Legislation Implements Security Recommendations of Benghazi Review Panel
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY-16), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, together with all 20 of his Democratic colleagues on the Committee, today introduced the Embassy Security and Enhancement Act of 2013, a bill to strengthen security for our diplomats serving abroad.
The legislation builds upon the work of the Accountability Review Board, led by Ambassador Pickering and Admiral Mullen, which investigated the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi that led to the tragic death of four brave Americans. The Board, convened by Secretary Clinton, made a number of important recommendations to improve the State Department’s security decision-making and the way in which it prepares diplomats to serve in dangerous locations.
“The Pickering-Mullen board found some serious failings at the State Department in the lead up to Benghazi and suggested ways to fix them,” said Rep. Engel. “We have a moral responsibility to put politics aside and take all necessary steps to ensure that our brave diplomats and development workers have the protection they deserve.”
The legislation would require the State Department to sharpen its focus on the diplomatic posts that face the highest threats in order to ensure that they receive the necessary funding for security. It also requires the Departments of State and Defense to work together to develop contingency plans to better respond to emergencies, including the deployment of military assets. In addition, the bill would accelerate construction of new, more secure embassies and consulates. Finally, it provides improved benefits to the family members of U.S. employees who die abroad, including as a result of a terrorist attack.