Thursday, January 16, 2014

Senate Report Calls Benghazi Attack Avoidable


Top news: A bipartisan report released Wednesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee called the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya "likely preventable." The assault left four Americans, including Amb. J. Christopher Stevens, dead.
"The committee found the attacks were preventable, based on extensive intelligence reporting on the terrorist activity in Libya -- to include prior threats and attacks against Western targets -- and given the known security shortfalls at the U.S. Mission," the committee said in a statement.
In addition to excoriating the State Department and U.S. intelligence agencies for failing to boost security beforehand, the report criticizes Stevens for recommending that the U.S. mission hire local Libyan guards in Tripoli and Benghazi.
The report also found that the initial talking points prepared after the attack by the Central Intelligence Agency were "flawed," but "painted a mostly accurate picture."
Lebanon: The trial of four men accused of assassinating former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri began in The Hague today, despite the fact that none of the defendants has been apprehended. It is the first time since the Nuremberg trials that an international tribunal has tried defendants in absentia. Meanwhile, a car bomb exploded in the northeastern Lebanese city of Hermel, injuring dozens and killing at least five people.

Middle East
  • Israel's military on Thursday carried out a series of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip after its Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted five rockets over the city of Ashkelon.
  • International donors on Wednesday pledged $2.4 billion toward U.N. relief efforts in Syria.
  • Egyptian voters overwhelmingly approved the country's rewritten constitution, an Interior Ministry official claimed on Wednesday.
  • Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday sacked his entire military leadership without explanation, naming new chiefs of defense, army, navy and air force.
  • The International Criminal Court on Wednesday ruled that Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto could be excused from attending parts of his trial on charges of crimes against humanity.
  • U.N. peacekeepers in South Sudan fired warning shots to protect civilians taking refuge at a base in the Upper Nile State, the United Nations said Wednesday.
  • Current Venezuelan Banking Minister Rodolfo Torres will replace Nelson Merentes as finance minister, as the latter departs to head Venezuela's central bank.
  • Brazilian authorities are investigating the possibility that a killing spree in Campinas that left 12 people dead this week could have been the work of police.
  • A Catholic bishop has called on Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to quell ongoing violence by vigilantes in the western state of Michoacan.
  • Vatican officials on Thursday appeared before a U.N. panel for the first time to face questions about the sexual abuse of children by clergy.
  • A shootout between Russian security forces and militants in the Dagestan region of the North Caucasus on Wednesday left seven people dead.
  • The EU's antitrust watchdog on Wednesday threatened to initiate a formal complaint against Google if the Internet giant does not put forward better settlement proposals.
  • A coalition airstrike in Parwan province killed at least 2 Afghan civilians on Wednesday, further straining U.S-Afghan relations and prompting Hamid Karzai to order an official inquiry.
  • Chinese authorities on Thursday detained Ilham Tohti, China's most prominent Uighur academic and dissident, on charges of "breaking the law."
  • The American Embassy School in New Delhi has become ensnared in a diplomatic row between the U.S. and India, after it was revealed that many of its teachers may be violating Indian tax code.

-By Ty McCormick

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