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State Department often unaware outposts are skipping security procedures
The IG recommended that overseas posts “submit an annual written certification that exceptions and waivers have been requested for all circumstances” where standard security procedures have not be met. The embassy must also provide a statement to the State Department’s security agency “signed by the chief of mission” confirming that the post is adhering to security protocols.
Beyond the recommendations, the State Department is in the process of developing a comprehensive database to keep track of waivers and exceptions worldwide and “this database will be available to all Regional Security Offices so that all files can be accessed and tracked through a central library,” Velasco added.
He noted that the IG report, known as the “Department’s Exceptions and Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act of 1999 Waivers” is part of a “normal and periodic inspection process.”
A U.S. security official, who has advised both military and civilian installations on security overseas, told the Washington Guardian that “the IG report shows an example of the lackadaisical attitude by embassy officials and security personnel when you take things for granted.”
The use of warehouses for office space violates security protocols “because there different levels of security required for equipment than people,” the security official said. “When you have people in warehouses they are not being protected by the security measures required. Warehouses are for equipment, not people or classified files that can be exposed to our enemies,” the security official said.
When proper security procedures are ignored “this can lead to tragic incidents like requests for more security in Benghazi, which were downplayed at the time,” he said.
After the Benghazi attack, recommendations from lawmakers and recent IG investigation the State Department is “undertaking a comprehensive review of security at our posts worldwide and the Department is working to implement security improvements quickly and completely, with special attention to our highest threat posts,” Velasco said.
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