(WASHINGTON) — Chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said Thursday their starting to “fill in some of the blanks” about the attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi after a closed door briefing, but said the investigation as to what happened during the attack still goes on.
“The Department of Defense did not have personnel or assets close enough to the scene in Benghazi to bring them to the scene of the attack in a timely way so that they could protect American personnel there, particularly, particularly the two SEALs who were killed about 7 hours after the attack started,” he said.
Members of the Senate Homeland Security Committee Thursday received a four hour closed-door briefing from representatives from the Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency/National Counterterrorism Center and the State Department, one of many briefings they’ve requested to investigate the attack.
Lieberman said the committee is still searching for answers and they hope to issue a report before the end of the year with final conclusions. “We know a lot more than we knew when the investigation started, but our investigation will continue in a very intense, sort of urgent way ’cause we want to get it done before the end of this congress and when we think we’ve got as many facts as we can possibly get, we’ll reach our conclusion and we’ll issue a report.”
Ranking member, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, echoed Lieberman’s concerns about the military, citing an Inspector General study conducted in 2009 by the State Department, which recommended greater security in areas afflicted by frequent incidence of political violence.
“While there were physical improvements in security made in Benghazi, those specific recommendations for man traps were not built into the security in Benghazi,” Collins said. “We can’t be certain that they would have protected the compound completely, but they certainly would have slowed the ability of the compound to be overrun.”
Lieberman said it’s really “disconcerting” and “upsetting” to see how easily the terrorists broke through the gates and basically just walked in and set the facility on fire and began to fire at American personnel.
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