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Administration Relying on Shoddy Benghazi Report to Absolve Itself of Blame

8:00 AM, May 12, 2013 • By VICTORIA TOENSING
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This relevant information was omitted in the ARB’s unclassified report. Worse, it was concealed by a false statement: “The Board found that Ambassador Stevens made the decision to travel to Benghazi independently of Washington, per standard practice.  Timing for his trip was driven in part by commitments in Tripoli, as well as a staffing gap … in Benghazi.” Mr. Hicks testified in the hearing that Washington was well aware prior to the trip that Stevens was going to Benghazi. 

Many observers have deplored the ARB's conclusion assigning responsibility to lower-level career officials at State for all mistakes, while clearing the political appointees above the assistant secretary of any missteps. It is a convenient finding—at least, for the State Department higher-ups. But the ARB's shoddy report is an insult to the memory of four dead Americans. The truth, even or especially at this point, does make a difference.

Victoria Toensing, former chief counsel for the Senate Intelligence Committee and deputy assistant attorney general, is founding partner of diGenova & Toensing, a Washington, D.C. law firm.

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