“Although the [US State] Department has made significant improvements on overseas security, challenges remain,” Linick said. “Through our inspection and audit work, OIG [Office of the Inspector General] continues to find security deficiencies that put our people at risk.”
Since OIG intensified inspection efforts after the September 2012 attack on the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, Linick explained, it found that problems persist, including having substandard facilities and inadequately vetting security contractors.
“Our audit of the Local Guard Program found that firms providing security services for embassy compounds were not fully performing all vetting requirements contained in the contract, placing our posts and personnel at risk,” Linick added.
Moreover, State Department leaders have failed to effectively implement recommendations to improve security that were outlined by a US government accountability review board in the wake of Benghazi.
“We found that follow-through on long-term security program improvements involving physical security, training, and intelligence-sharing lacked sustained oversight by the Department’s most senior leaders,” Linick noted.
On September 11, 2012, Islamist militants attacked the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, killing four, including US Ambassador Chris Stevens.
US Republican lawmakers claim that the State Department and President Barack Obama did not send military back-up to Benghazi to avoid admitting that the attack was mounted by al-Qaida-backed terrorists.
Then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took responsibility for mistakes made in the aftermath of the attacks, but rejected accusations that the Obama administration had tried to mislead Americans.