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Senate panel: Benghazi warnings not heeded

January 15, 2014 News Extra

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WASHINGTON — The Senate Intelligence Committee this morning released a report on the deadly assault on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, laying blame on the State Department, and the intelligence community for failing to communicate and heed warnings of terrorist activity.

The highly critical report also says the U.S. military was not positioned to aid the Americans in need, though the head of Africa Command had offered military security teams that the late Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in the attack, had rejected weeks before the attack.

It also said that in the aftermath of the attacks, U.S. analysts confused policymakers by blaming the violence on protests without enough supporting intelligence.

The 2012 Benghazi attacks have dogged the Obama administration, because then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice initially blamed the violence on mob protests over an anti-Islamic film. Al-Qaida-linked militant groups were later blamed for the attacks, first when militants overran the temporary U.S. mission on Sept. 11, 2012, and later that same night, when militants fired mortars at the nearby CIA annex.

The bipartisan report may settle what has become a running political battle between Republicans, who say the Obama administration has been covering up what they consider misdeeds, and the administration, which says Republicans are on a political witch hunt.

Committee chairman Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, says she hopes this will put to rest conspiracy theories about the militant attacks. Republican vice chairman Saxby Chambliss of Georgia said the report shows despite a deteriorating security situation in Benghazi, the U.S. government did not do enough to prevent the attacks or to protect the diplomatic facility.

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