The following are excerpts from editorials published by other newspapers across New England:
A dishonorable cover-up
Republicans on the House Oversight Committee last month released their draft review of the State Department’s Accountability Review Board (ARB) investigation surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans.
According to the House Oversight Committee report, the ARB downplayed security decisions made by senior officials at the State Department — especially that of Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy — and instead blamed four subordinates who “had little to no” responsibility for the key events. In some cases, “the ARB correctly identified poor individual decisions while apparently failing to take into account decisions made by more senior (State) Department officials,” reads a draft of the report obtained by CBS News. “Such senior-level decisions played an equal if not greater role in the vulnerability of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.”
The House report critical of the ARB says Undersecretary Kennedy authorized the temporary nature of the Benghazi compound, which left State Department diplomatic security “struggling” to provide adequate resources. Furthermore, State Department witnesses told the House committee that Kennedy approved the exemption of the Benghazi special mission from State Department physical security guidelines; that it was Kennedy’s decision to send home the 16-man military security team the Defense Department had offered to provide at no cost to the State Department; that disagreements over security went to Kennedy for arbitration; and that Kennedy was deeply involved in staffing, budget and travel related to Libya.
The clear conclusion is that the State Department’s board is nervously covering up the decisions and omissions of higher-ups in the department, including Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy and Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton.
What happened in Benghazi is a tragedy that claimed the lives of four American heroes. The State Department coverup is a disgraceful dishonor to their sacrifice.