Senators: Benghazi Attack 'Likely Preventable'

By CNN News Wire

Published 01/15 2014 11:41AM

Updated 01/15 2014 11:42AM

Attack on US compound in Benghazi, Libya
Attack on US compound in Benghazi, Libya/Reuters

(CNN) -- The September 2012 attack that killed four Americans at a diplomatic compound in Libya was "likely preventable" based on known security shortfalls there and prior warnings that the security situation in that country was deteriorating, the majority of the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded in a report released Wednesday.

The report on the attack in Benghazi puts some blame on the State Department, saying it should have "increased its security posture more significantly" in Libya's second-largest city because of general warnings that U.S. personnel were at risk there.

The intelligence community "provided ample strategic warning" that Americans and U.S. facilities were in danger, though it didn't offer a single warning that would have predicted the Benghazi attack that killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three others, the report said.

But the report didn't spare the intelligence community, saying it might have flagged potential threats to the compound had it done more analysis of "extremist-affiliated social media."

It also blasted the intelligence community for inaccurately reporting -- without "sufficient intelligence to corroborate it" -- that a protest might have led to the attack. The report said the community took too long to correct the erroneous reports, "which caused confusion and influenced the public statements of policymakers."

The report also noted what the FBI previously told the panel -- that 15 people who have been cooperating with the FBI investigation had been killed in Benghazi, severely hampering the investigation. The report says it is unclear whether the killings were related to the Benghazi investigation.

"The FBI's investigation into the individuals responsible for the Benghazi attacks has been hampered by inadequate cooperation and a lack of capacity by foreign governments to hold these perpetrators accountable, making the pursuit of justice for the attacks slow and insufficient," the report said. "As a result, key information gaps remain about the potential foreknowledge and complicity of Libyan militia groups and security forces, the level of pre-planning for the attacks, the perpetrators and their involvement in other terrorist activities and the motivation for the attacks."

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