Key recommendations of U.S. panel on Benghazi attack

Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:10am IST

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REUTERS - An independent U.S. inquiry into the September attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, released on Tuesday made recommendations on how to improve U.S. diplomatic security overseas.

Among the key recommendations are:

- The United States should strengthen security in high-risk diplomatic posts beyond that traditionally supplied by host governments, and continually reassess staffing to account for potential threats.

- The State Department should re-examine the organization and management of its Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and incorporate a new senior State Department official charged with overseeing security at "high threat" posts.

- The State Department should establish a panel of independent experts, including people with experience in military, security and humanitarian areas, to support the Bureau of Diplomatic Security on best practices and evaluate security at high-risk facilities.

- The State Department should have a minimum security level for temporary facilities in high-risk environments, and streamline procedures for rapid security upgrades at such facilities as required.

- All U.S. government facilities in the same city should be in the same secure location unless a waiver has been obtained.

- The Secretary of State should request an action plan from security officials on the use of fire as a weapon against diplomatic facilities, and it should also include reviews of fire safety and crisis management training for all employees.

- In general, the State Department should create training courses for its employees to better prepare them for leadership and decision-making in high-risk posts.

- The State Department should work with Congress to restore capital spending on diplomatic security to approximately $2.2 billion by 2015, including a program of up to 10 years to prioritize construction of new facilities in high-risk areas.

- The State Department should act on its proposal to increase both Marine security at diplomatic facilities and hire more diplomatic security personnel for high-risk posts.

- Key U.S. policy and security staff in high-risk posts should be assigned for a minimum of one year, and temporary staff for a period of not less than 120 days.

- The State Department should ensure there are adequate local staff including interpreters employed at high-risk posts, and improve language training among American employees, particularly in the Middle East.

- The State Department should change its regulations so that unsatisfactory performance by senior officials connected to future security incidents could be a basis for discipline.

(Reporting By Andrew Quinn, Anna Yukhananov, Tabassum Zakaria and Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Xavier Briand)

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