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Senate: Benghazi attacks preventable

WASHINGTON — The Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the deadly assault on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, Wednesday, laying blame on the State Department, the intelligence community — even the late Ambassador Chris Stevens — for failing to communicate and heed warnings of terrorist activity in the area.

The highly critical report also states the U.S. military was not positioned to aid the Americans in need, though the head of Africa Command had offered military security teams that Stevens — who was killed in the attack — had rejected weeks before the attack.

It also said that in the aftermath of the attacks, U.S. analysts confused policymakers by blaming the violence on protests without enough supporting intelligence.

The 2012 Benghazi attacks have dogged the Obama administration, because then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice initially blamed the violence on mob protests over an anti-Islamic film. Al-Qaida-linked militant groups were later blamed for the attacks, first when militants overran the temporary U.S. mission on Sept. 11, 2012, and later that same night, when militants fired mortars at the nearby CIA annex where the Americans had taken shelter.

The bipartisan report may settle what has become a running political battle between Republicans, mostly in the House, who say the Obama administration has been covering up what they consider misdeed before, during and after the attack, and the administration, which says Republicans are on a political witch hunt.