U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has created a special team to ensure the implementation of recommendations made by a panel tasked to investigate the Sept. 11 attack on the country’s consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The Accountability Review Board, which Clinton put together in the wake of the attack, outlined 29 recommendations in the report it released Dec. 19. In a letter to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, Clinton said she accepts “each one” of the recommendations, which according to an unclassified copy from the State Department, includes strengthening security for foreign personnel and platforms beyond “traditional reliance” on security provided by host governments, especially in “high risk, high threat” countries.
The special task force Clinton created is led by Thomas Nides, the deputy secretary of state for management and resources. He is joined by Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy, Undersecretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, Foreign Service Director General Linda Thomas-Greenfield and Duty Legal Adviser Mary McLeod.
“The work is well underway,” Clinton said in the letter, which The Cable got a copy of. “We will have implementation of every recommendation underway by the time the next Secretary of State takes office. There is no higher priority for me or my Department.”
Overall, the independent report on the Bengazhi attack notes that the sole responsibility for the incident “rests solely and completely with the terrorists who perpetrated the attacks.” The report did cite “systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department.” This led to inadequate security for the consulate and its staff, the report says.
The report also calls on the U.S. Congress to “do its part” by providing the State Department the resources it needs to address security risks in its 273 diplomatic outposts around the world.
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