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Could something like the Benghazi attack happen again?

The State Department convened a panel to review whether US diplomatic outposts around the world were secure enough.

A sign stand outside the U.S. State Department September 12, 2012 in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

After Benghazi, the State Department convened a panel to review whether US diplomatic outposts around the world were secure enough. The Accountability Review Board produced 29 recommendations, 24 of which are unclassified. Many of these recommendations, such as hiring 151 new diplomatic security officers, have been or shortly will be accomplished. Others, such as developing a streamlined organizational structure for crisis management, are works in progress.

The US also appears to be taking terrorism threats against embassies a lot more seriously. In August 2013, the State Department closed 26 embassies on the basis of an intercepted message from senior al Qaeda operatives.

However, it’s not clear that the to-date improvements are good enough to protect American diplomats working in dangerous locations. The State Department’s inspector general audited five high threat level posts in June of 2013 to see if they had sufficient precautions in place. The results weren’t great. The posts weren’t “always in compliance with current physical security standards,” and there were “common physical and procedural security deficiencies.” For obvious security reasons, the inspector general can’t be more specific about what the problems are, but it seems like there’s still a lot of work to be done.