Benghazi in Brief
So, the Accountability Review Board has produced its much-awaited report on Benghazi. The unclassified version of the document was featured briefly Tuesday evening on the home page of the State Department's web site, but has now dropped to somewhere less prominent and harder to locate. Perhaps someone had second thoughts about putting it out front. You can find it here. The report confirms a number of things already obvious: There was no spontaneous mob, and security was "grossly inadequate." The report concludes with a bureaucratic flourish that no one need be fired; while some State Department officials "demonstrated a lack of proactive leadership and management ability appropriate for the State Department's senior ranks," there was no finding of misconduct or willful dereliction of duties of a kind that might warrant "disciplinary action."
In sum, don't get your hopes up that you'll learn all that much from this report, except that it is extremely difficult to get fired from the senior ranks of the State Department. This review does almost nothing to dispel the official haze which since the Sept. 11th attacks has hung over the broader scene in Benghazi, or the region. Blessedly, "the video" is not invoked. Though, neither is its repeated invocation by the administration explained. The "perpetrators" of the Benghazi attacks are in this account still faceless, pending the results of an FBI investigation; the attacks were part of a larger fog of a "fragmenting" and "devolving" al Qaeda, and a "growing diffuse range of terrorist and hostile actors."
There is, however, an account now available that provides a far better picture of what really happened that day, and what's been happening since. This is what they ought to be reading at the State Department, and anyplace else -- including small town America -- where folks are concerned about American security. It comes from my colleague, Thomas Joscelyn, writing for The Weekly Standard on "Al Qaeda Lives: The real story behind Benghazi and the other attacks of 9/11/12."