- Florida board member shocks with ‘Heil Hitler’ salute at town meeting
- Bill O’Reilly, Chris Matthews inducted into Irish America Hall of Fame
- Military given ‘execute order’ by Obama for secret cyber mission in June
- College group’s diversity event canceled after excluding white people
- Cops: 2 shoot up heroin as kids play at McDonald’s
- Drug charges against husband of Va. daycare owner
- USS Kidd sent to Indian Ocean after ‘indication’ of Malaysian jet crash
- Vertical Group trader jumps in front of commuter train: report
- Brazilian goalkeeper who ordered girlfriend’s murder may be released to play soccer
- Harlem explosion death toll rises to 7; some still missing
State Department often unaware outposts are skipping security procedures
U.S. embassies and diplomatic outposts have skipped or exempted themselves from security requirements without the knowlege of the State Department in Washington, creating an ad hoc system so riddled with exceptions that the agency’s internal watchdog is raising new safety alarms just months after the deadly attack on the Benghazi consulate.
The State Department’s security office “does not have formal monitoring procedures to determine whether posts are requesting exceptions and waivers for all conditions that do not meet security standards and complying with stipulations in exception and waiver approvals,” the agency’s inspector general concludes in a new report.
Investigators found the department’s security record keeping was so lax that it still had active waivers on file for facilities it no longer operated, and that Washington was unaware that several locations failed to comply with required security standards.
On 15 occasions, regional security officers “were unable to locate an exception or waiver approval or denial that was on file” with the Office of Security, meaning an outpost was skipping security procedures that the State Department would not have known about, the IG reported.
And other times, investigators found, diplomatic outposts were using buildings overseas that had not been secured or cleared by the State Department's Directorate of Security.
“The most common example was the use of warehouse space for offices. Office space must meet greater physical security standards than warehouse space,” Deputy Inspector General Harold W. Geisel wrote in a review completed Jan. 7, four months after the Benghazi tragedy.
Since al-Qaida-linked terrorists attacked the Benghazi outpost last Sept. 11, killing Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, U.S. officials have promised they have tightened security at their facilities worldwide and removed some top officials in Washington blamed for lax security that preceded the attack.
But Geisel’s report, which examined only 27 of the State Department’s locations worldwide, raises concerns that the department is not even aware that many of its outposts were skipping required security procedure, either because there was no record of the exception or because requests from regional security officers were never reviewed in Washington.
The Directorate of Security had more than 1,000 exceptions and waivers on file dating back to 1987 that had not been reviewed to determine if they were current, the review found. “Inspectors found waivers for facilities that are no longer leased by the U.S. government or no longer exist,” the reported noted for emphasis.
In other instances, “posts had either failed to submit requests for exceptions or waivers, or the requests did not accurately describe conditions of noncompliance,” investigators reported.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., who is leading the congressional investigation into the Benghazi attack and the State Department’s security practices, told the Washington Guardian that the failures identified in the newest IG report were simply unacceptable.
“The failure to maintain adequate records is a troubling development for an institution plagued by bureaucratic breakdowns,” he said. “The State Department must do a better job at monitoring the security of our diplomats abroad.”
“Protecting our personnel and missions is the State Department’s highest priority,” Velasco said. “The Bureau of Diplomatic Security has already taken steps to implement the recommendations of the report.”
TWT Video Picks
By Emily Miller
Obama is losing the debate on gun ownership, concealed-carry permits
- Oil rig worker says he saw missing plane go down: report
- USS Kidd sent to Indian Ocean after 'indication' of Malaysian jet crash
- F-35 secrets now showing up in Chinas stealth fighter
- NRA shirt gets N.Y. high school student suspended
- Ben Carson: America's now 'very much like Nazi Germany'
- MILLER: Law enforcement realizes good people with guns deter crime
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Redskins' secondary holes remain unfilled amid NFL free-agent frenzy
- GOP bill tries to pull courts into fight with Obama on executive power, enforcing laws
- Critics point to Obama's attempts to sell health care as no laughing matter
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again