Shorter Question Everything
Read the report here: PDF
The report has come out and it’s likely to piss off right wing conspiracy theorists. One of whom, on cue, is making a claim that Clinton is faking it. It wasn’t hard to call that.
An independent Accountability Review Board has released an unclassifed version of its report [PDF] on the September attacks on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi which killed four Americans including the U.S. Ambassador. The co-chairs of the Board are former Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen and former Ambassador Tom Pickering.
The ARB report, released late Tuesday, faults the State Department for “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels [which] resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack.” But it concluded that no government employee “engaged in misconduct or willfully ignored his or her responsibilities, and, therefore did not find reasonable cause [to recommend] disciplinary action.”
The Board was critical of the decision to rely on a local militia for security, calling the reliance on them “misplaced.”
Ambassador Chris Stevens, the report says, did not leave the diplomatic compound the day of the attack and there was no intelligence warning of a threat.
• John Bolton, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, suggested Monday night that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faked her illness to avoid testifying in Congress about Benghazi. “You know, every foreign service officer in every foreign ministry in the world knows the phrase I am about to use, when you don’t want to go to a meeting or conference or an event, you have a ‘diplomatic illness,’” he said on Fox News. “And this is a ‘diplomatic illness’ to beat the band. I mean, I certainly hope it’s nothing serious. But this was revealed in a way that I think was not transparent and I think there is an obligation here.” The conservative Bush appointee made the same allegations in an opinion piece published by the New York Post on Tuesday.
• Bin Laden film leak was referred to Justice; leaker top Obama official. Pentagon investigators concluded that a senior Defense Department official who’s been mentioned as a possible candidate to be the next CIA director leaked restricted information to the makers of an acclaimed film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, and referred the case to the Justice Department, according to knowledgeable U.S. officials. The Justice Department received the case involving Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers in September, but so far it’s declined to launch a criminal prosecution, said two senior U.S. officials who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. The case involved a determination by investigators of the Pentagon’s inspector general’s office that Vickers provided the makers of the film “Zero Dark Thirty” with the restricted name of a U.S. Special Operations Command officer who helped plan the May 2, 2011, raid on bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan, one official said. The identities of special forces personnel can be classified in certain circumstances and making them public is against the law, according to experts.
• White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that the president is “actively supportive” of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s planned bill to reinstate a ban on assault weapons. Carney was speaking in a White House press briefing, and said that the president will support a push by Feinstein, D-Calif., for the ban, which she said she will introduce in the new session of Congress. Reuters reports that Carney also said that Obama would support closing gun-show sale “loopholes,” if any such legislation was introduced.
• Republican Michigan Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a bill Tuesday afternoon that would have allowed concealed pistols to be carried in schools and other places where they had been banned. The bill would also have allowed pistol owners, after additional training and obtaining proper permits, to carry their weapons in places of worship, schools, day care centers, and stadiums. In a letter to the Michigan Legislature, Governor Snyder said that Michigan needs a more comprehensive review of its gun policies. He said he vetoed the bill because it had no provision for public spaces to opt out of the concealed-carry plan.
• A sixth-grade student in Utah is in police custody after he was accused of bringing a gun to school Monday, reportedly claiming he wanted to protect himself in the event of a school shooting.
• Moscow fires warning shot across bow of US naval-based ABM. A top Russian official says a US missile defense system near Russia’s border is strategically destabilizing and may prompt an arms race. Speaking on the threat of mobile, naval-based elements of the US missile defense system “suddenly appearing” on Russia’s coastline, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said such an event would trigger “the harshest reaction from Russia.” “We must consider the effective protection of our strategic nuclear forces,” Rogozin said in an interview with the magazine Voyenny Parade (‘Military Parade’). Rogozin, while not elaborating on what Russia’s response would be, noted that Russia is taking definite steps to counter American ships “equipped with the Aegis integrated naval weapons system.”