What an independent panel investigating the Sept. 11 attack that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Libya determined was plain to thoughtful observers weeks ago. But so was another far more important point.
"Systematic management failures" in the State Department left the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, vulnerable to an attack, the Accountability Review Board concluded last week. It added there was no doubt the deadly Sept. 11 attack was mounted by terrorists.
Board members made 29 recommendations to improve security at U.S. missions abroad. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she has accepted all of the suggestions.
It was obvious within days after the attack that failures within the State Department were largely to blame.
But those lapses stemmed from a belief among many in Washington that the al-Qaida terrorist network had been destroyed. There was no evidence of that, yet arrogance led many U.S. officials to believe it was true.
It is an error Americans have made several times in the past - one we as a nation need to learn can have fatal consequences.