State Department Accountability Review on Benghazi
The short version of the State Department Accountability Review Board for Benghazi report is that communication and decision-making failures within and between the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs left the U.S. Mission in Benghazi understaffed, underfunded, and underprotected which caused the security failure that led to the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens on September 11, 2012.
The unclassified version of the report does not mention individuals in those two bureaus by name, but it was later reported that four State Department officials resigned including Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Embassy Security Charlene Lamb, another unnamed official in diplomatic security, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Maghreb Affairs Raymond Maxwell.
The ‘dozens of armed attackers’ responsible for killing four Americans and injuring two Americans and three Libyans are not identified as a particular group in the report. However, there are hints in the report that armed Islamist extremists carried out the attacks because of the inability of Libya’s central government to build functioning security institutions in service of the country rather than purely local interests prior to September 11. In that deteriorating security situation:
Frequent clashes, including assassinations, took place between contesting militias. Fundamentalist influence with Salafi and al Qaeda connections was also growing, including notably in the eastern region.
Out of the report’s 24 recommendations, it seems likely that U.S. diplomatic missions around the world will see an increase in security personnel including a greater Marine presence. There is also a recommendation for increased Arabic language skills and training in State Department staff, especially diplomatic security. If U.S. diplomats are ever allowed outside of their increasingly fortified missions again, at least they will be well equipped to forge connections with Arabic speaking people in the conduct of diplomacy.