Barack Obama accepts Benghazi report: White House
Washington: US President Barack Obama accepts a report highly critical of the State Department over the attack on American consulate in Benghazi and his administration has adopted all its recommendations, the White House said on Thursday.
The attack in Libya on September 11 this year by a heavily armed group took the US administration by surprise and claimed the lives of four Americans, including US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.
"The President does accept the report. His administration, as you know, is adopting -- and the Secretary of State is adopting all of the recommendations of the report. And some of those recommendations are being acted on and have been acted on already prior to the issuance of the report," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference.
He described the September 11 Libya attack as a "tragedy" and said the US has an obligation to the families of those killed as well as to all other Americans serving abroad and learn from the "mistakes".
At least one senior State Department official has resigned and three other have been disciplined after the report was sent to the Congress by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"It is unacceptable and there is a problem that needs to be fixed when four Americans die, as they did in Benghazi. The President's priority is the safety of Americans serving abroad. The board has put forward a set of clear recommendations, and Secretary Clinton said we will have implementation of every recommendation underway by the time the next Secretary of State takes office," he said.
The Obama administration, he said, has worked to review the security posture of all its overseas facilities to ensure its personnel are safe and secure, and able to do their jobs.
Earlier in the day, testifying before Congressional committees, Deputy Secretary William Burns said the State Department has learned some very hard and painful lessons in Benghazi.
"We are already acting on them. We have to do better. We owe it to our colleagues who lost their lives in Benghazi. We owe it to the security professionals who acted with such extraordinary heroism that awful night to try to protect them.”
"And we owe it to thousands of our colleagues serving America with great dedication every day in diplomatic posts around the world," he said.
"We will never prevent every act of terrorism or achieve perfect security, but we will never stop working to get better and safer. As Secretary Clinton has said, the United States will keep leading and keep engaging around the world, including in those hard places where America's interests and values are at stake," Burns said.
Senator John Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, praised Hillary for accepting all the 29 ARB recommendations.
"In fact she's gone above and beyond the Board's recommendation by taking immediate steps to strengthen security at high-threat posts and request from Congress the authority to reprogram funds to increase diplomatic security spending by USD 1.3 billion," he said.