House Oversight Panel Releases Benghazi Report

White House officials “failed to comprehend or ignored” the severity of the deteriorating security situation in Libya and the surrounding area preceding the 2012 attack on the Libya consulate, according to a report released Tuesday from the House Armed Services Committee’s oversight and investigations panel. In addition, the report notes that US personnel in Benghazi “were woefully vulnerable” at the time because intelligence did not provide a specific “imminent” threat, the military force posture did not change despite the upcoming anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, and the State Department “favored” a reduction of Defense Department security personnel in Libya before the attack. The report also notes that US military response to the attack “was severely degraded because of the location and readiness posture of US forces, and because of lack of clarity about how the terrorist action was unfolding,” states a HASC summary of the report. “However, given the uncertainty about the prospective length and scope of the attack, military commanders did not take all possible steps to prepare for a more extended operation.” (Read full report; caution, large-sized file.) (See also NATO’s Lessons from Libya from the June 2013 issue of Air Force Magazine.)