The Accountability Review Board’s report portrays a total system breakdown in the attacks on the U.S. consulate and the CIA annex, though the Central Intelligence Agency wasn’t mentioned once in the public version of the report. The full, classified version included recommendations related to intelligence matters, as Clinton reiterated Wednesday when explaining her constraints to answering some questions that dealt with intelligence recommendations.
Intelligence agency reports failed to provide any “immediate, specific tactical warning” of the Sept. 11 attacks, the panel found, adding that “known gaps existed in the intelligence community’s understanding of extremist militias in Libya and the potential threat they posed to U.S. interests.”
The consulate in Benghazi, according to the review board’s report, had an inadequate number of security agents, a lack of protective equipment, and was overseen by officials who failed to appreciate and craft a response to the city’s rapidly deteriorating security situation. The Libyan militia that was assigned to protect U.S. convoys was on strike at the time of the attack, upset over wages and working hours.
While the report didn’t fill in the gaps on what the Obama administration knew about the attacks and when – one of the most controversial points in the government’s handling of the aftermath – the panel did find that there was no anti-American demonstration preceding the attack, as senior officials once had insisted.
“The board concluded that there was no protest prior to the attacks, which were unanticipated in their scale and intensity,” stated the unclassified version of the report that was released publicly.
Steven Thomma of the Washington Bureau contributed.