USATODAY: Committee questions U.S. lapses in Benghazi attack
WASHINGTON — A Republican-led House committee pursued details Wednesday of the deadly attacks in 2012 on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. A few weeks ago, an intelligence panel cleared the Obama administration of any wrongdoing.
Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said there are several unanswered questions about U.S. lapses that allowed terrorists to storm the State Department facility, where a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed.
Some of those questions revolve around requests for additional security that never materialized and a U.S. narrative that differed in the days after the attack. Gowdy and others questioned why U.S. personnel were in Benghazi as violence escalated.
"We're going to keep asking questions until we have a complete understanding of what happened," Gowdy said at the hearing. "We may actually answer a question we have. We may risk answering questions twice."
Gowdy said his committee hearings will continue next year, which could have implications for former secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is weighing a 2016 presidential bid.
The hearing focused on security at diplomatic posts around the world, including the State Department's implementation of safety recommendations made by the independent Accountability Review Board in the wake of the Benghazi incident.
Since 2012, security has been boosted at high-risk posts and diplomats are better trained to safely perform their jobs in regions that carry risks, said Greg Starr, assistant secretary of State for diplomatic security.
"I have never seen security taken as seriously as it's been taken in the last two years," Starr said.
Starr said he's added an "incredible" amount of security, including armed guards and contractors, to some of the State Department's riskiest posts.
Wednesday's hearing is the latest in a line of investigations on the Benghazi attack, which has been examined by seven congressional committees.
Last month, the House Intelligence Committee found the CIA and military acted properly in responding to the attack on the compound. However, it found the administration's early narrative on how the attack took place was "not fully accurate," and intelligence about who carried out the assault and why was contradictory.
Contributing: The Associated Press