- - Thursday, April 10, 2014

At every House or Senate hearing on the Benghazi attacks, the Democrats say with one voice that we need to know what went wrong so we can fix it. They do not want to find out who was responsible for failing to provide protection for the facilities or the personnel.

The problem there is that the State Department did not follow the specific recommendations that Adm. William J. Crowe Jr. made in 1999 after the 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa. One of the important recommendations was that the building and perimeter be protected and an adequate security staff be put in place to protect the personnel. If not, the facilities should be closed.

He also advised that the secretary of state had to be made aware and actively involved in receiving information, and said that it was critical to heed the findings of field agents on the ground rather than the staff in Washington. The State Department did not follow the recommendations.

At a recent hearing, former Deputy CIA Director Michael J. Morell said he used the Washington input thousands of miles away from the action to change the talking points, even though a field agent said the attack was not based on a video and was definitely a terrorist attack.

The Democrats had it wrong. They should have focused on which State Department staffers ignored defined and critically important recommendations and why.

MARVIN L. HOOVIS

Centerville, Mass.