WASHINGTON - The State Department on Thursday acknowledged major weaknesses in security and errors in judgment exposed in a scathing independent report on the deadly Sept. 11 assault on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya. Two top State officials appealed to Congress to fully fund requests to ensure diplomats and embassies are safe.
Testifying before two congressional committees, senior State Department officials admitted that serious management and leadership failures left the diplomatic mission in Benghazi woefully unprepared for the terrorist attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
"We clearly fell down on the job with regard to Benghazi," Deputy Secretary of State William Burns told the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Earlier, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Burns said: "We learned some very hard and painful lessons in Benghazi. We are already acting on them. We have to do better."
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a hearing with Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides, right, who is in charge of management, and Deputy Secretary of State William Burns,left, who is in charge of policy, after an independent review panel said this week that serious bureaucratic mismanagement was responsible for inadequate security at the mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Burns and Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides testified in place of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was under doctor's orders to stay home and recover from a concussion she suffered last week. Burns and Nides reiterated Clinton's written acceptance of the panel's report and vowed to implement each of its 29 recommendations.