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United States

Benghazi report slams State Department's 'gross inadequacies'

An independent inquiry into the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi has concluded that security there was "grossly inadequate." The attack claimed the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Libyans walk on the grounds of the gutted U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. The American ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed when a mob of protesters and gunmen overwhelmed the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, setting fire to it in outrage over a film that ridicules Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Ambassador Chris Stevens, 52, died as he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff as a crowd of hundreds attacked the consulate Tuesday evening, many of them firing machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades.(AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

Bengasi Anschlag US Konsulat Libyen

The report, which was released on Tuesday, was critical of the State Department for the security situation that existed at the consulate in Benghazi ahead of the attack on September 11, 2012.

"Systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place," the report said.

A total of 29 recommendations were made by the Accountability Review Board to improve security

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is at home recovering from a stomach illness, sent a letter to lawmakers saying the report provided "a clear-eyed look at the serious, systemic challenges that we have already begun to fix."

Part of the report remains classified, but portions released to the public indicated that there was no protest ahead of the attack on the consulate as was previously thought to be the case.

Susan Rice, the US envoy to the United Nations, came under fire in the days after the attack for suggesting in the media that it was protests against an anti-Islam film that escalated into the consulate being stormed.

The mishap ultimately cost Rice her chance at succeeding Clinton as Secretary of State in early 2013.

The report was also critical of the State Department for having inadequate information on local militias and the threat they posed to US interests.

In her letter to lawmakers, Clinton said she was working with the Pentagon to provide more security forces to US missions overseas. She also said she would petition Congress for more resources to strengthen diplomatic posts - which was one of the recommendations in the report.

mz/hc (Reuters, AFP)