TOPICS > Politics

Report Finds State Dept. at Fault for ‘Systemic Failures’ of Benghazi Security

December 19, 2012 at 12:00 AM EDT

JUDY WOODRUFF: Three U.S. State Department officials quit today after a new report stated that security measures at a diplomatic facility in Libya were — quote — “grossly inadequate.”

Jeffrey Brown has more.

JEFFREY BROWN: The highly critical report came three months after the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead.

Former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Admiral Mike Mullen, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, chaired the outside accountability review board. They spoke at the State Department.

THOMAS PICKERING, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations: Frankly, the State Department had not given Benghazi the security, both physical and personnel resources, it needed.

ADM. MICHAEL MULLEN, former Joints Chiefs chairman: Certain State Department bureau-level senior officials in critical positions of authority and responsibility in Washington demonstrated a lack of leadership.

JEFFREY BROWN: Overall, the report found that, “Systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies resulted in a security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place.”

Earlier, Mullen and Pickering briefed members of key House and Senate committees in private. Lawmakers on both sides endorsed the findings.

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN, D-Ill.: There was a breakdown in Benghazi on September 11 that is stark and challenging to all of us in public life.

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO, R-Wyoming: Clearly, there were very poor judgments being made within the State Department. There was a failure of leadership.

JEFFREY BROWN: In a letter that accompanied the full report, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called it “a clear-eyed look at serious, systemic challenges that we have already begun to fix.” She said she accepted all of the recommendations.

The report didn’t single out specific individuals, but three State Department officials, Charlene Lamb, Eric Boswell, and Raymond Maxwell, resigned today.

And, last week, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice removed her name for consideration to become secretary of state. She’d been heavily criticized by Republicans for not immediately calling the incident a terrorist attack. There will be more tomorrow, as Deputy Secretaries of State William Burns and Thomas Nides testify at House and Senate hearings.