• Benghazi Deaths: Gosh Darn, No One Really at Fault

    December 19, 2012

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: * Most Popular, Embassy/State, Libya

    The State Department’s own version of reality in Benghazi, the Accountability Review Board (ARB) report, is ever so predictable. The report took close to three months to complete, conveniently bypassing the election to come out in the news doldrums of Christmas time. As could have been predicted, the report finds no one at State to blame really, at least not in an actionable way, and requests more money for the State Department.

    UPDATED: Only the head of State’s Diplomatic Security Bureau “resigned” (i.e., retire earlier than planned with full benefits and no official blot on his record), showing he has a micron more sense of responsibility than the people who drafted the report and, of course, the concussive-but-missing-in-action Secretary of State.

    The other three State Department officials who supposedly “resigned” over the Benghazi incident have merely been given different jobs within the State Department. The three are all relatively low-ranking employees; their names were withheld from the released version of the report and are only reported in the classified version, even though none of the three works undercover or anything like it. The classification is just to avoid embarrassing anyone.

    Money

    As always, State misses no chance to repurpose failure and tragedy (as with Iraq) into a request for more funding. The ARB report says:

    The solution requires a more serious and sustained commitment from Congress to support State Department needs, which, in total, constitute a small percentage both of the full national budget and that spent for national security. One overall conclusion in this report is that Congress must do its part to meet this challenge and provide necessary resources to the State Department to address security risks and meet mission imperatives.


    Who’s in Charge?

    The report has a few comments on leadership at State:

    Communication, cooperation, and coordination among Washington, Tripoli, and Benghazi functioned collegially at the working-level but were constrained by a lack of transparency, responsiveness, and leadership at the senior levels. Among various Department bureaus and personnel in the field, there appeared to be very real confusion over who, ultimately, was responsible and empowered to make decisions based on both policy and security considerations.

    The Board found that certain senior State Department officials within two bureaus demonstrated a lack of proactive leadership and management ability in their responses to security concerns posed by Special Mission Benghazi, given the deteriorating threat environment and the lack of reliable host government protection.


    Pretty damning stuff, right? Heads will roll? After all, four Americans were killed. But wait for the conclusion:

    However, the Board did not find reasonable cause to determine that any individual U.S. government employee breached his or her duty.


    Though the ARB report does sort of, maybe a little, touch on the real issue here:

    The Board recognizes that poor performance does not ordinarily constitute a breach of duty that would serve as a basis for disciplinary action but is instead addressed through the performance management system. However, the Board is of the view that findings of unsatisfactory leadership performance by senior officials in relation to the security incident under review should be a potential basis for discipline recommendations by future ARBs, and would recommend a revision of Department regulations or amendment to the relevant statute to this end.


    The Money Shot

    Your State Department in a nutshell: A report that concludes “poor performance” alone is grounds for, well, not much, even when that level of poor performance falls to lethal levels. Best thing to do is revise some internal rules. Meanwhile, four people are dead, leadership in disarray but really, no one will officially take any fall for any of this. Senior leadership problems point to a failure to lead even higher up (the buck stops where?) but the only person who said she would take responsibility for what happened in Benghazi, the Secretary of State herself, is not mentioned in the report and won’t even appear before Congress to talk about it because she is in bed after “falling down” at home. Add in a couple of symbolic resignations without penalty and stick a fork in it, ’cause this one’s done babies. Now, about Hillary’s Nobel prize… too early?

    Seriously, about Hillary. Let’s assume it is true she fell down and hit her head a few days ago. Why can’t she make a public statement? Is she tied to a bed? On life support? Will it all magically be OK in a couple of days (after the hearings and news cycle?) She’s working from home we’re told, not in a hospital, so it is not that serious. NFL players get concussions and are back in the game. Really really really Hillary just can’t say ANYTHING? I am not a conspiracy monger but c’mon, this s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s disbelief just a bit much.

    Representative Allen West from Florida christened Hillary’s headache as the “Benghazi Flu,” and said “I don’t think that this should become the new normal and next thing you know four years from now we have Hillary Clinton running for president when we had this death of the ambassador” and others.



    Now, let’s watch Ambassador Chris Stevens’ body get dragged out of the Benghazi office and remember how no one will suffer, except him, for all this:




    You can read the entire steaming pile of self-cover up here if you’re having trouble sleeping for some reason, such as, perhaps Mrs. Clinton, guilt?




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    Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!

  • Recent Comments

    • pitchfork said...

      1

      Well sooprise sooprise sooprise!! zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

      I guess ole Eric Boswell just resigned so he could spend more time on the golf course. After all, no one is to blame..so what the heck, right? I mean, geezus, what’s a guy who was a monumental FAIL to do? Course, I ‘spect the Prez will have something to say..like…oh…I don’t know..prolly somethin like..”ya did a heck of a job there Eric!!”

      For fucksake. I’m so sick of this shit I could just scream.

      12/19/12 6:12 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...

      2

      At least he didn’t Tweet or blog without permission ’cause thems hanging offenses!

      12/19/12 6:17 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      3

      It’s a MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD:

      “Despite all the criticism, the ARB found no U.S. government employee had engaged in misconduct or ignored responsibilities and did not recommend any individual be disciplined.
      Clinton, who is recovering from a stomach virus and concussion, ordered the review in the aftermath of the attack.”

      Is this doesn’t make you vomit:

      PVB documents the clusterfuck in Iraq and gets fired.

      The ARB documents the DS clusterfuck in Benghazi and NO ONE is fired.

      “Three State Department officials resigned under pressure Wednesday, less than a day after a damning report blamed management failures for a lack of security at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, where militants killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans on Sept. 11.”

      Understandable that a Gov that has spent the past ten years lying its ass off about the Iraq War and reconstruction couldn’t tell the truth about Benghazi.

      12/19/12 6:32 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      4

      quote:”….’cause thems hanging offenses!:unquote

      Youbetcha…vs…destroying torture video tapes. Or passin classified movie makin stuff.. or murderin ‘murican citizens… naw, them’s PROFIT makin “offences”.

      good god. Another day in paradise.

      12/19/12 6:34 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      5

      speakin of movies..on a side note…, now that CIA Studios have a propaganda hit on their hands, what’s their next one..the glorification of Murder Inc.? Or The Obsidian King…or how bout The Drone’s of Happiness? Better yet..how bout a reality series…like “Torture for Dollars”! Yeah yeah..that’ll really make some bucks..you know..for funding MEK training or overthrowing some country..or assassinat..er..Target Eliminate some foreign dignitary or President ..right? Heck, make Mr. Torture himself, Jose Rodriquez the host! Man..that’d be just too cool. Just think,..contestants get to Torture dissidents..or some Muslim ..LIVE!…the one that makes the victim confess first… WINS!! Yeah..thats it!!..and each one gets to use a different device and technique. Like cool. One can use 240v electrical shocks to the armpits, and the next gets to drill holes in the victims knees..and the next can slice their companions testicles… and the next can beat his companion into submission…far out. ‘Murica’ll love it. I bet it’ll even outdo ‘Murican Idol!! Well, ya’ll got’s to excuse me now..I gotta go ..nevermind, I’m puked out.

      12/19/12 6:42 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      6

      quote:”Despite all the criticism..”unquote

      BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

      P E R F E C T.

      they got it down pat.

      12/19/12 6:53 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      7

      “We got to get organized”

      Per Wired: “But the Benghazi commission also provides little confidence in the security officers who’d have to operate and oversee the non-lethal weapons. The State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security comes across in the commission’s report as barely able to manage the resources that it already has. Not only did the Benghazi consulate depend on a “poorly skilled” Libyan militia and unarmed guards from the Blue Mountain security firm, the commission found the Diplomatic Security bureau needs to “upgrade surveillance cameras at high risk, high threat posts for greater resolution, nighttime visibility, and monitoring capability beyond post”; create an “action plan” about what to do about “the use of fire as a weapon against diplomatic facilities”; and “revisit [its] high-threat training with respect to active internal defense and fire survival.”

      Imagine, DS has to create an “action plan” about what to do…

      12/19/12 7:00 PM | Comment Link

    • teri said...

      8

      How about we stop invading countries, arming bad guys, running CIA blacksites which we pretend are “embassies”, hiring mercenaries (armed or unarmed, legged or unlegged), handing out weapons which we then have to send “diplomats” in to collect, killing tens of thousands of civilians in “humanitarian interventions”, and allowing DS agents to kill the locals while drunk. (Oh, sorry, that last has only happened here in the States. My bad.) Has it occurred to anyone in the State Dept., the White House, or Congress that rather than beefing up security in countries we just ruined that the answer might be to stay home and stop pissing people off?

      12/19/12 7:31 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      9

      What do you expect in a MAD World?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECUrx_HHN2E

      12/19/12 8:08 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      10

      quote:” Has it occurred to anyone in the State Dept., the White House, or Congress that rather than beefing up security in countries we just ruined that the answer might be to stay home and stop pissing people off?” unquote

      Occurred? That’s funny. Hell, that’s their whole purpose!! You know..that ole Empire thing. Besides, they don’t give a damn about pissing people off..they just blow em to smithereens..see..no more protest.

      Oh, about that “stay home” thing too. geeezus…they wouldn’t have a goddamned thing to do..other than..well, you know.. just for argument sake, maybe..FIX this country’s infrastructure for starters, or build a few new hospitals for our vets, or any number of things this country needs..but NOOOOOOOOOOOO. These
      war mongering psychos gotta ruin the entire damn planet. After all, it’s all up for corporate grabs. First come..first serve…ya’ll!

      12/19/12 8:43 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      11

      Obama’s Folly (serendipitously deciding Qaddafi had to be removed) will demand an official coverup of the resulting mess in Libya and surrounding nations for perhaps decades. Don’t look anymore to DC for a truthful analysis of foreign military ventures period. That era-if it ever existed- is over.

      12/19/12 11:48 PM | Comment Link

    • Lafacadio said...

      12

      There is a reason I’ve been harping on Ms. Harty. Just as she came back after five years, when no one was looking and everyone had forgotten, sure as shit you will see Boswell and Lamb back in some capacity, be it contractor or OIG, with State in 4 or 5 years.

      Hopefully, they won’t give these awards, as they did Harty (a couple of years after she was gone).

      In fact, Boswell was already on his second stint as head of DS. (See link below). Apparently, the thinking is that the bench at State/DS isn’t very deep, since they’ve been recycling.

      Also, check out Boswell’s wife (not in that sense). She was head of a anti-corruption NGO and baiscally got fired because of her Susan Rice like attitude towards the help.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_J._Boswell

      http://www.mainjustice.com/justanticorruption/2011/03/16/transparency-international-usa-chief-announces-departure-after-tensions-boil/

      12/20/12 1:20 AM | Comment Link

    • Tailwind said...

      13

      DS staff are known for possessing limited skills, being ignorant of local culture, and confused by real and imagined threats. But with fantasies of taking a whack at us on 9-11 still actively circulating, you would think despite their limitations, even DS would know enough to ensure that 9-11 itineraries in posts like Tripoli would be low profile. Allowing the Ambo to travel to the muslim field to open an American Cultural Center on 9-11 establishes a new low for this hapless organization.

      12/20/12 4:15 AM | Comment Link

    • Lafacadio said...

      14

      One more thing: Boswell is a Foreign Service Officer, not a DS agednt who rose through the ranks. DS has grown explosively since the early 1980’s. When they have an FSO in charge of a unit a lot of the other FSO’s don’t really admire, their main job is to limit the growth of the security apparatus.

      So Boswell was likely advocating more limited security at most places.

      12/20/12 10:57 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      15

      PVB: Hillary’s future Nobel Peace Prize? Well, anything is possible in late stage empire implosion. I wonder if Obama keeps his in the war room or next to him when he is working with his hit list?

      12/20/12 1:31 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      16

      quote” I wonder if Obama keeps his in the war room or next to him when he is working with his hit list?”unquote

      Well, who knows, but I wonder what the first words that come out of his mouth are when he enters the War room. Perhaps something like the drone pilot?..ie..

      “Ok guys, which motherfucker is going to die today?”

      Wouldn’t surprise me.

      12/20/12 1:58 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      17

      Was this in the report?

      “RSO Nordstrom sent the requests even though Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charlene Lamb had asked him by phone not to do so, citing, he testified, political reasons.

      “I recall specifically two phone calls,” Nordstrom said. “In those conversations, I was specifically told you cannot request an SST extension… (Stevens and I) felt strongly about the need for them and we went ahead and requested them anyway.”

      Somebody is lying.

      12/20/12 2:05 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      18

      Speaking of DS and no one really at fault, a Florida fast food customer is using the Good Deedy excuse:

      http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/12/19/1360511/michael-jock-shooter/

      12/20/12 2:17 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      19

      At State the buck stops at the sacrificial LAMB.

      The news that only one State Dept. official – Boswell – has been forced to resign makes sense if Boswell the only official who approved Lambs’ decision to deny post’s request for additional security. But Boswell most certainly had a meeting with Pat Kennedy and Kennedy most certainly had a meeting with HC (*that’s all these people do) and advised her of the decision not to defend Benghazi, which means HC approved the decision and was ultimately responsible for the Benghazi blunder and should have been forced by Obama to resign. The crap coming out of the White House that HC was unaware of the Benghazi decision stinks.

      Will HC testify under oath that she was never advised her of the Benghazi security decision?

      12/20/12 5:48 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      20

      One clever comment I read about Hillary testifying was: “I did not have sex with that man, Mr. Qaddafi!” PVB said she could avoid testifying by stalling until she is no longer at State. That would be my guess also. In the mean time Barry sits on his perch scheming to avoid personal responsibility for the blowback from his Libyan regime change folly.

      12/20/12 6:04 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      21

      Kennedy says he “was inclined to support post’s security request.” So who overruled him ?

      12/21/12 2:21 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      22

      Bauer- it is baffling that Hag Hillary seems to get others to fall on their swords for her.
      Why -not how- she engenders such worship and loyalty is a “puzzlement”. Maybe Yul Bryner could give us the answer. Someone has to break out of her adoring ranks and expose her for the sinister wretch that she is.

      12/21/12 2:32 PM | Comment Link

    • lost in the sauce said...

      23

      @Tailwind – “DS staff are known for possessing limited skills, being ignorant of local culture, and confused by real and imagined threats.”
      Not all of DS’ staff is as pathetic as you make them out to be. Have you ever seen ELO’s on a consular line not knowing how to properly communicate in the local language or making condescending/racist remarks about the visa applicants? Have you seen FSO’s so drunk they don’t remember where they live and get robbed, raped, or worse as a result of miscalculating their omnipotence in a foreign culture? DS has its problems, several actually, but limited skills, being ignorant, and confused by real and imagined threats don’t really rank up there.
      Now if your comment was about certain divisions within DS, I can’t contest that very generalized criticism because they exist in a bubble.

      12/27/12 11:46 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      24

      01/1/13 4:05 PM | Comment Link

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      25

      [...] and not management weaknesses (Note: A lack of money, and not management problems, is State’s default answer to nearly everything from failure in Iraq to failure in [...]

      06/5/13 1:30 AM | Comment Link

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