White House press secretary Jay Carney said aboard Air Force One today that the Senate Intelligence Committee report on Benghazi, which found that the U.S. was ill-prepared and the deadly attack could have been prevented, just underscores what the administration’s internal investigation found.
“You know the administration has made extraordinary efforts to work with seven different congressional committees investigating what happened before, during, and after the Benghazi attacks, including testifying at 13 congressional hearings, participating in 50 staff briefings, and providing over 25,000 pages of documents,” Carney told reporters en route to Raleigh, N.C., where President Obama delivered remarks on manufacturing innovation.
“Today’s report largely reaffirms the findings reached by the independent Benghazi Accountability Review Board, and a number of the recommendations are consistent with the work the State Department has taken to improve diplomatic security, including upgrading security cameras, improving fire-protective equipment, and increasing Marine security guard presence,” he said.
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton selected four members of that review board, while Director of National Intelligence James Clapper picked the fifth.
“I’d refer you to the State Department for the status on implementing each of those recommendations,” Carney continued. “But as you know, the administration is focused on two pieces: bringing to justice those responsible for the deaths of four Americans; and making sure that we take the steps necessary to improve the security at vulnerable facilities so that our men and women serving overseas in diplomatic positions are — rather, to improve their security, as I said.”
“So I think this reinforces what other investigations have found, which is that there was not enough security to protect the four Americans who lost their lives and that there are things that we must do and that we are doing to ensure that we do everything we can to protect the security of Americans serving overseas, often in difficult circumstances and dangerous circumstances.”
Republicans in Congress, though, said today’s bipartisan report showed that the investigation is not over.
“This report will contribute to the overall examination into those attacks. However, this is not a complete report, and it only sheds light on part of the overall picture. The American people deserve the truth when it comes to the Benghazi attacks, and more work needs to be done,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
“Throughout this investigation, the Obama administration was more of a roadblock than a contributor to committee efforts to look into the root cause of these attacks. This is especially troubling given that no one at the State Department, which has direct responsibility for the safety of U.S. diplomatic posts overseas, has been held accountable,” Rubio added. “Despite many promises of ensuring justice for those behind this attack, that has not happened. This complete absence of accountability is unacceptable, and it is my hope that this administration will finally commit the intelligence, diplomatic and military resources to bring those responsible for these attacks to justice.”
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said he’s “deeply troubled by the findings in this report.”
“The fact that the administration knew it was unprepared to protect those serving in Benghazi from terrorist attacks is highly disturbing. Unfortunately, we still don’t know why the administration failed to increase embassy security in the weeks leading up to the attack, even when it knew the situation on the ground was getting worse,” Blunt said.
“I will continue working with my colleagues to uncover the facts surrounding these attacks and to ensure the military, the intelligence community, and the State Department follow through with the intelligence committee’s recommendations to improve the security of U.S. officials serving overseas.”