GIGOT: Well, what is it.
STEPHENS: This is a whitewash report. This is --
GIGOT: This is a whitewash? You would go so far as to say this is a whitewash?
STEPHENS: Yes. This is a report -- First of all, aside from the first sentence, Hillary Clinton's name is never mentioned. This is a report that says, at the State Department, certain boxes weren't checked. There wasn't proper coordination between this bureau and that bureau. There should have been more proactive management. You've heard this report, reports just like these a million times. There are 25 recommendations. Hillary Clinton says they are all going to be implemented. You can rest assured that in 12 years from now, we'll be scratching our heads and wondering why it these recommendations didn't prevent the next attack.
RILEY: Paul, the panel, which was appointed by Secretary of State Clinton --
RILEY: -- did not interview her before reaching the conclusions. So we have a panel appointed by the secretary that conveniently clears her of any wrongdoing.
GIGOT: Well, it doesn't. It just doesn't mention her.
RILEY: Right. So basically --
GIGOT: No individual.
RILEY: No individual.
STEPHENS: It doesn't mention her, the second tier --
GIGOT: So these four individuals --
STEPHENS: These are assistant secretary of state level --
GIGOT: Or lower levels.
GIGOT: So they were basically forced -- I mean, are they just scapegoats?
STEPHENS: They fell on their swords and four, you know, who were responsible, supposedly responsible for embassy security. Fell on their swords.
But the report itself says no disciplinary -- there's no reason for recommendation for disciplinary action. That's the last line of this report.
So, what you have here is basically saying, look, you know, there were management failures, Paul, and they had tragic consequences. We know the State Department is a large bureaucracy with eyes on many, many countries. Terrible things happened. We hope they won't happen again.
You know what? We had the same thing in Nairobi and Dar as Salaam in 1998, another report with recommendations as to how to better secure these sorts of facilities. Didn't happen. 10 years from now, we'll be revisiting this same sort of story.
HENNINGER: Well, what they've done here is reduced this to a bureaucratic screw-up. And the issue that hasn't been addressed is what was U.S. policy in Libya, specifically eastern Libya. The CIA was in eastern Libya, and they were there, we know now, because Al Qaeda was using that part of the country to recruit people into the terrorist organization. Now, what was the U.S. State Department and the Obama administration's policy towards Libya?
Between the lines of this report suggests it was reflected in a kind of light footprint. They thought Libya was going all right. So I think there was a distinct break between the CIA and the State Department over that part of the country. That is what has to be figured out.
GIGOT: That light footprint was, in fact, explicit policy. Maybe not explicit, but we basically said, after Qaddafi fell, we washed our hands of Libya more or less. You had a few State Department and CIA people there. But we more or less said the Qataris and the UAE, United Arab Emirates, they would take care of arming things, and we let them arm the Islamists because that's who they support.
GIGOT: And now the Islamists are gaining in strength against an elected government.
STEPHENS: But this is reflective of a broader pattern of a sporadic attentiveness that this administration shows toward the foreign policy challenges that confront. It's broadly reactive, not proactive. And you know, basically, said, hey, Libya, we've been there, done that. Qaddafi is gone. On to what might be happening in Cairo.
GIGOT: So what are the implications for Secretary Clinton and her -- and I assume -- we all assume she'll run for president.
STEPHENS: Well, this -- if Secretary Clinton, I think, could not have hoped for a better report than the one that she got, because, let's face it, management failures, as we said, management screw-ups happen all the time. This was very regrettable. We've been there, done that. It's time, as the saying goes, to move on. She's going to like what she finds in this report because it has no specific accountability for her.
GIGOT: All right.
We have to take one more break. When we come back, our "Hits and Misses" of the week.
GIGOT: Time now for "Hits and Misses" of the week.
Dan, first to you.
HENNINGER: A hit to Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who announced this week that he probably will not challenge Chris Christie for the governorship next year. Instead, he's thinking of running for the Senate, challenging Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat who is 88 years old. If this works out that means New Jersey keeps Chris Christie as the governor, which I think is the best job for him. And we might get reform-minded Democrat in the Senate.
GIGOT: All right.
HENNINGER: Good deal.