tv Benghazi Consulate Attack and Diplomatic Security CSPAN December 14, 2014 2:00am-4:40am EST
four of our fellower americans were killed. shaun smith, tyrone woods, glenn dougherty and chris stevens dies under circumstances most of us cannot fathom. fire, violence, terror, the weaponry of war. i want to read something and i want to ask my colleagues to listen to what i read, not just top the words but i want you to imagine having to live through or die through the experience. 2012 at er the 11th, 9:4520 men bretched the mission gate. several a shallry yeah members have been identified throughout the group. ak-47, grenades. the fire set during the attack
led to the deaths of christopher steven and shaun smith and the remaining personnel escaped a ietzsche facility known as the annex. the it culminated in an attack that killed tyrone davis and glenn dougherty. what i read is the now official position of the u.s. government filed in u.s. district court by the department of justice and a motion to detain the one defendant who has been captured and will stand trial. 20 or more men, the weapons of war arsons and sustained attacks, precision mortars terrorist groups. it is interesting note the word "terrorist" so rarely used after benghazi by people in position of powers used in the very word charging the very defendant
accused of killing our four fellow americans. conspiracy to provide material to terrorist resulting in death. that's the charge. that's the official charge, the official position of the united states government. but in the days after the attack in benghazi, the word terrorist was edited out and changed. now the administration uses the word attack. days following the it they changed the word "attack." it's another thing to have it right initially and then edit it and change so that it is wrong. i remain keenly aware that there are those on both sides of the aisle that have concluded that all answers have been answered.
there is nothing else to do, no more witnesses to talk to, no more people interview. benghazi should have been looked in the first place. i disagree. i do not think we should move on until there is a complete understanding of how the security environment described by our own government and court documents was allowed to exist. i don't think we should move on until we understand why we were told special precautions have been taken prior to the anniversary of 911. what precautions were taken? where? by whom? why were we told the benghazi facility was secure? why were we told there was a strong security presence in benghazi when we now know it's false? it wasn't true at the time it was said. we should not move on until there's a complete understanding of why request for additional
security were denied by whom they were denied and why an ambassador trusted to represent us in a dangerous land wasn't trusted to know what security he needed to do his job. it's been two years. and we know the request for initial equipment were denied. we don't now understand why those requested were denied and we should not move on there is a complete understanding of why and why the official position of our government is so different today than it was in the days and the weeks after benghazi. the facts haven't changed. teved hasn't changed but the way our government character rises benghazi it's changed a lot. this hearing will continue our committee's efforts to insure the recommendations made after the attacks in benghazi are actually implemented andly pledge again a process worthy of the memory of the four that were killed and worthy of the respect
of our fellow citizens. but i also pledge that we're going keep asking questions until we have a complete understanding of what happened. until that end we will have hearings in january, if february, in march and until and that means access to all the documents and that means access to all the witnesses with knowledge. this committee will be the last best hope for answering the questions surrounding the attacks in benghazi. we may actually wind up answering some of the questions more than once. we may risk answering a question twice. that seems like a really small investment compared with what others have given and are currently giving to our country. that i would recognize the gentleman from maryland. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman for holding today's
hearing as well as our previous hearing three months ago. when this topic which was congressman. this demonstrate the continued commitment by democrats and republicans to make our embassy safe. as i have often said this is our watch. this is not about today or tomorrow. this is about generations yet unborn. and so we all take this assignment very seriously. over the course of 18 months of exhaustive investigations, first by the independent accountability review board and then by seven congressional committees. we've learned many answers to questions about what happened in
benghazi and what changes are needed to improve security at our diplomatic facilities overseas. but as we have also seen when it comes to benghazi, too many people are unaware that questions have been answers or are unwilling to accept the answers they hear. our benghazi on the record asked and answered website centralizes in one place these answers. nce we met last, the house select committee on intelligence publically released its bipartisan unanimously adopted report. as our intelligence committee colleagues explain and i quote, this report and the nearly two years of intensive investigation
it reflects is nonet serve as the definitive house statement on the intelligence committees activities before, during, and after tragic events that have caused the death of four brave americans. and the quote, these bipartisan findings join the previous conclusions of the republican-led house armed services committee about the military's readiness and responses on the night of the attacks. our committees, democratic members have urged us to accept these findings and we do not think there is a reason for this know reinvestigate the facts. complete the war already completed by our democratic colleagues and squander millions
of hard working dollars that come from our working taxpayers. the chairman has decided to use this hearing to focus on constructive reform instead of trading the same ground that other committees have already investigated. investigated in a way that perhaps one would investigate something if they were looking at it under high powered microscope. we urge him to keep that focus on these instructive efforts and not be lured off this path by partisan politics. we're bigger than that. and we are better than that. and i appreciate you, plch for our discussions where you have agreed by the end of the year to give us a scope as to exactly what we'll be looking at. and hopefully we will come to the conclusion about what we do agree on so that we can focus on
those things that we still need to investigation. i also appreciate the fact that you agreed to meet with me and the speaker tomorrow with regard to rules of the committee that you and i agree that it's nice have structure because it helps us to deal with issues that may come up. and i do -- i do really appreciate that. immediately after the benghazi attack the independent review board constructed a blistering examination of what went wrong and identify 29 recommendations for reform. secondtary clin don accepted every single one of them. and the they said the department wasted no time addressing the recommendations in the court. during our first hearing can three months ago, assistant secretary starr testified that the department had closed 29 of
the ren men dations. since then the department has continued making steady progress. i'm pleased to hear that it has three more recommendations and continues to make progress on the remaining four. >> the department has now delivered fire safety equipment to all but one high threat post. and it is affirmed compliance with fire, safety and equipment requirements in safe havens, in overseas facilities. the department has now delivered fire safety equipment but one hybrid. the a.r. b found that the lack of adequate safety equipment may have sbribted to the tragic consequences at night. glad that they have made
this recommendation. to address the staffing shortcomings identified by the arb. the star's testimony in the case but the new positions are fully nded and that his department intense to complete all new hires by 2015. the department has also joint ed threats for isk management course. i actually look forward to hearing more from mr. star on the work that remains to be done. >> we also are joined today by inspector general. in a september 2013 report his office made seven security
recommendations that overlapped a large degree what the arb and six of these recommendations are now closed. and ncern remain including insure that the department bureaus are communicating effectively and decision making authority is centralized and clear. egarding the a.r.b. process, they will exa ma minute following the east africa bombings. they concluded that the a.r.b. process and i quote, o operate as intended intelly and without bias. this investor general recommended.
it's my understanding that the discussions on those recommendations are ongoing. as i close. one of these recommendations was to institutionalized responsibility for a.r.b. implementation. a.r.b. recommendations represented a significant departure from the previous norm in that secretary clinton took charge directly for the implementation process. the inspector general voted that the high level of ice korean. . i modeled and i'm interested from hearing from mr. star. . d to that end i yield back
>> first witness will be honorable gregory b. star the security of the department of state. second witness will be the honor steve lenic. welcome to both of you and my apologies for you having to wait. you will be recognized for their five-minute open and with that secretary starr. >> thank you, chairman, ranking member cummings and distinguished committee members. thank you for inviting me again to update you on the department's progress and i apply meanting the a.r.b. i would like to acknowledge steve lynnic. inspector lynnic works closely with the diplomatic security on many issues. although i am focused on the
benghazi a.r.b., i hope i would be able to improve security around the world. the tax of keeping u.s. personnel overseas is dynamic and an ever evolving fro says. we improve our practices and proket our people. >> the a.r.b. process is an important tool towards that goal and today we are safer and more secure because of the recommendations of the benghazi panel and other a.r. bmple's. or project is measurable and sustain and importantly many of the less sons learned are further incorporated of the policy >> of the 29 recommendations we have closed 25. that will be three that we closed since september. we are committed to finishing that work.
yet to do so on the final four recommendations and will not lose sight of continuing and building on the security and procedural l -- security. i would like to highlight what we've done. these specific tangible changes. we have more diplomatic security and department of personnel on the ground on our facilities today. we have increased the skills and competencies by increasing the training time in the high threat force. we have expanded the force affair course beyond high threat course because we recognize that the value of these skills extend to all form personnel. these are tchails people can take with them to make us saufer and make them saufer in ever post that they'red a of. a there are a broader more problematic changes. one is the lunch of a validation
process. our shortstop for that is v.p. 2. >> they ask hard questions to balance the risk and the benefits at our high yist threat post. >> the as a result a clear eyed risk assessment whether the u.s. should operate in those and if so, how do we operate. the process determined that you are snnl interest require us to put a ding rouse coat. and prioritizes presources to do so. undereps we have taken to score it serves an important point. we live in a world that's more unstable and dangerous location. our foreign policy demands that we o send people to work in those plays that are pearl louse. >> we cannot eliminate ricks. the threats evolved. as a trult work of securitying
our facilities and safeguarding our people is never complete. we are committed to implementing the a.r.b.'s recommendations. but we are looking forward to feeting the new threats as they develop. our best assets in this effort are our people. highly trained foreign service officers and security personnel are out on the field every day. they deserve the credit and thanks for work that they do on our behind. it's our job to do everything we can to reduce the risk they face. the assist assistant secretary, i am demoit keep your people as safe as possible. >> i know the economy as well as the inspector's general's air. keeping our people as safe as possible. with that plch, i'd be eap to answer questions about the implementation of the a.r.b. >> thank you.
mr. lennox. few mbers of the committee for you are the opportunity to review and we have conducted on ecurity related matters. the o.i.g. has redoubled its efforts related to security. issue an expectation and targets a report called security matters. each one. and my comments today i will address the a.r. by pro-says and discuss findings based on our other security related work. in september. they plushed the report of the accountability review process. the process at which they will continue and supported, staffed. >> the special rue will track
the implementation with our recommendations. improve security. training and intelligent sharing by the department's principles. the lack of follow through explains in part why a number of a.r. b recommendations. y conclusions that they work best and others take full ownership of the implementation process. >> made 20 formal recommendations. in spay. i notified the. and i provide intended to enhance the effectiveness of the a.r. be process. >> >> in my later suggestions remains i'm resolved. so that the department had made evident in addressing some of the security concerns.
during fiscal year 2015, we will bh conducting a formal follow revupe with our clines with our own recommendations. in addition to the a.r. be review process. o.i.g. has issued a variety of vorts. i take this opportunity to .ighlight four years of concern o.i.g. reports demonstrate that the department says it didn't .nd fulling tons priority it cannot adequate plan, budget for or implement a solution. in 2012, o.i.g. conducted a series of audits of porse locations in europe, latin america and africa which pro side six that required immediate atex.
a number of these throats were a high threat. they were no in complain be the department's security standards. the fail your meet minimum cam bound requirement. e moster agree jans problems is identified the use of wause hour space for uses. you do not comply with standards and put the personnel at grease risk. >> oh i.g. has found that number of post. all that means is in addition the bureau of diplomatic security was. obtaining waivers ax and exceptions. >> the president has reported that it is mediated the
condition of the time. swr another the bureau of diplomatic security isn't she -- they don't adequately coordinate. i have to do it in hopes of concern. s. over seas local enforcement. they typically are posted we ide or just inside and says no oneed a and has the security. actually performing the vetting procedure specified. >> one bad actor with the right position and access can seriously endanger the safety and security of personnel over sees. they continue to be a top priority for my office. i want to thank my staff and
continue to this effort. and in the coming mones in an effort to mitt gade wrist and i void the attacks that is in ben gazzyy. >> thank you again for the tetch to testify today. i look forward your questions. >> but plirm for your service to our country. and the inspector general from lenic and all inspector generals for all agency, would it be but ct to say that yen i they could effectively manage an account for its decision. and the way inspector generals do that. and you've just mentioned some
of those is that correct? >> yes, and we look at perhaps in operations as well. so you're like the internal watch do dog or internal police department for an agency and for the state department specifically. >> yeah. >> but you were not appointed by the secretary of state. >> and when were you appointed? >> i was appointed in september of 2013. so that means that actually you have independent. yes, we independent. before that you actually as i understand like myself who are a federal propertiesors. >> i was for 16 years. >> and in your finding that you urns took of the a.r. be it's my understanding that you feel and this is yoting your moat important filinging was that tft at the oversight of thea they
must be at the higher lomes. enter is that correct? >> that's crefpblgter. at least with the. and in your opinion is that where this -- implementation of the voice. that remained an unresolved recommendation. we did revisions. . and so the recommendation -- and o that recommendation was made by. and mila why she doesn't scream anything in this dment. the secretary of state wore the higher levels. that is correct. and so --. they have pro side that to you. yes.
. but we have not an liced it yet. what's talk about unresovers or tock. when the energy makes ren men dations and sbrinksspods their findings. they are in. unresolved. . can you share -- with those what unresoveled means. so there are really two bucks. there's open remember menization. 'm men reck dation. they can with resolved or maybe yes sot. that will be open and resolved. it will not be closed until the that it t proves to us we don't have
rezzlation on that. so it remains open as well, approximately how many open and unresolved recommendations are there? >> >> in the a.r.b. report? >> yeah, >> at this time. like i said a couple of them. that might change. we are also doing a ve view. and to see whether or not they have been complained with >> is that scom mon praise says. we don't ulls see eye to eye. >> it's very row sourls. the department would come back and say here's documentation showing that we imply mental.
we fully do a complete job in day. and he would bh hurt. t is not snag we dgreektsly. . e -- or where we fell that and do you also when you go back and do the complain review, do you also look at recommendations that have been close. >> yes, we rook at all of the recommendations from soup to nets. so just because we close them because we have documentation is we're going to go behind that dog. went informs you were not making like it. >> we actually did what you're doing with respect to the complain review when it coming.
i believe our office has done a greats job. sit fair to see say na we're also in the nairobi arb. they had security. and to an sen yation and sharing and goes for it. so they have previously when recommendations you're ater. . that's correct. in 20. >> that's correct. >> we are to the clothes then there are a flurm of recommendation. what do you think might have, >> what close men. what do. close recommendations provide everything for. in the come flinet follow up
review, we will interview and look more close. it is. about the status and the recommendation. . when would you made the decision that something was closed or not closed. . and then determine whether conductings meet the bone. but nrgs in late of 2014,. icts. i don't know that tchs a greatsfev, are still unresolved. and so those who are not close those were recommendations from other reports. focus on the
recommendations but we've issued other reports which captured lack of compliance on standards which captured local vetting of local cards and those recommendations and various stages of clowe scheyer etc. > the best practice this happened after the arb. >> i am indeed. >> it made diplomatic security an equal partner what its most important recommendation. is that correct? >> i believe that was recommendation number one.
>> has there been a change from our last hearing to today? >> we're not monitoring complains so i don't know the answer to the question. >> do you know with respect to this exact recommendation and that is the fact that we believe that panels have made the recommendation that in fact all of the implementation that all of the arb should be made at one of the highest levels. these are the principles, is that correct? the principles under the secretary of state. >> yes. that is correct. >> and in fact, the oversight under the implementation is being made in the office of management policy and right sizing. is that correct? >> i believe they are tracking the implementation of it, yeah. >> isn't that what mr. starr said. and tracking isn't being done, is that correct? >> what we think that the deputy secretary ought to take responsible for oversight of the
implementation that she takes responsibility for making sure that those recommendations are followed through. there there is sufficient funding and that they're adequately shared among the state department. that's what we're seeking with our particular recommendation. >> do you know who at the state department at the time that they rejected that recommendation and that recommendation was rejected. do you know who at the state department made that decision to reject that recommendation? >> the sullivan recommendation or our recommendation? >> both, the recommendation to reject that the deputy secretary hould be the level responsible implementing these recommendations. >> at the sullivan i don't know who rejected that. i know that secretary is look at
our recommendation. there's a revision that does imbody that. we haven't closed that yet because we haven't had an opportunity to analyze it and assess it. do you know who made that decision at the time? i don't believe that there was a decision not to comply with that recommendation. two things, one it was the secretary himself that decided that we did not need the under secretary through various levels of the department. in terms of the implementation of the a.r.b., the paperwork that we have put forward to modify it does show that it is the deputy secretary for management resource who is will be the oversight officer for a.r.b.'s. and if you would permit me just for a second. while this is a change for the fans. i have been in multiple
meetings since the arrival of deputy secretarial higen bottom. the deputy was taking direct charge of the oversight of the implementation of the a.r.b. recommendations. mpri t that the managed zpwroup bringing them up and presenting them. then we have multiple meetings with myself, major embassy zpers from the bureaus -- embassy beau roe -- bureaus have been in these. so i think it's -- it's very clear that the deputy secretary at our highest levels have been involved in the implementation of the a.r.b. what we're making sure now is that it's codified in the familiars. -- fams. >> i would like to add that it's about time. recognize the gentle
lady from california mrs. sanchez. >> i want to follow on this line of question in mission facilities. two of the past a.r.b. recommendations that remain open if i'm not mistaken are from the 999 nairobi and dar asalam a.r.b.'s. and they recommended that they would be made completely for building programs because that as a need that was identified. the capital security call sharing program was initiated to pay for cost of building new embassies in cons lates. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> ok. with funding cons trapets and other challenges, the efforts to better secure ilts facilities, somehow the state department addressing the need to provide
necessary security at this point? >> congress has been extraordinarily generous with the department. since the nairobi bombings we have constructed 100 null facilities around the world. we have done major security yum grades to our facilities around the world that we could not replace place right that moment. there's not a post out there that has vehicle bars an gates. does not have guard programs. police protecting it. forced entries,. now after benghazi additional marines, we have been committed since quite frakly since 1985 and increasing the programs. i think the funding that we
actually got turned capital program was about $1,500. building many, we built one or two because of inflation. they have thorsed almost another billion and we are now again on a -- enhanced building program with five or seven new facilities. while that recommendation remained open. they have done an amazing job enhancing the secure of the people throughout the years. ly not say that it's perfect. clearly i'm here and my job is to listen to benghazi. but for the vast majority of places i would say that the
recommendations that came out and the a.r. bombings, we have been trying to implement those and congress has been very helpful. >> could you give me an idea mr. star because it's hard to go back and renovate facilities an bring them up to modern security standards. could you facility how many facilities you're talking about that you would have to zeal with innerms of the fid cal security of those plgs. >> there are 275 u.s. eam basseys cons lates and cons late generals. there are approximately 10 other special missions. the facilitys that make up those are over 1,000 different buildings. it's quite an under taking to consistently be upgrading their security. would that be a fair statement? >> i think that's a fair statement. we found that the state department must work with
congress to insure that it has congress at its full capacity. can you talk about the history of the congress and why congress needed to restore that capital security -- >> thank you, cronk. the original cost of coming out salonal and in 1999 and in 20000 and 20 001 that gave us the ability to take year. or individual buildings at least and do some major security yum grades. but that funding level was constant from about 2,000 to 2012. and increased building costs inflation and other things had reduced what we could with that hopeful and asre
i said congress was very generous reck niding. and after benghazi and in leanl worked with the department and added nearly another billion dollars to that so we're currently at 2.37 $billion per program for years. which has allowed us to do more security enhancements and replace unsecure facilities. >> thank you. very it's important that congress head of made no rule. to r. starr, i would like ask you about temporary facilities. i have questions about the diplomatic facility. whether it's a special mission, combat or and whether the term
usedless stringent physical security standards aplayed through that. numerous congressional committee tovers last years. i'm going to quote mr.it's temporary or in term or permanent that we should be able to apply the same stan tchards they have put together. is that your understanding of how the department is following it today? >> yes, that is a very hard lesson that we learned after benghazi. i can tell you that in one particular location of the world, i won't say it, where we have had to have the operations, we are under good people in and accomplish a temporary facility. i turnsed imthat down. inteas we can identify a facility and bring it up to the necessary level of security in
order declare it. i.e. and i got no pushback from the department and informs got a tremendous amount of support for his. i think what you've identified is despite efforts to do security upgrades. we know that it does not meet all of the standard. we want to avoid a sitchwigse like like to that going forward. mr. len nick, noted in a march 2014 awe did. but diplomatic security and the oversees operations bureau have ivering secure system. and the same report notes that in january of the department clarified that a single
standards. in june 2013, the department further irclaims by. has there been better communication now between the department and the diplomatic security in oversees allege operations. and finally sort of an agreed upon standards. >> there is no giss agreement on what they sbhowl. those standards are in our foreign affairs man yells and. and there is no disagreement on the standards. we do have different standards for a stand alone building or a bg that is intent to hurt. obo is very clear and understands what those han dards are. there is no misunderstanding that the standards are what they are and you are thry.
i do think that the general suspect has been fell us. we will recommend some of the recommendations where we may disagree. ultimately we continue the to it isssian lose on the in my job went we find security deficiency so that the i.j. may make theus fine. >> and if he did mind the we had some difficult differences between and. i met two days after the npstors came back. re solved the divenses and. and made the decision on where we have to go? i pauline, every week was ahead of the. and we've taken that frustration
very seriously. >> appreciate your testimony. to you have us we would like -- to welcome you. >> thank you. >> when they use the term "clothes" on the recommendations. that does not mean they are ompleted, correct? >> didn't know it was that hard a question. >> as steve aloses you with. dwow our bist. the clowe clothes do not mean anything that the implementation. it means that we have in fact, affected the change that was necessary meet that ren mission dage. $some. nd if we put the policies in
place. . for thank you. you were the diplomat security for the state department from 1980 tow the department sbmplet and from then you went to head . security for you and if the is it true your office diplomatic security and the building operations are the o.b.o.'s and the two officers within the state department that ve the prior mary department these facilities. >> o that's. your office is extremely charged with the responsibility for insuring that all new instruction. comply with physical security standards even though the o.b.o.
cousin the actually crukt. is that true? >> correct. d.s.? r secretary is the >> i serve. 'm and whop is the under secretary. and then under that secretary, i wore it toe see if she's been in the poggets to work with. . is that correct? >> you don't know? i believe sew, sir, but i'm not 's. mr. from the early 19 i think patcache in at about 559 fine. when the. when they were bock ed in. at the time of the bombing,
stir, my reck leaks was that we had a vacancy of the position. and a although i know you return to the state department, you are aware that virtually each and every finding wrelt. or facility b bag house >> i'm aware of the recommendations in the a.r.b., yes. >> are you aware that he constructed three revies or audits at overseas post. >> particularly in these high threats in the post. >> yes, i am, sir. >> are you also atwhear the -- i.g. issued two other reports. twhaub looked at how you.
then another that looks at how you manage your careers sometimes. yes, i am. >> lookeded a how you can be done with the security standards at 5:00 sperving oversees posts that are considered high threat. do you recall that report? >> yes, sir. if that looked at own embassies. and after the year 2012 is that cricket? -- correct? > i believe so, sir. so all built after the bomb, in 1998 where an amplets r. b was sharply quicky. is that correct?
>> >> i would say the inspector general pointed out that thrrn some deficiencies in that meeting some of the standards standard that means if they were all passed. they could make you're home. he gave it to the state department. a whole lot of much to improve those fiss physical squrets overseas. is that correct? >> correct? >> the team looked at security physical ability. had a high threat level. looked at such things and stuff and the height of the perimeter walls, the outside boundary. how far the buildings were from those and look at the rale bothering me. i'm pretty sure she drove. other areas that are resistant. >> wlm, he came out of d
neighbor. whether they and the like. is that correct? >> yes, sir. >> so let me ask you how to five embassies or consulates did. did they comply with all the security standards that were reviewed? >> no, sir. one of them are perfect. everyone one of those facilities have police and guards on the inside. my question was had all of them would be back. >> no, i want to make it clear that most of the things were minor. do not present major vulnerables to us or philosophy. and i don't exps that any jenny team is not going to find some things that can be improved. >> i understand, now the
oversees spoast. once took some sort of action to correct all of the deficient sys. but is that correct? >> in con nokse what vumnerblets they posed, yes, sir. very to problems had been fixed. it is my job to make sure that any time we see them or they fit. their resolved. >> directive to all your posts worldwide. did you agree to do this? > no, i did not. >> i want to follow-up on another review of the physical security related posts overseas.
you should have the state department frofment says is this request for these physical security upgrades. >> yes, sir. >> when he looked at this did they find a comprehensive list of all that of the deficiencies. they didn't find a list of security. then request for security needs at host, aren't the world. it splay been called in or ask for -- thudding question or a little of what tonight or grand di. there was no lipe. we did not find. no but i understand that they're
work on on that now. >> ok. >> the d.s. and the o.b.o. do not crardtpwhate each other. to determine which glade should be given to his clerm. he did find and in two wasn'ting. which has since ben remediated. so the fact that mr. star and the o.b.o. get together once againor whatever -- come up with ny of these lineups. >> i don't believe we have seen the list but i'm not entirely sure of that. >> do you know of any comprehensive list that may have been put into the long-term planning for the future security
-- of the request has been made from these posts. >> i know the department has agreed to do it. that has been resolved. but it still is open. thank you. i yield back my time. >> thank you to the gentlemen from georgia. >> mr. smith. thank you, mrs. chairman, caneverybody hear me. >>. she was unable to pravel. but i appreciate you the opportunity. just a couple of questions. first of arbgs the allegations and that's what we were talking about. -- here have been reports we're basically in the same place. i don't think that's quite accurate.
think they have involved in some of the previous attacks. hey're going through the idea. in africa we'll improve, what improvements have been made. so so what is the problem? >> i may get you do act like you're mad and yet a little bit. i think the witnesses -- we could hear you pretty good but not great. so if you could just act like we're talking about you're yelling at me. . repeat that you need me to repeat what i just asked? >> yes, the witnesses are cleaning forward if you could just yell at us hard. >> i'm do
>> i will do that. my question was, there have been attacks, and one of the allegations to some extent is that after those attacks, like the embassy bombing in africa they, you know, issued a report and went to ground hog's day. we don't make improvements. we don't respond. in my reading of what has happened since some of those previous attacks, i don't believe that is accurate. i was just wondering if you could outline, just one example from the 1998 embassy bombings in africa, what improvements were made as a result of the study of that problem. how much more money was spent? how were the facilities upgraded? what has been done prior to benghazi to improve security at our overseas? >> congressman, thank you for the question. this is greg starr. >> congressman, thank you for the question.
this is greg starr. i recognize that there are some similarities in the types of recommendations that were made going back through the years on arbs. but, like you, find it difficult to accept the premise that it is ground hog day, that we're just revisiting the same things. as i said before, a tremendous amount of progress was made through the years in building new facilities, in training different personnel, in adding local guard programs. much of this work was done in concert with congress. congress has been very helpful in many ways in terms of funding and oversight. from 1988 to 1992 after the original ingman commission we built 22 new facilities. then after the end of the cold war, the money sort of dried up and ran out, even though we wanted to build nearly 100 after
the bombings in 1998, the money flow for building new embassies was given to us by congress very generously, and we've replaced a tremendous amount of facilities. we've never had to give up one of those new facilities that we've built yet. i think the increases that we've done in training for personnel, additional marine detachments, things like more armored cars, and the things that we've done after benghazi, the better and much closer relationships with the intelligence community and d.o.d. i think some of those things you can say, well, weren't you doing those things, you know, after nairobi? and there are some similarities. but i think the types of things that we're facing are similar as well, and i think we're going to see similar types of attacks, and you may get the -- even in the future, the need for more training than we're doing now.
so i appreciate @ comments. i believe like you do, that while there may be some similarities, this is n not groundhog day. we have made significant process since nairobi. there are very few arb recommendations through all of the arbs that have been left open, and the few that are open, we're still working to close. >> thank you for the question, sir. >> one of the big issues about benghazi, not all state department facilities are the same. when we think of our state department presence overseas, most people typically imagine our embassy, the main facility. as everybody knows, we have a number of different facilities where people are located throughout the country. the most dangerous places i went to was the where we have a consulate in pakistan a few years back. very dangerous place.
very high security. now when you're determining what security to provide, you go to these temporary mission facilities, or to the consulates and specific to libya and the two facilities attacked, how would they have fallen under the new rules after some of these other attacks in terms of understanding how to properly provide security for two facilities, likes the ones in benghazi, which were not traditional or consulates for that matter? is this something that had been contemplated previously? and if so, what was the discussion about how to properly provide security for these different types of facilities? >> unfortunately, sir, i'm at a little bit of a loss as one of the congressman has pointed out, thil those discussions were taking place on what was going to happen for benghazi, i was at the united nations. i do know that we have all
accepted the recommendations from the arb that perhaps there is a little too much confidence. in the chief of mission and what he was saying, that we know that we did not meet all of the ospb standards when for either of those two locations, either special annex or special mission. i know we are concentrating on learning the lessons for that. we have no temporary facilities today that don't -- and no temporary facilities at all. and should we have to have those types of facilities, we will have a very long, hard discussion about what needs to go into them and make sure they're as safe as possible before we let them be occupied. i'm at a little bit of a loss. i can't comment on things happening when i'm not here, sir. >> and we're talking about two other huge issues when it comes to providing security at our overseas facility.
number one is money. particularly at this point. and i might also add, particularly at precisely the moment that benghazi was attacked. i don't imagine that there have been too many times in the history of our country, when we had as many facilities throughout the globe that could not have been ser sooefed as to be at a high threat level. first of all, it was the anniversary of 9/11. second of all, we had already in the days prior had riots and attacks on embassies. and i forget how many different countries. . i certainly know in cairo why the embassy was attacked and i think somewhere close to a dozen others we had that. the number one issue, and i'll mention them both, number one issue is simple resources. in a world full of incredibly dangerous places, how do you decide how to properly allocate the resources between a benghazi
and a cairo and yemen, all of those different places? congress, as you said, has been generous after the previous attacks. but there's still sfinite resources, number one. how do you make those decisions when there's so many places to attack? enthe second is quite differently the chief of mission, we'll disagree. he'll go where folks back in washington, d.c. have said he or she should not. there are many, many members in the state department out in other countries who feel their hands are being tied. i've heard this pointed out from a large number of state department people, referring to it as the benghazi effect, that they can no longer do their job because we've gone back the other way. so those are two very difficult issues. resources and then the conflict
between a member of the state department out in a foreign country, trying to do his or her job for security. how did those two things get balanced throughout the the state department and throughout all of your security? >> adam, before they answer. this is trey. there's less than an minute on the clock, but given the technical difficulties, i'm going to let them answer this question in full and let you answer another question. i wanted to let you know where we were in terms of time. >> right. that's my last question. >> answer as long as you need to, mr. starr and mr. linick. m. >> thank you, mr. starr. on the question of resources, you are correct. while congress has been very generous with us, i am not going to sit here and say that it is solely a question of resources. every year we look at every post in the world in concert with the emergency action committee, in concert with the intelligence
community, in concert with my threat analysis and the regional bureau's, and we rate those threats for civil disorder, for terrorism, for crime and for a couple of other things. and we rate them critical, high, medium or low threats. those ratings help us determine how to best allocate resources. we start with a base position that every one of our facilities should meet the minimum standards. as as steve pointed out, sometimes we have problems even doing that when we upgrade them as fast as we can and make sure they are there. there are many posts that we have to go far above the minimum standards because because of the nature of the threats. in the case of a car bomb, we're looking for additional set backs or barriers. when it's mom attacks, we may look at additional reinforccem t
reinforcements on the ground. but we look at those threats for every post in a formalized manner every single l year, and i start my day every single morning with a threat roundup and looking at what's out there and make determinations whether or not we need to reinforce or do something at the embassies. that does translate into problems sometimes where we have officers that feel that they can't get out. we often have places where we have to balance getting the job done with an officer's individual security and what the threats are. i think that's a healthy tension. i want foreign service officers that want to get out and want to get the job done. and i was posts looking closely at what the threats are and whether they should get out. at the highest threat level post i think you'll find the officers are frustrateded sometimes. the security that has to be overwhelming and very strong. in the rest of the posts around the world, our people are getting out. our people are engaging.
foreign service officers are building democracy, there's rule of law programs, justice programs. humanitarian programs, and they're fulfilling those requirements. it's a balance and it's a dance, i agree. but it's an important one and the intention is good. >> congressman, this is steve linick. just a couple of comments to add onto that. we haven't looked at the sufficiency of resources, but in other words, does the department know what its resources are? does the the department know what requests are made? do they know how to prioritize across the board? that's really the point of the report that we issued that's referenced -- that's been referenced already. and if the department cannot make a determination as to which projects are high priority, then it's going to be difficult to
solve problems and develop budgets. as to the second question on the benghazi effect, you know, i think ultimately this comes down to good risk management. and the arb, the first recommendation discussed the need for the department to make sure there's a mechanism in place to weigh the policy concerns against risks. one of our recommendations was that this is so important that this should be elevated to the highest levels of the department so that someone who is in a position of weighing policy considerations, namely maintaining presence, in certain have very dangerous areas can make that determination and also be responsible when they have to sign on the dotted line and put people in temporary facilities or in high posts? >> can i just quickly follow up on that last point and then i'll be done. i think the problem when you say
take it out to that higher level, but once you take it up, isn't that person further away from the specific understanding of a given country or a given area? and in some ways if you're going up to someone at the the deputy level, they are more distant from the problem, and in some ways probably less qualified to make the the call on whether or not given action is proper. isn't that one of the reasons the state department is reluck about the to implement that specific recommendation? >> i'm not sure whether or not they've been reluck opportunity to adopt that recommendation. i know they have their risk management system, and i don't know to what extent that answers the question of raising risk management at a higher level. i guess i would say that we know that some of these decisions involve competing interests.
at the lower levels you have your policy folks and security folks. somebody has to this be in charge of reconciling some of these competes interests. we know our policy folks want us to be in places. they want us to be out doing diplomacy. and our security folks want to minimize risk. whether the needs to be something managing those competing interests and then taking responsibility for those. >> caller: thank you very much. and thanks to the the committee for allowing me to speak by phone. >> adam, thanks for participating. take care of yourself and we'll see you in january. with that the chair recognizes the gentleman from ohio. >> safety is critically important. appreciate what you said in your written testimony. you said we want to keep our people safe. we'll continue doing everything we can to support and protect them. shouldn't be partisan, should it? republican and democrat shouldn't matter.
>> i don't think that's a partisan issue. i've never had a problem with that as an issue. >> i'm just saying these people put their lives on the line. doesn't matter if you're republican, democrat, who you are, where you come from, are the the policies and actions we're putting in place making people safe? >> yes, sir. >> former secretary of state madeline albright said this. my guess is she would refer to any security breach. she said even a score of 99 out of 100 is a failing grade. that's a pretty strong statement. i understand we don't live in a perfect world. we've talked about that. we have to balance diplomacy with security and safety concerns. but i think the tenure of her statement was what we just talked about. safety is critical. it's of paramount importance. we should do all we could to make sure our people are safe. you would agree with that, wouldn't you, mr. starr? >> i need to try to do that, sir, but i -- i will just add
one inflection on this, and that our primary and most important goal st to carry out the foreign policy of the united states. >> i unction. i understand the balance. >> and then while doing that, we have to do everything we can. >> i get it. i get it. you know, mr. starr, the number one i get back home about benghazi, number one question i get, why were we there? why were we there? it seems to me a fundamental question, especially in light of the very dangerous security situation that existed in benghazi and frankly some other key facts. now we've talked about this before, but mr. starr, the state department has its own standards for security. were those followed with the benghazi facility? >> no, sir, they were not met. >> and when you deviate from the standards, there's a waiver process that you're supposed to adhere to. was the waiver process followed? >> i do not believe so, sir, no. >> no.
mr. kyle was here a few months ago and said near the standard nor the waiver process was followed. and the state department has a special designation for the ben gau benghazi facility. isn't that correct? >> temporary mission facility or special mission facility. >> and was this a term created solely to do an end run around the standards and waiver process? >> sir, i don't believe anybody sbeng intentionally tried to run around the standards or waiver process. it was a question for an embassy or consulate. >> if i could, mr. starr, when mr. kyle testified here three months ago, sat right there beside you, gentleman who serveded 23 years in the state department. he said in talking with people, based on my experience, it was a purposesf fufu fuful effort to standards. >> well, i would disagree. >> he has a pretty good record, like you do as well, mr. starr. how many facilities does the
state department currently have around the world? >> 275 embassies, consulates and generals composing approximately 1,000 buildings. >> your website says you have 285 u.s. fa scilities worldwide. is that not accurate? >> 275 b and there approximately -- >> okay, of the 275 or 285, whatever number you want to use, are any of those today designateded temporary mission facility or special mission compound? >> no. >> none of them. >> none. >> which sort of brings me back to my question, mr. starr. what was so important about benghazi that we didn't follow our own standards? we didn't follow the waiver process. we created a term not used in any of the 285 facilities today. special today compound or temporary facility, not
designated anywhere else today. what was so important that we do all that to be in benghazi, we do all that to be in a place where four americans were killed? >> sir, i would have to refer you to the results of the arb, which i think address that. >> no, no. you're the witness from the state department. i'm asking you. >> i was not here when those determinations were made, sir. and today i don't -- today i do not, and we do not have facilities like that. >> i'm asking you as the representative from the state department to tell you what was so important we don't follow the standards, we don't follow the waiver process, we create a new term out of thin air, and we're the united states of america. we have more facilities than any other country in the world, 285, and none of them use that designation today. >> correct. >> so tell me why -- we were in tripoli. why do we have to be in benghazi? >> i would have to refer you to the arb, sir. >> let me add to it. maybe this will help you think about giving us an answer.
in the 13 months prior, there were 230 security incidents in libya. ied, rpg, assassination attempt on the british ambassador. this was the wild west. repeated requests from our security personnel at the facility. we need more help. we need more good guys here. and you guys said nope. in fact, what they had you reduced. probably the most chaotic situation around any of the facilities. don't adhere to the waiver process. why were we there? >> sir, i think the arb points out mistakes were made. >> mr. stark -- >> i think it's very obvious we had a tragedy that occurred, and i'm not djing that a tragedy occurred.
>> none of us are denying that. we want answers to it. >> i'm not the witness to tell you what happened. >> you're the the state department representative at the hearing on the the select committee to find out what happened. the most fundamental question is why were we there in the first place. >> -- put in place since the arb. >> let me ask you another thing here. do you happen to know the the name of the government in place when we had those leading up to this tragedy. do you know the name of the government in place when we had the ied attacks, the assassination attempt on the british ambassador? what was the name of the the libyan government? do you know? >> no, i don't know offhand. >> the transitional national council. transitional national council. not exactly a title that inspires confidence. screams stability, does it mr. starr? and yet we had to this be there. we just had to this be there. now this committee is going to try to find out the answer.
since you won't give it to us, this committee is going to find out an answer. that's the safety of the people that serve aboard. one good thing came out of the arb. one good thing. they said we're going to have a best practices panel. that made 40 recommendations. and the most important is the one mr. linick talked about earlier. the number one recommendation, frankly the one that many of the other 39 hinge upon, says we need to create at the undersecretary level, an undersecretary for diplomatic security. state department going to do that, mr. star? at the undersecretary level? >> a decision has been made not to implement that. >> not going to do that. how many undersecretaries are there at the state department, mr. starr? >> i believe there's seven. >> i think there's six based on the chart you just gave us. undersecretary for political affairs. undersecretary for economic growth and energy and environment. undersecretary for arms control
and security affairs. undersecretarying for management and the undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs. and yet, we can't have an undersecretary for the security of our people who risk their lives every day around this planet? you know the undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, you know what part of the job description of that undersecretary? to foster cultural exchange and international broadcasting. i'm not saying culture exchange and international broadcasting isn't important. all i'm saying is the safety of the people who serve as these 285 facilities should be just as important. and you guys say nope, we're going to keep you way down here, mr. starr. in fact, you're the one diplomatic security assistant secretary, as miss brooks pointeded out, you're way down the chart. why don't you want to move from the kids' table to the adult table, mr. starr? why don't you want to move up to the undersecretary level? did you make that case to secretary kerry and say i think
security is important enough i should be at the undersecretary level? did you make that case? >> the case that i made to the secretary was that in any instansz that i needed to get to this the secretary, and the access i needed with him, the deputy secretary or the substantiate secretary, i had to have the access necessary to do my job. today i have that access. whether i'm an undersecretary or an assistant secretary, and i have been the undersecretary general for safety and security at the united nations, and it's a different organization. i can tell you that regardless of whether i'm the undersecretary or the assistant secretary -- >> i have the control and access i need. >> i will tell you this. i remember thanksgiving was a lot easier to make the adult at the adult table than to try to do it from the kids' table. i would rather be there. in fact, i'm not the one who thinks it's the greatest idea -- i think it's a great idea. but i'm not alone. clear back in 1999 secretary
albright said the same thing. she thought we should have this at the undersecretary level. todd kyle in the best practices panel thought we should have it at the undersecretary level. and the guy sitting beside you thinks we need to elevate this to the highest level. so i guess we got two big question that this committee needs to answer. why in the world won't the state department do what everyone in the world knows needs to this be done? elevate this to the highest that we? make it equal to cultural exchange and international broadcasting, and then the big question again that i hope we get an answer to in this committee. why were we there? why were we there with these facts and circumstances? that's a fundamental question that the the american people want to know and these four individuals, these families who gave their lives would like to know as well. with that i yield back. >> thank the gentleman from ohio. the chair now recognizes ranking member mr. cummings. >> thank you very much, mr.
chairman. first of all, i would like to thank our witnesses for being here today. in particular, i want to thank you, secretary starr. i listened to what was just stated and asked, but my what stated. but my concern, and i'm sure it's the concern of the entire committee is when all the dust settles, that the request of every single family member that we met, when the dust settles i hope it's carried out, and that is, that our facilities are safer. so that things are not like this, an unfortunate incident does not happen again. the department's update shows continued strong progress towards full implementation of the arb recommendation. the total elimination of risks
is a nonstarter. for u.s. diplomacy given the need for the united states government to be present and places where stability and security are often most profo d profoundly lacking and host government support is sometimes minimal to nonexistent, end quote. nonetheless, we serve americans serving overseas our best effort to keep them as safe as possible. i want to thank you for dedicating your career to achieving that goal. i have no doubt that you are committed and determined to see the implementation of these recommendations. according to your testimony, since september 17th, that hearing we held that day, the department has closed three more benghazi arb recommendations.
one of the three that you close involves the hiring of additional diplomatic security personnel, is that right? i think that was recommendation number 12? >> yes, sir. >> your october letter said you had filled 120 of those -- 151 newly created slots. do you expect to complete your hiring by early 2015? >> we're on track to do that, sir. >> and what's entailed in that. is it hard to find people or -- >> because we have very high standards and these positions are very technical, we have had difficulties. sir, i would like to point something out. the recommendation was to get increased diplomatic security personnel for high-end critical threat post and for additional security mobile teams. the 151 positions asked for
additional people for positions beyond those two things. we have already created every one of the positions in msd for mobile security teams and at our posts overseas, taken agents that were already on board, filled those positions and those locations, and what we do is back hire now to fill the positions that we took those more experienced agents out and put them there. so, we have fulfilled the recommendation of what it is, even though we continue to hire some additional personnel. >> i see. >> i think we more than fulfilled that recommendation. >> so, you still missing some people, though, because you're moving people. >> right. we're still hiring to fill the people that we put in behind there, although the agents have all been hired. it's a couple technical specialties that we're filling in behind. >> okay. you also close the recommendation related to risk management courses and enhanced threat training for personnel at these high-risk posts. how will this training better
prepare our diplomats in high-threat regions? >> we have increased the foreign affairs counterterror training we offer to our foreign service personnel now, not just our people going to high threat, high risk posts. every one of them has to go through that training. prior to this we did not quite have the capacity to do that. we're now increasing that training to everyone in the entire foreign service over the next four years. additionally, the foreign service institute has put courses in that are complementing our skills-based training. courses like how to conduct diplomacy in a high-threat environment, which trains officers, brings back officers from some of these tough places and shows best practices on how you accomplish your job when you're faced with things like sometimes you can't travel to the ministries. sometimes there's different types of security requirements. so, i think we're addressing it both through skills-based
training on security and in the northern training institute before they go through high-threat environments, how do they best do their job. >> the third recommendation was to procure fire safety equipment at high-threat posts. mr. starr, is that complete? >> it is complete with one exception, sir. i have one post where the equipment is sitting, a specific type of respirator mask is sitting one country away. i'm trying to get it in today and tomorrow to that post and we've had some customs issues. we have delivered the type of equipment and training in conjunction after talking with the new york city fire department and others to all of our high-threat posts around the world. >> would you get us notification when you have completed that one thing you just said? >> i will, sir. >> so, they are receiving the
training? everyone has received the training on it? >> we have worked closely with the fire department and then when we ship the equipment out, there is training on the equipment. other things obo has done in terms of fire safety as well. >> with the closure of those three recommendations, that leaves four recommendations still open, is that right? >> yes, sir. >> your october letter said with a target dates to complete implementation of those final four recommendations. are you on track to complete those recommendations? >> we are on track, sir. the one that will stretch the longest is the implementation of a new type of cct camera at our posts overseas. the technical requirements associated with that have been more difficult than we first envisioned. we have a schedule to do it. i hope to have it done by fall of 2015. i'm leery it might go longer. so, what we're saying is it will
absolutely be done by 2016. >> the other three, when will they be complete? >> i believe the recommendation including co-location waivers will be done within probably two months. recommendation concerning assignment durations for high-threat posts, we have essentially fulfilled that recommendation. we are working with congress to look at something called a dual compensation, so if necessary we can bring back highly talented officers. i believe we can close that recommendation whether or not we get approval for the dual compensation waivers. so, i think we'll have an answer in terms of closing that recommendation within two months as well. and there is one further classified recommendation we're on track to close, but i would prefer not to discuss it in this hearing. >> as i said in our previous hearing, i want to make sure things get done. and so i want you to get back to
us exactly when you expect -- i would like to have that in writing, when you expect these things to be done and provide the committee with that information, because we want to hold you to that, all right? >> as the inspector general has said, there's also going to be a review and a -- of our compliance as well, so it's not only you, sir, the inspector -- >> we'll call it double coverage. >> exactly. and i will get back to you on that. >> mr. starr, representative wes moreland discussed with you 2013 audit that took place before the creation of the high-threat director program at the audit phenomenal some security deficiencies at posts it examined. is that correct? >> yes, sir. >> mr. starr, in our last hearing, the inspector general's office released its 2014 reported on high-threat programs
directorat. one of the inspector general's key findings in that report is that this newly created body was, quote, helped create a culture of share responsibility within the department and has forged strong partnerships with regional security officers and counterparts in regional and functional bureaus as well as within the inner agency community. i think that's an extremely positive finding given the fact that the accountability review board considered the lack of shared responsibility around security issues to be systematic failure just two years ago. mr. starr, could you discuss how you think the creation of the high-threat program has created a culture of shared responsibility and state department? and then my final question, to tell us, how does this culture of shared responsibility that
the i.g. praises at our embassies abroad. >> thank you for the question, congressman. we have addressed this in many different ways. the high threat directat itself, just by the fact that we concentrate on looking every single year at our top 30 posts, the ones that we worry about the most, the vp2 process, the fact that we have written into every senior officer's job description and every officer in the state department, their individual responsibilities for security. the fact that i have officers that are attending the meetings of the regional bureaus every single week, in some cases every single day. and when we are looking at the programs, we are also talking about the security implications, therefore, i think have highlighted the fact that none of us can operate independently
of considerations of security at this point. i think there has been a culture change in the department. i think having to weigh the importance of our programs and why we're in very danger places under the vp2 process has brought a laser focus on why we're there, what the real threats are and have a clear understanding of the threats, not ignoring the threats, what we've done to mitigate those flets and then a decision at the end of that is our presence still adequate and is our presence warranted, despite all these things, i think, has brought a new culture to the department in many ways. i think i have never seen security taken as seriously as it has been in the last two years. and i say that not lightly because i've been here a long time and security has been taken seriously for many, many years in the department. but i think this -- some of
these processes we have put in place this time are new to the department and are doing exactly what the arb wanted and what you're talking about. is it working itself into the culture? >> right. and the culture is very significant. it's one thing when you have ab ragss. it's another when you actually believe in something, you're doing it every day and it becomes a part of your dna. that is, the dna of the state department. >> yes, sir. i would add one other thing, sir. the officers that are reaching the senior ranks of the department today, in many cases have spent significant amounts of time over the last decade in places like iraq, pakistan, afghanistan, yemen, cairo, other places where we have true security problems. the officers i work with today, every single day at my level and above, are keenly aware that security must be balanced with
our program implementation. they've lived it. >> thank you very much, chairman. >> thank the gentleman from maryland. the chair will now recognize the gentlelady. >> are you familiar with the 1997 oig recommendation with the need to prioritize using a methodology based on the ospb security standards? >> i'm vaguely familiar with -- i wasn't here in 1997. >> were you aware it was closed in 1998? >> i think that's right. i think that's right. >> and wasn't -- to the extent you can answer this, it was closed because the department amended its memorandum of agreement with the marine corps to include procedures for establishing the size of existing detachments and
procedures for activations and deactivations, is that correct? >> i don't recall why it was closed without looking at documents. >> well, in 2014 your office again looked at whether -- at where and houma reason security guard detachments were being utilized at the state department post overseas, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> were you able to determine whether there is a methodology for prioritizing and assigning new msg attachments to overseas posts and whether that methodology was effective? >> our auditors found in that report that there were no formal procedures to select or identify posts. they couldn't show how the marine security guard units compared with other posts. there was no formal plan for expansion. they simply just didn't have the processes and procedures that one would normally think you would have. >> so, you weren't able to
make -- figure out how ds makes the determination of where these marines go? >> we were not. >> okay. and it's the same or similar issue, to your knowledge, i know you don't seem as familiar with the 1997, but the inspector general then told ds to create a process or methodology to select posts, so this is a similar situation, correct? >> i'll accept that premise. >> so, how can we on this committee have confidence that recommendation 11 from the benghazi arb made just two years ago that the department and dod will provide more capabilities at higher risk posts? how can we have the confidence that that will be fully implemented? >> well, that's the challenge of closing recommendations. we have a compliance follow-up group that i can tell you what they do now. they do look very closely at the actions that the department takes to close recommendations. they wouldn't close it unless they felt that there was
significant progress. >> mr. starr, i'm going to follow up with you on this point. according to the oig, only 40% of the new msg detachments have been assigned to posts with high or critical rating for political violence, terrorism. in light of your last statement in the previous questions, you said you've never seen security taken so seriously in the past two years. well, how does the fact that only 40% of the high-risk, high-threat posts have these marine security guard detachments, how does this satisfy the arb recommendation 11 expand that program to provide more capabilities and capacities at higher risk posts? >> thank you for the question, congresswoman. there's actually a very clear, very simple answer for this. most of the posts that are high-threat, high-risk already
had marine security guard detachments at them. that's why the 40% number is there. of the 30 posts that we ranked as our highest threat, highest vulnerability, 19 of them already had marine security guard detachments. we've added two to those. of the remaining nine posts, five of those posts, there's no one there. the post is in name only. we don't have people on the ground. mogadishu, harat -- >> let me interrupt you for a minute. mr. linick, do you agree with those numbers? >> i haven't confirmed those numbers, soy don't know. >> and there are several other posts. there's about four posts in that high-threat list where we would like to put marine security guard detachments. the host government has not allowed us to do that. >> okay. so -- >> but the reason that figure seems very strange is that in the vast majority of cases,
we've already got marine detachments at those places. >> let's be clear about this, mr. starr. how many current high-risk threat posts do not have msg detachments? >> of the 30 highest risks, highest threat level posts, 9 do not, but 5 of those 9 are not functioning posts. they're closed, so four. >> do you agree with that mr. linick, or do you not know? >> i don't know. >> is there a timetable, mr. starr, in place for assigning the msg attachments to the -- you say four posts. is there a timetable? >> i would like to do it tomorrow, but i will tell you, i find it unlikely that i'm going to be able to assign marine detachment to those posts. >> you say because host nation problems -- >> host nation problems. >> when i talked to you last time three months ago, it doesn't seem like we've made much progress, but i asked you, you know, what's your plan with the ones that you don't, if
you've got host nation problems, are there other ways to get security there? and you said in your testimony, if we find that we don't have those types of protections, you listed adding ds agents, several other mitigating things. but you said, if we don't find that we don't have those types of protections or we think those risks are too high, then we won't be there. so, why have we not made progression on those four posts that you are stating now, we still don't have those protections in place? >> the host nation has stood up and given us high levels of protection. in some cases, i have a tremendous amount of other resources there, including diplomatic security agents and armed contractors that meet the threat. in some cases, we have made a determination that the host government is standing up and fulfilling its responsibilities. while we'd still like to have marines there, the fact we don't
does not mean that we cannot continue. this is some of the things that we're looking at as we do this vp2 process. when we weigh why we're at a post, what the threats are, what resources we have overall. and as i say, marines are one tool in our tool kit. >> mr. linick, i want to take mr. starr's answer and follow up with you. do you think that's sufficient? >> my question is along the lines of the report. what are the plans, where are the plans, where's the meth methodology? what plans are there to negotiate with host governments unwilling to take us? those kind of things. >> and you have not gotten a clearance from ds on exactly how this is going to be handled, correct? >> all the recommendations are open at this time. >> all the recommendations are open. and based on the questions from ms. brooks earlier, open means they're unresolved and there's
no evidence there that they're doing anything to make it better? >> well, actually, there are a number of open resolved recommendations, in other words, the department has agreed in principle to comply. but there are two recommendations which are unresolved which means we just disagree. >> of the six, there are four unresolved -- >> no, two -- >> excuse me. four resolved and two unresolved. >> that's correct. >> but even the resolved, you've just gotten them to say that they want to do something, but you have no actions to back up their words. >> that's correct. >> so, we still have, according to mr. starr's testimony, we have four places, very dangerous places of the world, where american lives are at stake because we don't have the proper security in place. >> congresswoman -- >> wait, this is for mr. linick. is that correct? >> i mean, have i to accept that that -- those facts because i
don't know independently whether that's true. >> recommendation 6 of your report recommends that ds marine security guard program conduct a staffing and resources assessment and then judiciously allocate appropriate resources to facilitate compliance with the benghazi accountability review board report to upgrait grade security for personnel at high-threat posts. has this been done? >> not according to the facts i've heard. >> so, in fact, the department has yet to comply with benghazi arb recommendation 11, correct? >> we believe benghazi arb 11 intended for there to be marine security guards at all high threat posts. >> so i want to hear you say -- >> yes, that is correct. >> thank you very much. i've got 24 -- 22 seconds left. i did want to touch a little bit on the local guard force.
real quick, mr. linick, if i can just get to the findings with you. a, b, regional security officers took it upon themselves to vary the vetting and approval process and failed to ensure that the security contractors provided all the required documents. that's correct? >> that's correct. >> so, did any of the security companies that had contracts fully perform all vetting required in their contracts? >> no. we looked at 87 personnel files and none of them -- none of the security contractors performed all of the vetting requirements. >> and of the six embassies reviewed, did any of them allow guards to work before being fully vetted? >> yes, a number of them allowed them to work without vetting. >> i just -- mr. charnlgs i do not understand how this can be. just two years after four americans were killed in
benghazi, we have local guards that are not fully vetted that clear -- that clearly, mr. chairman, show that we have a severe security threat in very dangerous places where american lives are at stake today. thank you so much. thank you for being here. i yield back. >> thank the gentlelady from alabama. the chair will recognize the gentleman from california, mr. schiff. >> thank you, chairman. thank you, gentlemen, for being here. appreciate your service very much. mr. starr, i just wanted to ask you for historical perspective, because i think many americans may be under the impression that what took place in benghazi was extraordinary in the sense we've never had attacks on our diplomats or tragedies. i wonder if you could shed a
little light on the last 20 years. how many times have our facilities been attacked? how many times has that resulted in injuries or fatalities? is the problem getting worse because the world is now more unstable? it seems like there are more high-threat posts now than ever. is that just an impression or is that the reality? and what does that mean in terms of the prioritization you mentioned at the outset? and that is, the priority is for a diplomatic post to implement the policy of the united states. that has to be done in a way where we can protect our people. but they're there for a reason. and there are many posts where we are, where we could ask the same questions. why are we in yemen? why are we in iraq? why are we in any of these places that are inherently dangerous. there are foreign policy objectives in these places, as
there were in libya. we have increasingly difficult calls to make about where we post our people, what risks we're willing to undertake in furtherance of our policy. that's why i have such great respect for the people in our diplomatic corps because they're at risk. there's just no avoiding it these days. but can you set a little of the historic trend for us. what has been our experience with violence at our facilities? to what degree is that phenomenon changing and is it changing for the worse? >> we have more posts today categorized at high or critical threat for civil disorder or terrorism than at any time in my service in the department. i think we are seeing a lot of different threats emerging. i don't think that's a surprise to anyone.
we are challenged in many ways, but again, going back to what we've been doing since nairobi and dar ra salam, which is when al qaeda first came in our view full face, that we had to recognize, that we had a determined nonstate enemy against us, a lot of the programs we put in place and the buildings we built have helped make us and balance that security. congressman, as you say, over the last ten or more years, we have had multiple, multiple attacks on our facilities and people in iraq. many, many attacks in afghanistan. in harat last year, we had a horrific attack with two truck bombs, eight suicide bombers trying to kill our people at the consulate in harat. our security systems worked. we killed all of them. we lost tragically some
third-country national guards on -- security guards and afghan police officers, but no americans were killed in that. as has been eluded to here, at the same time as the benghazi attack, we had huge crowds and mobs that were coming over our facilities and attacking our facilities in cairo, in tunisia and in sudan. and in the last two posts, 8 1/2 hours before the host country came to our support, our facilities held and no americans were injured. we have had and lost certain foreign service officers in one-off attacks, lone wolf type attacks, including john granville in sudan, not too long ago. we've had rpg attacks, truck bomb attacks, car bomb attacks, car bomb attacks on our motorcades, we have had aircraft that has been shot at. we have had almost innumerable attacks on our facilities over
the last 20 years. and you are right, they are going up. it is a challenge. i would first say that it's a testament to the foreign service that our officers still want to get out and implement the important foreign service goals that we have to. it is a testament to their willingness to take new types of training and for the department to take on these security risks. congress has been a very important partner in how we have met these risks, particularly since the 1998 bombings in dara salam and nairobi and we appreciate that. we'll continue to work on these things. i don't think it's a surprise to anybody that we are living in a world where there's a high degree of instability in many countries. there's a lot of open discussion about how extremism is drawing inqzqíño new youth, disaffecte personnel and has a calling that is being heard by certain
people. we have our challenges cut out for us. we'll do the best we can to meet those challenges while still implementing the foreign policy of the united states government. >> thank you, mr. starr. let me drill down on a couple specifics that i think have manifested themselves in light of this increasing threat environment and increasing number of high-risk posts. and that is, more people that are on temporary assignment. and people that are of short duration in some of these high-security threats. many of us that have visited our diplomatic facilities overseas meet people that are there for short tours. you talked about one way of trying to fill the gap with retirees. why is it -- it may be desirable to bring in the retirees on who have great experience, but why is that necessary? are we having trouble to attract
enough personnel to go to these high-threat snoes is there a mutually reinforcing cycle where people who go to a high-threat post, therefore, get recommendations from people in those posts for future assignments and are kind of locked into high-threat posts? what is the impact on our personnel of the proliferation of dangerous places where they work? >> congressman, the situation that we face is that most of these high-threat posts are unaccompanied. we're asking more and more of our personnel to take unaccompanied tours away from their families for longer periods of time. generally, these have been one-year tours, but we're now at a point where we're asking more of our officers to serve two-year unaccompanied tours overseas without their families. we have rotated many of our foreign service officers and many of my security agents and security personnel through multiple hardship tours without their families at these high-threat posts at this point.
the foreign service has a certain amount of personnel. we have not had to rely particularly on very many tdy personnel. some of the other personnel available rat our posts overseas have greatly relied on temporary duty personnel. not so much the department. we have had officers that stood up and continue to stand up and serve at these places. but it is not without, you know, cost. it is not without, in some cases, fracturing families or, you know, are we putting people -- asking them to serve tour after tour in high-threat posts? multiple times at these places do we have behavioral problems and other things coming out of this. the answer in some cases is, yes. so in many cases where we have a need to put our best people in some tough places, where we're asking sometimes for temporary personnel, but sometimes for longer periods of time, the department is asking to bring
back some of the retired people. somebody's going to use that vast experience they've got and they're going to pay them for it. we would like to avail ourselves of that as well if possible. but i do think that the state department's been at the forefront of filling our positions with mostly full-time assigned personnel, although we, too, rely on tdyers occasionally. >> just one last question because i only have a minute left. i wanted to follow up on -- i think we all recognize the importance of having high-level attention paid to the arb recommendations by the top principals in the state department. and i feelly concur that secretaries clinton and kerry have embraced and even established this is a best practice. you had mentioned it was codified in the foreign affairs manual very recently, but the embrace of that by those top principals, that was from the very beginning.
in fact, that was a standard they set, was it not? >> i think it was very evident from the statements of secretary kerry and our principles that we were in this together and everybody had to get on board. what we're now doing is bringing it around to putting it in the policy. as steve point out, that's important, we need to codify this going forward and we need to do that. but i agree with you, i have spent many hours in many meeting with the deputy secretaries and many others. and i've had discussions with the secretary about what security means to us. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> thank the gentleman from california. the chair will now recognize the gentleman from illinois, mr mr. roscum. >> thank you. secretary starr and mr. linick, thank you for your time. i find your argument inconsistent in this sense. i just want to bring to your attention statements you made to my colleagues, some of the realities that i perceive and walk you through my thinking.
a couple of minutes ago you told ranking member cummings there has been a culture change in the department. and if there has been a culture change in the department that presupposes that you basically offer everything up that's an obstacle and reflect, look, this is a problem and we're going to rid ourselves of every single problem that was an obstacle to a remedy. a couple minutes ago, you made the argument to mr. schiff -- not an argument, but you made the point, increasingly dangerous world. nobody here disagrees with that. it was compelling. you used words like extremism, disaffected youth and these posts are unaccompanied because they're miserable places to go, presumably. and yet one of the things that is the remedy to that is the waiver authority and recommendation number 13 that the department continues to cling to. so, the recommendation of the
best practices panel in number 3 it is says, it says waivers to establish security standards should only be pursued subsequent to the implementation of mitigating measures as agreed by regional bureau or other program managers advised by ds and informed by the department risk management model. that is a great idea. now, here's the problem. the department -- and i don't know where you were in the discussion, but the department has said, we don't think that's a great idea. in fact, we think this, in certain cases involving national security -- i'm going to come back to that, because that's such an ambiguous term -- an exception can be approved based on the mitigating measures already in place. presuming there are mitigating measures, i might add. even though future mitigating measures may be planned to bring the facility even closer to or in con for answer with the standards. in such case when time is of the
essence to further national security interests the department requires flexibility to grant exception of the planned mitigating measures. so, here's my point. that is a gaping exception. that is an exception, mr. secretary, that anything can get through. and i mean, anything. so if it is simply, look, this is national security. all of a sudden that becomes a laminated hall pass for someone at the department of state to say, we're declaring this a national security. yeah we've gone through the whole process. the process you described, that is, identifying the high-risk, high-threat posts, going through vp2. so far, there's no restraining include. then there's two choices. either recharacterize something as a special mission compound or something else, or go through another process. and even within the other formalized process, there's still this waiver authority and people around you, mr. secretary, are saying, give it up.
and by your own argument, i might add, you're making the argument you should give it up. there's a culture change so big you're describing it to ranking member cummings and a world that is so dangerous that you're using all kinds of words that we all agree with. so why in the world hang onto this thing? >> for a very specific technical reason, sir. we pick a place. sometimes the best that we can get in a short duration if we're going to go back in. we have to make decisions on what needs to be done and what level of things we can't possibly do. i can't create 100 feet of setback when there isn't 100 feet of setback and we may have to accept that. at a certain point we have to make decisions, are we going to accept that? do the rest of the things we
need to do. or are we just going to say, no, we're not going to accept that? and then continue looking until we find a place. by the way, i've never found a place to lease in 30 years in the department that actually had 100 feet of setback that was available. >> secretary starr, what is different than the reasoning you just articulated to me just now from the reasoning that put us in benghazi and that allowed four people to be killed? what is different? >> there is -- i will admit that there is some measure of risk in what i am saying, but -- >> huge risk, based on -- >> no, i don't agree it's huge risk. >> you just told them it was a dangerous world filled with extremists and disaffected youth. that was five minutes ago. >> true. but i think we have to be able to make decisions to progress. in some cases, if we're going to lease a new facility, we're
going to have to admit that we're going to have to get give waivers in order to fulfill -- >> what is the difference between -- >> the difference is, we have to do the waivers. there has to be a decision process. >> yeah, but then why don't you -- why don't you agree to the mitigation? that was the key finding of the best practices -- >> because in some places we can't get the mitigation. i can't -- >> if you can't -- >> i cannot get a blast-proof building unless i build it. >> then why do we ask people to go to these places? >> because in some cases the foreign policy imperatives of why we need to be there mean that we're going to take reasonable levels of risk. now, what we have to be careful is that we don't take unreasonable levels of risk. there has to be an open and fulsome discussion about why we need to be there, what risks are we really running? do you really understand the threats? as you -- >> best practice panel recommendation is trying to
codify that risk discussion. and if you rewind the tape today and you listen to the answers that you gave, and i was carefully listening to this, earlier in the last -- in our last discussion time, the last hearing, ms. robey asked you a question and you and i had an exchange about your answer. but just to refresh your memory, she asked, is it possible for the state department to open a temporary residential facility. you said, we don't have any at the moment i can't imagine we would or that i would approve it. you, singularly, mr. starr. earlier today in part of the exchange you said, i am committed to keeping our people as safe as possible. now, i get it. that's opening statement language. there's nothing wrong with that. you then told ms. sanchez, i turned that down. you then told mr. joer darngs i have access. your bristle was up a little bit because he was pushing you
around but you were saying, i have access to the secretary of state. now, here's the problem. when you're gone, that next person will be confronted with the same discussion that you admitted is basically that there's nothing really different about the thinking that went in on benghazi, to your knowledge, because you told us you weren't there. i'm telling you that i think it is very similar, that line of thinking that says, yeah it's dangerous, we have to get them, we've got to go, there's no time, we have to check these boxes, yeah, yeah yeah, and you have this national security exception that the exception like i've described is this big and we're right back into this situation. notwithstanding the culture change that you've offered up. do you see where this is going? which is why people around you are saying, give it up. offer it up. you don't need it. >> i think that that -- relying on one recommendation -- >> this is not one recommendation. >> no, that's one particular recommendation we don't agree
with. because of a technical reason that we have to be able to say in advance and write the waivers and say, we're going to accept wavering that security standard gives us the ability to do these things. >> look, in your answer -- >> but the larger issue, though, is things like vp2 and having processes in place. and i recognize that this one particular one is confusing in terms of, it seems like we don't want a process -- >> oh, it's not confusing to me. >> it doesn't seem like we want a process -- >> there's nothing confusing about this. you're basically saying we're not going to mitigate -- you're not basically saying. you're saying we're not going to mitigate. the answers the state department offers is presoefs mitigation in place and relying on a speculation of possible mitigation. in fact, it says it may be planned. may be planned. that's speculation beyond
speculation. it's speculation upon speculation. do you see how it is people are coming to the conclusion that in a post-starr era that like it or not is coming, in a post-starr air remarks when special committees are not around, there's going to be every bit of possibility and pressure based on the national security exemption which as i described it, is this big. all of a sudden, we're right back into this situation and we're grieving the loss of life. i ask you to revisit this. i ask you to reconsider this. this is something you're clinging to and that you ought not. i yield back. >> thank the gentleman from illinois. chair now recognize the gentleman from maryland. >> the -- you know, mr. starr, ms. robey asked mr. linick about the vetting of local security guards. i'm really -- i thought she had an excellent line of questioning.
i want to make sure i understand what's going on here because when the dust settles again i want to make sure what people are saying. in june -- when we talk about the vetting, can you tell me why there is no vetting in those -- i think it was four countries? >> six countries. six contractors. >> congressman, the answer is that it is not true there was no vetting. what the report points out is that they didn't fully comply with the vetting requirements. there are places around the world where we work that our normal vetting requirements, things like requiring a police check, can't be accomplished. there are places where we are or the contractor is not allowed to
perform a background investigation. this is of all places -- one place in italy we cannot vet contractors in italy because of statements they have in law. it does not mean we don't do our best job to vet the people that we bring on board. now, i will -- i want to say one thing clearly. when steve and his inspectors go out and they find a circumstance where they say, hey, we don't think the contractor's living up to the vetting requirements, i want to know that. and we take that seriously and we go back and say, okay, what's happening here? in some cases we may find there's a reason the contractor isn't fully vetting the people. he may have to use alternate methods. but there are -- there may be cases and steve's people may find out that he's trying to put some shortcuts in place and doesn't want to pay for the vetting and we need to know those things. that's valuable guidance that inspector general's teams are bringing back to us.
so, i think it's a dual answer. one, i want to know what they're finding because these inspections are part of our backstop and they're important to us. condndthere may be reasons in some cases that there may not be a full vetting. there may be certain work-arounds. we can't do police checks or they don't -- you just buy a police check, essentially, we're looking at family ties, you know, does everybody know this person? does this person really want to work at the embassy? and people have known his character for a long time. there may be work-arounds. and finally, there are places where we know that we have significant issues hiring locals to be guards. in those places, we bring in third-country contractors at tremendous expense because there's no other way to get the vetting done and we don't trust the people. so, it's a holistic answer.
i don't want to say that we don't value, and i necessarily disagree with the ig on some of these things. they play a really important role. the inspection process is important to us. and when steve's people come back and say, hey, something's not right here, we look at it. we try to correct it as fast as possible or we have an understanding it doesn't quite meet the needs and we'll have an open recommendation and we'll go back and forth with the inspector on that. i would note, sir, that our guards have stood by us through thick and then. some of them have stayed years after we've closed our facilities and protected them. we have never had a green i don't know blue incident with any of our guards. in many cases, they have showed loyalty to us far beyond what we could ever do. are our programs, are our guard programs perfect? no. we strive to keep them up to snuff every single day with the
highest compliance of the rules and regulations we put in place. steve plays an important role in keeping us there. so it's -- all told, i need those guards and we're going to continue doing it. and i think we're doing over emgly a very good job. are there some things we need work on? yes. when we find them, we'll work on it. >> are you familiar with the june 2014 inspector general's report with regard to an audit of the department's oversight of the vetting process, used for local security guards. you're familiar with that audit? >> yes, sir. and he reported and explained that contractors are challenged in vetting local security forces because of local privacy laws, lack of credit reporting services and difficulty in obtaining official records. in the host country. and how do you operate within those kind of constraints?
you get -- you do as much as you can and then -- i mean, how do you -- you want to vet. and so is there a certain point you say, well, there's just not enough vetting we can do that we can hire these folks or -- i mean, how does that work? >> when we make a determination that we really can't do any vetting and we have no confidence in the guard force, that's when we may turn to this alternative, third country nationals we bring in from another country we vet if we can get permission from the host country to do that. in many cases it's more subtle than that. as i say, sir, when the police check may not be worth the piece of paper it's printed on or where there are privacy cases, in many cases we look at who knows this person? what recommendations have they got? are they family? are they tied to the embassy in some place? we've got to have guards.
we have to have people manning the posts and checking the people coming in and checking packages and inspecting the cars. and even when some of those vetting procedures may not -- may not comport with what we do as a security clearance back here in the united states, we have a great deal of faith and confidence in them, even in some cases we may not meet every requirement. we may not be able to cross every "t" and dot every "i." at some point we have to take some level of risk. >> mr. starr, we spoke extensively about risk management. during our last hearing you spoke about how important it is to assess both the willingness and capability of the host country forces to provide local security. how does the state department consider the potential issues with local guards today when considering whether to operate in a certain country? and how has that change the since benghazi?
i don't know that that has actually changed since benghazi, sir. i would say it's been an ongoing issue for us. there are some countries that will not allow us to have guard contractors. in some cases we can hire them directly. there are some countries where we have made that determination that because of counterintelligence issues or because we may think that the guard force is -- could be infiltrated and we don't have faith and confidence that we may use third-country contractors. this has been an ongoing issue since 2002. we look at every country very carefully. we make a determination how we can best fulfill the security requirements in that country, whether it's a contract, whether it's a pas, district hire guard force, whether it's a
third-country national guard force. we rely in great part on the experience of the rsos in the field and the contracting officers and the general services officers to give us advice here in washington and listen to them. and then make recommendations and decisions based on the best knowledge we have. >> well, let me say this. i want to thank both of our witnesses for being here today. we really do appreciate it. and we appreciate your willingness to work hard every day to make our people safer. as i know, mr. starr, that we've -- i know we pressed you hard today. please recognize and understand we do so to ensure the department's feet are held to the fire because it's important for all of us that we do this right. and i remind you again, it is our watch. your testimony in september and
october update, the updates you provided us. we appreciate. and your testimony today shows continued progress. and we appreciate your willingness to work with us and anyone else who helps to make our embassies safer. so, i want to thank you for that. and i want to thank you, mr. linick, for all that you're doing because you, too, help us keep these feet to the fire. with regard to the arb, i think we're making good progress, but i want to make sure everything is done. and i noted there are some arb recommendations, quite a few of them from past arbs. i think we need to take these opportunities and and try to address as much as we possibly can even back then because those things are still ongoing, right, mr. linick? there are still problems? >> yes, that's correct. i want to thank both of you. mr. starr, don't forget we want
to know when those other recommendations of the arb will be completed and to let us know when they are, in fact, completed, all right? okay. thank you, gentlemen. >> yes, sir. we'll get those answers to you. sir, i expect to be pressed pretty hard. this is tough business and it's important business and you can press as hard as you want. myself and steve, we're both pretty tough guys and we appreciate even the tough questioning. the opportunity to put these things on the table with you in an important committee like this is important to me, too. >> thank you very much. were in libya?gentleman from and i'm not going to ask you the same question, because you made it clear, you're not the right person for us to ask. and i'm going to respect that. but i want to make sure you understand why jimmy would ask
you that question and why all of us are asked that question with alarming frequency in our districts. the last hearing we had, you did a very good job of explaining to those of us who are not in diplomacy that you have to weigh and balance. i think you said, you have to weigh and balance the policy with the risk to determine whether or not you should have a presence. and it just struck me there's no way you could possibly weigh and balance policy versus risk if you don't understand what the policy is. and then i started thinking what jimmy was talking, i wonder where the question came from? and i knew i'd seen this somewhere. do you know someone by the name of ben rhodes? >> i don't know ben rhodes personally. i know the position he was fulfilling. >> i don't know him either, but there was a memo three days after four of our fellow americans were killed in benghazi. and i will skip over goal number
1 of his communications memo -- actually, i won't. it says to convey the u.s. is doing everything we can to protect our people in our facilities. it just struck me, if you were doing everything you could, we would not have had 50 separate recommendations after he wrote that memo and this now the second hearing to make sure that those recommendations were implemented. but i'm going to skip over that goal to get to the second goal. the second goal, secretary starr, was to underscore that these protests are rooted in an internet video and not a broader failure of policy. so, i'm going to skip over the video part of that for now and get to the second clause, the dependent clause in that sentence. not a broader failure of policy. how can we judge whether or not a policy has failed or succeeded if no one tells us what the policy objectives were? i mean, how can we do that? how can you weigh and balance the risks? jimmy's gone through the risks.
members on the other side have gone through all the escalating episodes of violence in benghazi. and it may well be that the reason for us to have been there supercedes all of those episodes of violence. but how -- i mean, how can a committee of congress know that if no one tells us while we were there? so, you're not the right person to ask. who would you ask if you were us? who should we bring to explain why were we in libya? >> the policy questions, i think, should more properly be directed to the nea bureau that had responsibility -- >> i'm looking for a name, preferably. who would be able to tell us what policy we were pursuing in libya was so important to skip over all the things that roscum pointed out and to weigh and
balance the episodes of violence in such a way that the presence outweighed the violence? >> at the risk of having her never talk to me again, the assistant secretary for nea, ann patterson, i think, is the highest ranking person in the nea bureau. and at the time of the attack was the u.s. ambassador in egypt. and i think ann or one of the deputy assistant secretaries in the nea bureau could give you the best answer on that. >> well, i thank you for that name. and i want to make sure you and i are on the same sheet of music. do you understand why we would have that question? i mean, do you think that that is a fair and legitimate question for us to ask, what the policy was so we can then weigh and balance it, as you instructed us to do? >> i think that's a reasonable question, sir. >> well, thank you. now, secretary starr, last time you were with us, we not only discussed the most recent arb recommendations but we went back and highlighted some from the past. and one in particular from 1999
caught my attention. the secretary of state should take a personal and active role in carrying out the responsibility for ensuring the security of u.s. diplomatic personnel abroad. it is essential to convey to the entire department entire department that security is one of the highest priorities. secretary, just in case somebody missed that part of the 1999 arb, the authors reiterated that point with this. the secretary of state should personally review the security situation of embassies and other official premises, closing those which are highly vulnerable and threatened. to previous arb recommendations that you could essentially lay on top of one another. they are identical. and i don't think they're identical because they forgot that they put the first one. i think they're identical because they were trying to send a message to us, this is really
important and it is deserving of the attention at the highest levels of the department. so here is what i want to do. i want to specifically with respect to benghazi, in october of 2011, there was a specific request for a machine gun to defend our facility in benghazi. in august of 2012, just a month before the attack on our facility, a document again lists a machine gun as equipment needed and requested. do you know who denied the request for those machine guns and why? >> no, sir, i do not. >> who should i ask? >> you can ask me and i will research that. >> will you do that in is. >> yes, i will. >> have you watched the video surveillance from the night of the attack? >> i have. >> without going into great detail, would you agree with me -- do you at least see why somebody on the ground might have asked for that piece of
equipment given what you and i have seen in the surveillance video? thinking back to the video, can you see how that might possibly have come in handy that night? >> in my review of what happened and looking at that, i think the agents made the right decisions at that point not to engage. i think that they were equipped with fully automatic weapons, not quite the rate of fire power of a machine gun. i agree that, you know, machine guns can be very menacing and have a tremendous affect. >> they wanted them for the rooftop. i want you to go back if you would and watch the video and see whether or not you conclude the same way that i concluded or not -- i appreciate if you could go back and with specificity i want to know who reviewed that request, who denied that request and is there an appeals process
within the state department in light of these two previous arb recommendations that the secretary of state should take a personal and active review -- that the secretary of state should personally review the security situation, is there an appeals process where someone hypothetically could say, you know what, you are giving me a no but i'm going to take this up the food chain? does that exist? >> yes. >> all the way up to the highest levels of the state department? >> i will tell you that the one thing that the department has that very few other agencies has is the decent challenge. it's a channel that we prize. if you disagree with the decision or the policy that officers in the department of state at all ranks and locations have the ability to send something in at the highest level and say i disagree with something. and it goes to the highest level. >> in june and july of 2012, months before the attack on
benghazi, the ambassador himself requested a security team be extended to stay longer. >> the security team in tripoli. >> yes. but it doesn't take much to imagine him traveling from tripoli to benghazi with an increased security presence, does it? if there is more security in tripoli and he is traveling ii benghazi -- >> when he traveled, he took additional rsos with him. there were additional rsos that could have gone as well. >> for a grand total of how many? >> five at post. >> and how many were there before the footprint was reduced? >> three. >> no, no, no. how many were there before their deployment ended? >> i don't think there was ever more than five at that post, sir. >> in tripoli? >> i'm sorry, in benghazi. >> i'm talking about that the
ambassador would have had access to. because you and i agree the number that he had access to was reduced, despite the fact that he asked for me. >> the military team, the sst team deported -- additional agents were put into post. >> what i want you to find out for me is this. this say presidentially appointed ambassador who made a pretty plaintiff pleading. i will quote it to you. our efforts to normalize security operations have been hindered by a lock of security -- host nation security support, an increase in violence and neither compound meets osbp standards. do you know who said that? >> from your context, i would think it was the ambassador. >> it was the ambassador himself in what i would describe as a pretty plaintiff pleading for some help. this is the response he got. no, i do not -- not want them to
ask for the team to stay. do you know who said that to the ambassador, the presidentially appointed senate confirmed ambassador? >> i believe it was referring to the sst and that might have been ambassador kennedy. >> it could have been. but it was actually charlene lamb. she is not and has not been and is not likely to ever be the secretary of state for this country. so when i see her responding to a presidentially appointed senate confirmed ambassador who is making a pretty plaintiff pleading for some extra help and she says do not not make that request, i want to know whether the ambassador had the ability to go above her head and go straight to the top. and if not, why not? >> the ambassador certainly did have the ability to go over her
head. sir, i do think that the one point that must be discussed is that there was quite a bit of discussion about relieving the sst, the military team that was there and only provided static security at the compound with additional diplomatic security agents who could provide static security and mobile security. i think that was why the decision was made to release the sst. we were replacing it with personnel that actually had more capabilities. >> well, my time is up. but sometimes when everyone is to blame, no one is to blame. and part of the frustration that i believe was so eloquently remarked on was the designation of the facility itself and then you have our heretofore failure to understand what policy would have been so important -- you
testified that we have how many unpersoned posts right now? five? did i hear you correctly, five? you were going through a series of numbers. you said five of those you can discard because they are actually -- there's no one there? >> correct. >> so we do close facility sies? >> yes, sir. >> i'm assuming someone did the weighing and balancing on those five and decided through the miracles of technology or whatever, we don't have to have a physical presence there. you can understand why we would like to know what weighing and balancing went on with respect to libya. and i want to know who saw these requests for extra equipment and personnel, who denied them and whether or not you believe in -- you believe there is a culture in the state department where there would be any consequences for following the dissent channel? because some companies do say,
sure, i have an open door policy, but sometimes when you walk through that open door, your career takes a hit. with that, i want to thank the ranking member and all the other members, thank both of you. you and i can get together pry have a vatly. you discuss a reasonable timetable for getting answers to the questions. with that, the members would have five additional days to put whatever they want, any questions in the record. thank both of you for your time. in your case, twice, if you would convey to the women and men who work for the state department how grateful all of us, irrespective of politics are for their service. with that, we would be adjourned. [indiscernible]
then, your comments on washington journal. the u.s. senate has gaveled out and will return monday morning at 10 a.m. eastern. package willnding find it most of the government through next september. in exception is only funded until the end of february. among votes, surgeon general, head of the social security deputytration, and secretary of state. other agenda items are extending tax breaks and we federal terrorism insurance. watch live coverage of the two.e monday on c-span
>> this week on cue and i, political reporters share stories about being on the campaign trail with mitch mcconnell. >> there were failures of this campaign. in 2010 florida after he saw that happened with the brand. paul be the hand-picked guy in that. he realized that he had that in his home state. he started to make changes the mosthis would be difficult race and his campaign. new they had spent a lot of money on technology. they had watched the alabama campaign. -- obama campaign. they needed