We recently located a GAO report (see State Department Has Not Fully Implemented Key Measures to Protect U.S. Officials from Terrorist Attacks Outside of Embassies GAO-05-642, May 2005) listing the previous Accountability Review Boards convened from 1986 when the ARB was first mandated under the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act of 1986. As of March 2005 when the GAO report was made, 11 Accountability Review Boards had been convened. Of that 11 ARBs, five investigations have focused on attacks of U.S. officials on their way to work. The remaining remaining six ARBs were on attacks against U.S. facilities.
1. Honduras. April 1988 attack on U.S. facilities in Honduras
2. Greece. June 1988 assassination of a post official in Greece
3. Philippines. April 1989 assassination of a post official in the Philippines
4. Bolivia. 1990 attack on a U.S. facility in Bolivia
5. Peru. 1992 attack on the Ambassador’s residence in Peru
6. Saudi Arabia. 1995 attack on a U.S. facility in Saudi Arabia
7. Pakistan. March 1995 assassination of two post officials in Pakistan (Karachi, ARB convened 4/1995)
8. Kenya and Tanzania. 1998 bombings of U.S embassies in Kenya and Tanzania
(unclassified report available online)
9. Jordan. October 2002 assassination of a post official in Jordan
(On 27 Jan 2003, an Accountability Review Board was convened for the Murder of Laurence Foley, USAID Official in Amman, Jordan)
10. Gaza. October 2003 assassination in Gaza of three post contractors from Israel.
(ARB completed in 2004)
We dug up some more from the Federal Register last year. Two other ARBs (noted below) were located by The Skeptical Bureaucrat. The State Dept said that there had been 18 ARBs convened since the statute was passed.
We only have 16 on this list. Do feel free to add in the comment section if you know about the other two ARBs unlisted here.
11. Iraq. On February 28, 2005 Convening an Accountability Review Board for the November 24, 2004 Murder of Mr. James C. Mollen, an Employee of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq (h/t The Skeptical Bureaucrat)
12. Saudi Arabia. On 11 Mar 2005, the Accountability Review Board for the December 6, 2004 Attack on the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
(Review of Department of State Implementation of Jeddah Accountability Review Board of Recommendation to Consider Remote Safe Areas at Missions Worldwide, OIG, March 2013)
13. Iraq. On May 10, 2005 Convening an Accountability Review Board for the January 29, 2005, Rocket Attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, Which Caused the Deaths of LCDR Keith Taylor, USN, and Ms. Barbara Heald. (h/t The Skeptical Bureaucrat)
14. Iraq. On 8 December 2005, the Accountability Review Board to Examine the Circumstances of the Death of DS Special Agent Stephen Sullivan and Seven Security Contractors in September 2005 in Iraq.
In October 2005 ARB Exemption for incidents in Afghanistan and Iraq: Pursuant to Public Law 109-140 and Public Law 111-117, the Secretary of State is not required to convene a Board in the case of an incident involving serious injury, loss of life, or significant destruction of property at or related to a U.S. Government mission in Afghanistan or Iraq and which occurs in the period beginning on October 1, 2005 and ending on September 30, 2010 ( see 12 FAM 033.1)
15. Pakistan. On May 2006 an Accountability Review Board To Examine the Circumstances of the Death of David E. Foy and Mr. Iftikhar Ahmed in March 2006, Karachi, Pakistan
16. Sudan. On 14 April 2008, Secretary Rice convened an ARB to Examine the Circumstances of the Death of John M. Granville and Abdelrahman Abees in Khartoum, Sudan in January 2008.
17. Pakistan. On 22 October 2010, Secretary Clinton convened the first ARB during her tenure relating to the Death of Three DoD Personnel Assigned to the U.S. Embassy’s Office of Defense Representative Pakistan (ODRP) on February 3, 2010
18. Libya. On October 4, 2012, Secretary Clinton convened the Accountability Review Board to Examine the Circumstances Surrounding the Deaths of personnel assigned in support of the U.S. Government mission to Libya in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012
(unclassified report available online)
As far as we are able to tell, the OIG had only twice previously reviewed the ARB recommendations and both were on ARB Jeddah. In February 2009, the OIG reviewed the State Dept’s progress towards the installation of mantraps at U.S. diplomatic posts worldwide. Not clear from the 2-page report if this was one of the recommendations by ARB Jeddah but the 2004 incident, according to the IG, prompted the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), in coordination with the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) to initiate a program to install pedestrian barriers, or “mantraps,” at all diplomatic posts worldwide.
On April 15, 2013, a 5-page IG report dated March 31, 2013 on the “Review of Department of State Implementation of Jeddah Accountability Review Board of Recommendation to Consider Remote Safe Areas at Missions Worldwide” was posted online.
We don’t know what type of classification these ARBs carry, but if the intent of having an accountability review is to learn the lessons from these attacks, it seems odd that the ARBs even from the 1980s are still under wraps. We understand that the non-public reports are not even available to DS agents and Regional Security officers. How can that be?
Thanks to TSB and A.Cog for helping us complete this list!
- State Dept’s Inspector General to Conduct a “Special Review” of the ARB Process, Not/Not the ARB Panel (diplopundit.net)
- Is the State Dept’s Bureaucratic Firewall Crumbling? Former DCM Says Accountability Review “let people off the hook” … (diplopundit.net)
- New US Consulate in Jeddah – Under Construction Since 2007? (diplopundit.net)
- 2005 Jeddah ARB Recommended “Remote Safe Areas” for Embassies – Upgrades Coming … Or Maybe Not (diplopundit.net)
- HFAC Chairman Ed Royce Introduces “Accountability Review Board Reform Act of 2013” (H.R. 1768) (diplopundit.net)
I can second Drew’s statement about the non-availability of most ARB reports. DS agents sometimes ask me for copies of the classified ones, but I have very little more than what’s publically available.
You buried the lead. How many of the ARBs are available for review? Per your links, two unclassifed reports (which seems right) are publicly available. This is the same number of ARBs as are available to DS agents in the field – you know, the guys in charge of security. Seems like ARBs would be something you’d want to share with the guys in the field, unless you’re trying to keep mistakes hidden.
Sorry Drew. That’s what happens when blogging at midnight. Surely, these reports are available to DS agents or are they all under lock and key? But … but …
Lock and key is probably an understatement.
The two missing ARBs might be from Baghdad:
(Notice Convening an Accountability Review Board for the November 24, 2004 Murder of Mr. James C. Mollen, an Employee of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq)
(Notice Convening an Accountability Review Board for the January 29, 2005, Rocket Attack on the U.S. Embassy in
Baghdad, Iraq, Which Caused the Deaths of LCDR Keith Taylor, USN, and Ms. Barbara Heald)
Two incidents coming so close together might have been the reason for the 2005-2010 moratorium on ARBs (?)
Thanks TSB for saving me the time to dig these up. It’s possible that’s the reason for the exception or it might just be that
theysince Iraq was a war zone … (and they added Afghanistan), those deaths are considered battlefield casualties like the military. Speculating loudly, of course, don’t know for sure.
Karachi – 3/1995 Two USG employees assinated ARB convened 4/1995.
Baghdad – 11/2004 Embassy employee murdered while on official business ARB convened 2/2005
AC – Thanks, much appreciated. I’ve seen somewhere that there were 19 ARBs. But on the podium the spokesperson said 18. #7 on the list is Karachi, although I could not find that online and the GAO did not specify that this was for the incident in Karachi. I added the date of when ARB convened. It looks like the Iraq ARB you noted is the same one as the ARB TSB noted on the death of James Mollen. Thanks for your help.