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Senate Report on Benghazi Attack Faults State Department

STR/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- The chairman and the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Monday repeated calls for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to testify in front of Congress on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and called for additional accountability from the State Department.

“We just want to say how much Secretary Clinton is in our prayers this morning and hope she recovers rapidly from this health problem,” Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said of Clinton’s hospital stay, reported Sunday night. “Secretary Clinton has made clear that she will testify. And I think that's a good idea.”

Monday morning the committee released a new report from a congressional probe which concludes that the system was “flashing red” in Benghazi, amid a “rising crescendo of evidence” from the U.S. intelligence community that Benghazi had become “dangerous and unstable, and that a significant attack against American personnel there was becoming more and more likely.”

“The reaction to the flashing red indicators was woefully inadequate to the dangers that the flashing light was indicating,” Lieberman said.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she thinks others must be held accountable at the State Department, in addition to those who have already resigned.

“My hope is, and my expectation is, that once Secretary Clinton is well enough, that she will carefully review our report and see if there are other officials that need to be held accountable,” Collins said. “It is difficult for us to make that judgment, but I believe that it is likely that there are others that do need to be held accountable.”

The report says that beyond the dangerous situation from the start, local security was inadequate and found that the Departments of Defense and State had not jointly assessed the availability and the accessibility of U.S. assets to support the mission facility in Benghazi in the event of an attack, such as the one that occurred.

“We should have closed this facility in Benghazi until we were prepared to provide the security necessary to give minimal protection, adequate protection to American personnel,” Lieberman said.

The report concludes that it is clear that terrorists were responsible for the attack on the consulate and that the administration response added to some “confusion” over the attack.

“It was self-evident to the intelligence community and to the personnel of the Department of State who were on the ground there in Benghazi,” Lieberman says. “Nevertheless, as we discuss in the report, inconsistent statements were made by people in the administration that unfortunately created some of the confusion and division in our own country about what had happened in Benghazi more than it really should have.”

Click here to read the full report.

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