DC Trawler

State Department rejected request for increased security measures in Benghazi

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Bit by bit, detail by detail, the coverup of the Benghazi debacle is unravelling.

ABC News:

ABC News has obtained an internal State Department email from May 3, 2012, indicating that the State Department denied a request from the security team at the Embassy of Libya to retain a DC-3 airplane in the country to better conduct their duties.

Copied on the email was U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in a terrorist attack on the diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, Sept. 11, 2012, along with three other Americans. That attack has prompted questions about whether the diplomatic personnel in that country were provided with adequate security support.

I’ll go out on a limb and speculate that they weren’t. Despite the threats and bombings in the months before the attack.

But there’s good news and better news. Good news: After more than three weeks, the FBI was finally allowed into Benghazi to investigate. Better news: They were so efficient that it only took 12 hours.

Associated Press:

A team of FBI agents arrived in Benghazi, Libya, to investigate the assault against the U.S. Consulate and left after about 12 hours on the ground as the hunt for those possibly connected to the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans narrowed to one or two people in an extremist group, U.S. officials said Thursday…

The agents and several dozen U.S. special operations forces were there for about 12 hours, said a senior Defense Department official who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing investigation. The FBI agents went to “all the relevant locations” in the city, FBI spokeswoman Kathy Wright said. The FBI would not say what, if anything, they found.

Probably a whole lot. After all, it’s only been three weeks.

And there’s even better news: the State Department is investigating itself and will soon tell us why it did nothing wrong.

The State Department has assigned an independent panel to look into the security procedures before, during and after the attack. That five member accountability review board met for the first time Thursday and compiled documents to go through, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. The board must submit its findings and any recommendations it may have to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton within 60 days, unless it is determined that more time is required.

Wouldn’t want to rush it. Not before November 6, at least.

I know a little something about internal State Department reviews. Let me guess: “At all times, Diplomatic Security acted responsibly and appropriately and displayed due diligence.” Something along those lines, right?

Oh, and:

U.S. officials also suggested that there may have been some disagreement between the State Department and the FBI over whether or not the FBI team would use Libyan security or seek approval for the U.S. military to handle the mission.

They’re like the Keystone Cops, except not funny.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney has made his thoughts known on the matter, even though everybody knows that you’re not supposed to criticize the president’s foreign policy unless he’s a Republican. Here’s Romney talking to Sean Hannity about it last night:

“I believe, obviously, that what happened there was a tragic failure. There had been warnings of a possible attack. There were requests on the part of our diplomats there to have additional security forces. They were turned down. And then, following the tragedy, we saw, well, misleading information coming from the administration. And in fact, the president didn’t acknowledge that this was a terrorist act for, what, a week or two? This was a terrorist attack. Lives were lost. This happened on 9/11. We expect candor and transparency from the president, from the administration, and we didn’t get it.”

I differ with Gov. Romney on just one point: This was not a tragedy. It was, and continues to be, an atrocity. The State Department and the Obama administration were negligently incompetent, and now they’re trying to cover it up with a cloud of lies.

Maybe you don’t care. Fine, then. Don’t care. If you’re less concerned with protecting a U.S. ambassador than with protecting Big Bird, you might be a liberal.

(Hat tip: Hot Air)

Update: Nick Gillespie: “The next two presidential debates are supposed to include foreign policy, right?”

Update: Obama, Wednesday night: “The first role of the federal government is to keep the American people safe. That’s its most basic function. And as commander-in-chief, that is something that I’ve worked on and thought about every single day that I’ve been in the Oval Office.” Ambassador Chris Stevens could not be reached for comment.

Tags : treacher
Jim Treacher