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Bipartisan Senate Panel: State Department Failed to Secure Benghazi Mission Despite Multiple Requests
Posted By Daniel Greenfield On January 15, 2014 @ 12:38 pm In The Point | 1 Comment
Not really news. We knew all this from multiple cables and testimony by Hicks and Nordstrom, but it’s now firmly on the record from a bipartisan senate panel and without any of the equivocation from Hillary’s house-cleaning team.
On July 9, 2012, Stevens sent a cable to State Department headquarters requesting a minimum of 13 “Temporary Duty” (TDY) U.S. security personnel for Libya, which he said could be made up of DS agents, DoD Site Security Team (SST) personnel, or_some combination ofthe two. These TDY security personnel were needed to meet the requested security posture in Tripoli and Benghazi. The State Department never fulfilled this request and, according to Eric Nordstrom, State Department headquarters never responded to the request with a cable.
Despite the clearly deteriorating security situation in Benghazi and requests for additional security resources, few significant improvements were made by the State Department to the security posture of the Temporary Mission Facility.
Although the Mission facility met the minimum personnel requirements ~or Diplomatic Security agents as accepted by the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli at the time of the August 15 EAC meeting (specifically, the three Diplomatic Security agents were assigned to guard the Mission compound), the Committee found no evidence that significant actions were taken by the State Department between August 15, 2012, and September 11, 2012, to increase security at the Mission facility in response to the concerns raised in that meeting…
In contrast, the CIA, in response to the same deteriorating security situation and IC threat reporting, consistently upgraded its security posture over the same time period.
Ambassador Stevens asked for a minimum of 13 personnel. He got 3 on site and 2 others who came with him.
There has been considerable public discussion about the DoD’s Site Security Team in Tripoli. The SST, which was provided by the DoD at no expense to the Department of State, consisted of 16 special operations personnel detailed to the Chief of Mission in Libya…
State Department headquarters made the decision not to request an extension of the SST’s mission in August 2012, approximately one month prior to the attacks, because State believed that many of the duties of the SST could be accomplished by local security forces, DS agents, or other State Department DoD personnel in Libya
According to the report, Stevens was to blame for some of this. It appears that he wanted some native security forces and he got them.
DoD confirmed to the Committee that Ambassador Stevens declined two specific offers from General Carter Ham, then the head of AFRICOM, to sustain the SST in the weeks before the terrorist attacks. After reading the August 16, 2012, EAC cable, General Ham called Ambassador Stevens and asked if the Embassy needed the SST from the U.S. military, but Stevens told Ham it did not.
Stevens is on the record as wanting security personnel, but didn’t want that form of security, probably for diplomatic reasons. It’s not terribly surprising that he was complicit in what happened.
There were “tripwires” designed to prompt a reduction in personnel or the suspension of operations at the Mission facility in Benghazi and although there is evidence that some of them had been crossed, operations continued with minimal change.
State Department documents indicate that its Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs was aware of the fact that many of the tripwires had indeed been crossed and discussed suspending operations, but never did. Given these developments and the available intelligence at the time, the Committee believes the State Department should have recognized the need to increase security to a level commensurate with the threat, or suspend operations in Benghazi. However, operations continued with minimal improvements in security and personnel protections
Which did not happen. And as I said in the interview, that is what this comes down to. Hillary’s State Department failed to secure a diplomatic facility that they knew was under threat and had been attacked in the past. They failed to meet its security needs as requested by its own ambassador.
As noted, one unarmed Predator was diverted to provide surveillance coverage of the Temporary Mission Facility as it was being attacked. This Predator was subsequently replaced by another unanned Predator to enable the first Predator to return to base for refueling.
It’s not stated, but the Predators were unarmed because Libya did not authorize the US to conduct armed flights. The question is why, considering the Al Qaeda presence in Eastern Libya and the difficulty supporting US personnel there, didn’t Obama Inc. at least insist on having authorization for self-defense.
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