WASHINGTON — The State Department Inspector General’s office has drawn up plans to conduct several reviews of the State Department’s handling of embassy security and the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, including a review of the State Department’s own internal review.
The State Department’s acting Inspector General Harold Geisel wrote an Oct. 26 letter to Senate Homeland Security Committee heads Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, outlining several reviews his office has already started and some they are about to start to determine if embassy security around the world is sufficient, being implemented properly, and if that was a factor in the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
One of their tasks will be to keep tabs on the proceedings of the State Department’s own review of the Benghazi attack, which is being conducted by an Accountability Review Board led by former under secretary of State Thomas Pickering and including former Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen.
“Inspectors will monitor the implementation of any recommendations from the Benghazi Accountability Review Board (ARB) report and will review them as future inspections are conducted,” Geisel wrote.
Lieberman and Collins were among the first to call for a widespread investigation into diplomatic security at American outposts worldwide when they wrote to Geisel on Sept. 14 to request that the inspector general conduct an independent examination of security, with a focus on smaller posts and non-permanent facilities established by the department in post-conflict nations like Libya.
The senators want the inspector general’s office to investigate whether there was adequate security at the Benghazi consulate, whether there was an established and clear process for determining security requirements at overseas posts, and whether that process was followed in Benghazi. They also want the IG to investigate the operational security procedures around Stevens and determine who might have known that he would be in the consulate at that time and why he didn’t have more protection.