Benghazi was a national tragedy. The bigger tragedy is the inability, and extreme unlikelihood, of anyone to, ever, be held accountable. It just cannot, and will not, happen under our present system. It certainly will not happen with the current administration running things!
The State Department is directly, by law, responsible for security at our U.S. Embassies and Missions abroad. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security has the responsibility to implement and manage the security. Yet, no one at State, despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth by Congress and some in the media, has ever been punished for allowing those people to die. Sadly, no one person ever will be brought to justice. The best we can hope for are strongly worded letters sent to those responsible: Letters like the U.N. likes to pen, telling the Mugabes and Ayatollahs of the world that they better not do that again, or else. There is never an “or else” either.
The responsible State Department officials testified before Congress for the first time after the Benghazi attack and murders in October of 2012. Do you know what happened to the officials that signed off on the Benghazi fund cuts and withdrawal of the additional security personnel? The Ambassador, over two years later, is still Undersecretary for Management. The Senior Diplomatic Security Manager was reassigned a few months after the hearing, and two years later retired, with a full six- figure pension.
We all know what did, or rather did not, happen to the Secretary of State at the time. Her atrocious comments about Benghazi, “What does it matter…” and, of course, the email fiasco, ala IRS, demonstrates how blatantly irresponsible you can be in the government, even at the very top, without fear of accountability.
Benghazi is not the first time Government incompetence has cost people their lives without culpability assigned to anyone. The attack on the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon in 1985 is another example. The senior manager at the time refused all security recommendations. He got his way; they blew up the Embassy, people died, and he went on to be Ambassador at two more posts.
There are lots of other examples, too.
The key to understanding why this happens is to understand the system. There is no one person or office responsible for anything. Like the Borg, there is no individual, only the collective.
The way Agencies and Bureaus are funded is part of the problem. Adhering to government funding rules and regulations requires leaving common sense at the door. The infamous fiscal year funding is a perfect example. Congress allocates a certain amount of funding, and if you don’t spend it by the end of the fiscal year each year (Oct. 1), you must return the money to the treasury. This causes all sorts of crazy spending every August and September. Rather than allowing you to accumulate the funds and maybe, for example, buy a needed armored car for employees, you have to spend it or lose it.
It is not easy to simply buy an armored car, either. You must “buy American.” A great idea, but try doing that in Libya where there may be perfectly good UK manufactured armored cars available immediately. You can’t buy one though. You have to wait sometimes a year or more before the U.S. car arrives. In the meantime, your people are vulnerable.
Speaking of procurement, then there is the “lowest price wins” rule. You must award your contract in many cases to the lowest bidder as long as they are “technically proficient.” You might, as has happened to me, have a first class international organization bidding on your guard contract, but a second-rate company gets the contract. The winner knew how to write a technically proficient response to the bid request, and bid $100 less than the highly qualified company, so you are forced to give the contract to the weaker company.
I could go on and on. I truly believe the only hope is to scrap the entire Government system and start over. Create a system from scratch that uses common sense budgeting, ensures individuals are held accountable, and scrap the AFL/CIO personnel rules that will seldom allow anyone to be fired.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
As Vice President of a Security Fusion Center, Bill has provided risk management advice and direction to major Fortune 100 defense industry, ultra high net worth and other clients.
As Global Director for Security, Alem International, Bill planned and directed all facets of the security and risk mitigation strategies for the 2004 Olympic Torch Relay that took place in over 34 countries.
Bill was commissioned as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Officer in the US Army immediately after college.
Mr. Gaskill has a Bachelor of Science degree in Ancient History with a math minor from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.He has a current Top Secret/SCI clearance.He has professional fluency ratings in Spanish, Greek, Hebrew and French, and has a working knowledge of Russian.