Benghazi prober: Identify security flaws, pay better attention

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The retired diplomat who led the State Department’s probe of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, says officials need to learn two lessons from incident — “red team” more often and pay better attention.

“Red team” refers to practice of posing as adversaries attacking an organization in order to expose security flaws.

Ambassador Thomas Pickering offered the advice Monday at George Washington University in Washington, where a critical report on the government’s ability to deal modern threats was released.

Titled “Anticipatory Governance: Practical Upgrades,” the report says the government is not able to deal with today’s class of “high-stakes, high-speed, complex issues,” and instead, reacts to crisis. It was written by former National Security Council official Leon Fuerth.

Mr. Pickering’s report on the Benghazi attack, which was released in December, found “a tendency on the part of policy, security and other U.S. government officials to rely heavily on the probability of warning intelligence and on the absence of specific threat information.”

“The result was possibly to overlook the usefulness of taking a hard look at accumulated, sometimes circumstantial information, and instead to fail to appreciate threats and understand trends, particularly based on increased violence and the targeting of foreign diplomats and international organizations in Benghazi,” the Pickering report said.

Four State Department officials were relieved of their duties after the report was released last month.

U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, State Department official Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

 

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