012.
       97. Secretary Hillary Clinton, ``Remarks on the Deaths of 
     American Personnel in Benghazi, Libya,'' Treaty Room, 
     September 12, 2012.
       98. President Barack Obama, ``Remarks by the President on 
     the Deaths of U.S. Embassy Staff in Libya,'' Rose Garden, 
     September 12, 2012.
       99. President Barack Obama, interview by Steve Kroft, 60 
     Minutes, CBS, September 12, 2012, transcript.
       100. Benjamin Netanyahu, Susan Rice, Keith Ellison, Peter 
     King, Bob Woodward, Jeffrey Goldberg, Andrea Mitchell, 
     interview by David Gregory, Meet the Press, NBC, September 
     16, 2012, transcript. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/49051097/
 101. Homeland Threats and Agency Responses: Hearing before 
     the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, 
     United States Senate, 112th Cong., September 19, 2012. 
     (Statement of Matthew Olsen, Director, NCTC).
       102. Ibid.
       103. Department of State Spokesperson Victoria Nuland, 
     Press Briefing, September 19, 2012, transcript.
       104. Press Secretary Carney, press briefing, The White 
     House, September 20, 2012, transcript.
       105. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ``Remarks With 
     Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar Before Their 
     Meeting,'' Treaty Room, September 21, 2012.
       106. President Obama, interview by Joy Behar, The View, 
     September 24, 2012. http://www.youtube.com/
       107. Homeland Threats and Agency Responses: Hearing before 
     the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, 
     United States Senate, 112th Cong., September 19, 2012. 
     (Statement of Matthew Olsen, Director, NCTC). The ODNI also 
     released a statement on September 28, 2012 which confirmed 
     that the IC had ``assess[ed] that some of those involved were 
     linked to groups affiliated with, or sympathetic to al-
     Qa'ida.'' See Statement by the Director of Public Affairs for 
     the Director of National Intelligence, Shawn Turner, on the 
     intelligence related to the terrorist attack on the U.S. 
     Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, September 28, 2012.
       108. Committee member briefing, November 29, 2012.
       109. Committee member briefing, November 29, 2012.
       110. Sources: Office of the DNI cut ``al Qaeda'' reference 
     from Benghazi talking points, and CIA, FBI signed off, CBS 
     News, November 20, 2010
       111. Committee member briefing, November 29, 2012.
       112. ``Statement by the Director of Public Affairs for the 
     Director of National Intelligence, Shawn Turner, on the 
     intelligence related to the terrorist attack on the U.S. 
     Consulate in Benghazi, Libya,'' Office of the Director of 
     National Intelligence, press release, September 28, 2012.
       113. Accountability Review Board, Department of State, 
     December 19, 2012, 4.
       114. Acting Director Michael Morell, briefing Senator 
     Collins, November 28, 2012.
       115. Committee member briefing, November 29, 2012.
       116. Ibid.
       117. REDACTED, e-mail message on September 18, 2012.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine is recognized.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, I am pleased to join the chairman of the 
Homeland Security Committee, Senator Joe Lieberman, in submitting for 
the Congressional Record our investigative report on the terrorist 
attack against the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, that claimed the 
lives of four Americans who were serving our country. This report is 
indeed the last initiative the chairman and I will produce together. It 
is the final work product of 10 years of cooperation and collaboration 
and was authored in the same bipartisan spirit as our investigations 
into the attack at Fort Hood and into the Government's response to 
Hurricane Katrina, among many others.
  I will so miss working with Chairman Lieberman. He is an 
extraordinary Senator who has contributed so much during his years in 
the Senate and as a leader of our committee. Sadly, our last official 
act together was prompted by the terrorist attack in Benghazi on 
September 11 of this year that took the lives of our Ambassador and 
three other brave Americans. Our findings and recommendations are based 
on the extensive investigative work the committee has conducted since 
shortly after the attack of September 11, 2012, including meetings with 
senior and midlevel government officials; reviews of literally 
thousands of pages of documents, both classified and unclassified, 
provided by the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the 
intelligence community; a review of written responses to questions 
posed by our committee to numerous agencies; our consultations with 
security experts and former officials; and our review of publicly 
available documents.
  Our investigation found that the terrorists essentially walked right 
into the Benghazi compound, unimpeded, and set it ablaze due to 
extremely poor security in a threat environment that was indeed 
``flashing red,'' in the words of a high-ranking State Department 
  As we all recognize, the ultimate responsibility for this atrocity 
lies with the terrorists who attacked our diplomats. Nevertheless, 
there are several lessons we must learn from this tragedy if we are to 
make our diplomats

[[Page S8540]]

safer in the future. It is in that spirit that we are putting our 
unclassified report into the Record so that we can share it with our 
colleagues and with the American people. We will have more to say about 
our specific findings and recommendations when we release the report 
  In the months leading up to the attack, it was well known in 
Washington that Benghazi was increasingly dangerous and at risk for a 
significant attack.
  Our mission facility in Benghazi was itself the target of two prior 
attacks involving improvised explosive devices, including an April 
attack in which one current and one former contract guard at the 
facility were suspects, and a June attack that blew a hole in the 
perimeter wall.
  There were also multiple attacks on other western targets, including 
a June attack in which a rocket propelled grenade was fired at the 
convoy of the British ambassador to Libya, injuring two British 
bodyguards. Yet, the State Department failed to take adequate steps to 
reduce the facility's vulnerability to a terrorist attack of this kind.
  While the Department and the Intelligence Community lacked specific 
intelligence about this attack, the State Department should not have 
waited for--or expected--specific warnings before increasing its 
security in Benghazi, a city awash with weapons and violent extremists.
  Our report also underscores the need for the Intelligence Community 
to enhance its focus on violent Islamist extremist groups in the region 
to improve the likelihood of obtaining such intelligence.
  The lesson about over-dependence on such intelligence, however, is 
not new. The independent Accountability Review Board reports following 
the 1998 attacks on our embassies in Africa found that ``both the 
intelligence and policy communities relied excessively on tactical 
intelligence to determine the level of potential terrorist threats to 
posts worldwide,'' yet prior security reviews and ``previous experience 
indicate[d] that terrorist attacks are often not preceded by warning 
intelligence.'' The State Department must finally take this lesson to 
  The State Department failed to implement adequate security measures 
to account for the fact that there was no reasonable expectation that 
the host government--Libya--would protect our diplomats. There was an 
overreliance on the rule of international law when Benghazi was 
operating under the rule of militias outside the effective control of 
the central Libyan government.
  The unreliability and conflicting loyalties of the Libyan militia and 
the unarmed Blue Mountain guards hired to protect the facility are 
deeply troubling, especially since this problem was recognized long 
before the attack. Despite evidence that they were not dependable, 
American personnel were forced to rely upon them far too much. For 
example, in August, State Department personnel in Benghazi stated that 
``[m]ission opinion is that Libyan security forces are indifferent to 
the safety needs of the U.S. mission.'' This proved all too true.

  When a host nation cannot adequately protect our diplomats, the State 
Department must provide additional security measures of its own, 
urgently press the host government to upgrade its security forces, or 
remove U.S. personnel until appropriate steps can be taken to provide 
adequate security. It is telling that the British government removed 
its personnel from Benghazi after the attack on its ambassador.
  Too often, the State Department failed to sufficiently respond to--or 
even ignored--repeated requests from those on the ground in Benghazi 
for security resources, especially for more personnel.
  Ironically, the challenges facing the security personnel in Benghazi 
were well summarized in a March 2012 write-up from the top U.S. 
security officer in Benghazi as he sought to recognize his security 
agents with a meritorious honor award. The official justified the award 
based upon the fact that, ``Agent ingenuity took over where funding and 
Department restrictions left off.''
  The temporary and junior security personnel in Benghazi pleaded for 
more help from Washington and Tripoli, but they were forced to make do 
on their own.
  The Department must also reassess its local guard programs, 
particularly the use at high-risk posts of local guard contractors who 
do not meet standards necessary for the protection of our personnel or 
  I have previously noted the parallels and repeated mistakes 
identified in the report on the 1998 bombings of our embassies in Kenya 
and Tanzania, and we include several of these in our report. One of the 
recurring lessons is that the President and Congress must work together 
to ensure that we appropriately fund security for the State Department.
  We have seen finger pointing about the lack of resources for embassy 
security, but the budget is a shared responsibility. The inadequate 
security in Benghazi was a product of both budgets approved by Congress 
and of the desire of the administration for a light footprint.
  Overall, appropriations for the Department of State's security have 
increased by 27 percent since 2007 and Congress has generally been 
responsive in providing supplemental and Overseas Contingency 
Operations--OCO--funds to the Department of State. But, there was no 
supplemental or OCO request made by the President for additional 
embassy security enhancements in the last three years.

  The administration must reevaluate its budget priorities, and since 
the Benghazi attack, Secretary Clinton is undertaking such a review. 
She has asked to reprogram $1.4 billion of the FY13 budget request to 
jump start this effort.
  The lack of resources is just one of a number of factors we 
identified in our report that contributed to a perfect storm on the 
night of September 11.
  Our report also calls for the State Department to work more closely 
with the Department of Defense and the intelligence community to 
improve the security of our diplomats in high-threat areas when our 
national interests require their presence. When a host nation cannot 
protect our personnel, the Department of State must work more 
effectively with the Department of Defense to assign and deploy 
military assets, such as Marine Security Guards, and plan for 
contingencies in the event of an attack.
  One of our findings is that, while the Defense Department attempted 
to mobilize its resources quickly, it had neither the personnel nor 
other assets close enough to reach Benghazi in a timely fashion. 
Indeed, as we learned, the Combatant Commander of U.S. Africa Command 
did not have complete visibility regarding the number of U.S. 
government personnel in Benghazi who would require evacuation in the 
event of an attack.
  Our diplomats are increasingly being called on to serve in dangerous 
posts, in countries where emerging democracies lack the ability to 
protect U.S. personnel and where terrorists and extremist factions 
harbor antipathy toward the West. The U.S. cannot afford to retreat 
entirely from dangerous places where our country's interests are at 
stake, nor is it possible or smart to transform every diplomatic post 
into a fortress.
  The absence of reasonable time-tested security measures is, however, 
unacceptable in such high-risk countries. When a host nation cannot 
adequately protect our diplomats or if the State Department and other 
U.S. agencies cannot work together to provide appropriate security, we 
cannot ignore the option of temporarily removing U.S. personnel until 
appropriate steps can be taken to provide adequate security.
  Finally, our report concludes that the attack in Benghazi was 
recognized as a terrorist attack by the intelligence community from the 
  Nonetheless, administration officials were inconsistent in stating 
publicly that the deaths in Benghazi were the result of a terrorist 
attack. If the fact that Benghazi was indeed a terrorist attack had 
been made clear from the outset by the administration, there would have 
been much less confusion about what happened in Benghazi that terrible 
night. The attack clearly was not a peaceful protest in response to a 
hateful anti-Muslim video that evolved into a violent incident. It was 
a terrorist attack by an opportunistic enemy.
  This, too, is not a new lesson. One of the key lessons of this 
Committee's 6-

[[Page S8541]]

year focus on the threat of violent Islamist extremism is that, in 
order to understand and counter the threat we face, we must clearly 
identify that threat. We have repeatedly expressed our disappointment 
in the administration's reluctance to identify violent Islamist 
extremism as our enemy--while making the sharp distinction between the 
peaceful religion of Islam and a twisted corruption of that religion 
used to justify violence. The administration's inconsistent statements 
about whether this was a terrorist attack are symptomatic of this 
recurring problem. We hope this lesson will finally be heeded.
  Ultimately, it is with the goal of enabling continued U.S. engagement 
around the world to support our own national interests that we offer 
our findings and recommendations regarding the terrorist attacks in 
Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. The men and women who serve our 
country in dangerous posts deserve no less.
  Mr. President, I thank the chairman for his extraordinary work on 
this very important project.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia is recognized.
  Mr. MANCHIN. Mr. President, first, I thank both of my colleagues for 
their diligent work. They committed themselves to this work, and I 
appreciate it. They keep us all informed.
  (The remarks of Mr. Manchin pertaining to the introduction of (S. 
3714) are located in today's Record under ``Statements on Introduced 
Bills and Joint Resolutions.'')