Conflict & Justice

Benghazi hearings: John Kerry blames State Dept., and Congress


Sen. James Risch (R-ID), Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) listen to testimony during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the September 11th attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, on Capitol Hill, December 20, 2012 in Washington, DC.


Drew Angerer

US Sen. John Kerry, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Thursday that the State Department had "clear warning signs" ahead of the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which cost four American lives in September.

Kerry, in the running to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, said "clearly mistakes were made" at the State Department. His remarks followed the release of a report on the attacks conducted by an independent body, according to the Associated Press.

Kerry also said lawmakers were to blame for not providing the State Department with enough money for security at its diplomatic posts. Next year, the department is seeking $1.4 billion to increase security.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January, said Kerry, according to Politico. She was unable to attend Thursday's hearings due to illness. "All of you who know [Clinton] would know she would rather be here today," he said.

"I assure you, it is not her choice" not to attend, said Kerry. "She looks forward to appearing before the committee in January."

The Wall Street Journal noted that the House Foreign Affairs Committee would hold its own hearing later in the day, focusing on the report by the Accountability Review Board.

More on GlobalPost: The Benghazi report: What you need to know

Four State Department officials were disciplined as a result of the report, which was released on Tuesday. One resigned, while three others were placed on administrative leave and relieved of their duties, according to State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

CNN reported that Eric Boswell, assistant secretary of diplomatic security, resigned, while Deputy Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Charlene Lamb was one of the officials placed on administrative leave.

CNN noted that documents showed Lamb had denied repeated requests for additional security in Libya.

More on GlobalPost: Three State Department staff resign after scathing report blasts State over Benghazi consulate attacks (VIDEO)