House Oversight report calls out State Dept. for Benghazi whitewashing and scapegoats

Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News reports that “Republicans on the House Oversight Committee are questioning the findings, independence, and integrity of the Accountability Review Board (ARB) investigation surrounding the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks.”

When the State Department investigated itself, it found “systemic” management and leadership failures… but no one was held to account, except for four mid-level scapegoats, who enjoyed a few months of the infamous “administrative leave’ before being returned to duty by Secretary of State John Kerry.  The smell of whitewash hangs heavy in the air.  Attkisson writes:

According to the official House Oversight Committee report, the ARB downplayed security decisions made by senior officials at the State Department, especially that of Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy, and instead blamed four subordinates who, in some cases, “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.”

Shades of the “low-level employees in Cincinnati” blamed for the IRS scandal!  The big shots are redacted right out of these “accountability” reports, leaving us with a multi-trillion-dollar federal government that appears to be run entirely by renegade loose-cannon mid-level functionaries… who still aren’t actually held responsible for anything they do.

One of the key figures hidden by that billowing cloud of bureaucratic pixie dust is Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy, who also just happens to have overseen selection of the ARB staff:

The House report critical of the ARB points to Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy as having 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 very involved in staffing, budget and travel related to Libya.

“The ARB downplayed Kennedy’s role in the decision-making that led to the inadequate security posture in Benghazi,” reads the House Oversight Committee report.

The State Department evidently didn’t feel like commenting on Kennedy to CBS News, but there was some harrumphing and “how dare you!” outrage from State spokespeople and congressional Democrats, with assurances that the ARB was the ultra-thorough meticulously researched final word on Benghazi – the disaster absolutely no one was responsible for.  As Catherine Herridge of Fox News put it, “The [House report] claims the internal review identified many of the security problems with the Benghazi compound, while ignoring who was behind the policy decisions that led to them.”

“For the past year, the Obama Administration has failed to provide sufficient answers about what happened during the Benghazi terrorist attack,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, announcing hearings at the House Foreign Affairs, Oversight, and Armed Services Committees this week to “examine the Administration’s inadequate response to Benghazi.”

“It is deeply disappointing that one year later the perpetrators of this horrific attack, which killed four innocent Americans, have not been brought to justice,” Cantor continued.  “Beyond Benghazi, the Administration has failed to put forward a coherent strategy to combat the continuing threat posed to the United States and its allies by al Qaeda, Hizballah and other extremist terrorist organizations.”