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Benghazi panel finds systematic security faults

By Matthew Lee

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 18 2012 10:17 p.m. MST

Clinton said the department had already begun to implement some of the recommendations. They include increasing by several hundred the number of Marine guards stationed at diplomatic missions throughout the world, relying less on local security forces for protection at embassies, consulates and other offices, and increasing hiring and deployment of highly trained Diplomatic Security agents at at-risk posts.

Members of local Libyan militias provided some security around the consulate, but in the attack it became unclear whose side they were on.

The report also called on Congress to fully fund the State Department's security initiative, noting that budget constraints in the past had led some management officials to emphasize savings over security despite numerous requests from the Benghazi mission and embassy in Tripoli for enhanced protection.

"For many years the State Department has been engaged in a struggle to obtain the resources necessary to carry out its work with varying degrees of success," it said. This has led to efficiencies but also "had the effect of conditioning a few State Department managers to favor restricting the use of resources as a general orientation."

It said the number of Diplomatic Security staff in Benghazi before and on the day of the attack "was inadequate despite repeated requests ... for additional staffing."

"The solution requires a more serious and sustained commitment from Congress to support State Department needs, which, in total, constitute a small percentage of the full national budget and that spent for national security," it said. "Congress must do its part to meet this challenge and provide necessary resources."

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