Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Security Failures of Benghazi

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee leaders today sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking why requests for more protection were denied to the U.S. mission in Libya by Washington officials prior to the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack that killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. The denials came after repeated attacks and security threats to U.S. personnel.

“Based on information provided to the Committee by individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya, the attack that claimed the ambassador’s life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to September 11, 2012. It was clearly never, as Administration officials once insisted, the result of a popular protest,” the committee’s chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and subcommittee chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, write. “In addition, multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed to the Committee that, prior to the September 11 attack, the U.S. mission in Libya made repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi. The mission in Libya, however, was denied these resources by officials in Washington.”

Oversight Presses for Answers: Diplomats in Libya Requested Additional Security, Washington Officials Denied the Resources -
Obama rep: All of these Republicans politicizing the Benghazi attack are just so outrageous - HotAir
Please spare us all the sanctimoniousness about getting “political,” because whether or not the president of the United States and his administration are equipped with the capabilities to deal with serious threats to our national security sure seems like kind of a big deal that voters deserve to know about.

And let’s not pretend nobody in the Obama administration got political with this by trying to portray a dishonest narrative downplaying the true motives behind the attack. Blaming the entire thing on some stupid video was an embarrassing ploy designed to depict to voters that Barack Obama’s policies in the Middle East have been more successful mitigating terrorist influences than they actually have, and the administration’s inability to keep its story even remotely straight suggests that there was perhaps a little more on their minds than only U.S. security interests. Sure, everybody wants to get to the bottom of this — but the Obama administration also has a very vested interest in misdirecting voters’ attention away from their foreign-policy failures, more so now than ever.
Botched in Benghazi - New evidence on the Libya debacle and false White House spin. - Wall St. Journal
The most immediate question concerns the Administration's response, and this is where electoral politics deserves to come in. Ms. Rice has defended her false and misleading statements by saying she was reading off a script prepared by U.S. intelligence—apparently a script not shared with the State Department she formally reports to.

It'd be instructive to know who provided her this script, and whether or not she spoke to White House political aide David Plouffe or the Chicago campaign office as she prepared for her Sunday TV show appearances on September 16.

Ms. Rice's Sunday story happened to fit the narrative offered by White House spokesman Jay Carney two days earlier that a rogue video had caused the anti-American demonstrations, which also fit the Obama campaign narrative that the President has made the U.S. more popular and that terrorism is on the wane in the world. A terror attack that killed Americans in Benghazi blows up that happy tale.

In a campaign speech Monday night, President Obama kept at it, saying that "al Qaeda is on its heels and Osama bin Laden is no more." The second half of the sentence is true. But the more we learn about what happened in Benghazi, the more the first sounds like fantasy, and the less Americans can trust this White House to tell them the truth.
Oversight and Reform is livestreaming the hearing, ◼ here.