Benghazi Timeline: Charlene Lamb Resignation Leaves Unanswered Consulate Deaths [Op-Ed]
Commentary | The Benghazi scandal has everyone speculating who did what and where, and who is to blame. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Charlene Lamb was among the three State Department officials who recently turned in their resignation. If this is political theater it’s almost like those three are hoping to quietly avoid the limelight and quietly slip out the door. While Hillary Clinton has taken the spotlight by having a “diplomatic illness” that allows her to avoid giving Congressional testimony someone must wonder why those three chose to resign. But we do already know, and it’s only after all the facts have to come to light that we now know the terrible responsibility that follows Charlene Lamb.
Way back in October the official State Department line agreed upon with the White White was that the Benghazi attacks were not related to terrorism, the attacks could not have been predicted, an anti-Muslim YouTube video sparked a spontaneous demonstration, and that everything was somehow tied into recent protests in Cairo. We now know this all not true but that was the narrative being fed to the American public. The dam only broke when ex-CIA Director David Petraeus bluntly claimed our government knew from the beginning it was a terrorist attack.
But in October the House of Representatives formed an Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing to look into the Benghazi incident. Here are the facts as we know them:
1. The first fact is that Charlene Lamb, who as the State Department official stationed in Washington, was allegedly monitoring electronically from that post what was happening in real time in Benghazi, Libya. This means she would have been intimately aware of what was really going on.
2. Despite having first hand knowledge, Charlene Lamb would not answer the question of Representative Dan Burton (R-IN):
“You Miss Lamb…have described these attackers in a number of ways but you don’t mention terrorist at all. Why is that? I mean the compound had been attacked once before and breached. And these people had all these weapons; projectiles, grenades, all kinds of weapons. Why would you call this anything other than a terrorist attack? And why do you call them attackers?”
In reply, Charlene Lamb dodged the question:
“I have just presented the facts as they have come across. I am not making any judgement on my own and I am leaving that to others.”
3. Charlene Lamb was allegedly directly responsible for lowering security by first pushing for requests for help to not be made, claiming there were political reasons for this decision. Then, when continued levels of high protection were requested in spite of her demands, she ignored them anyway. Her lack of action may have contributed to the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) released unclassified cables from March and July that the State Department had refused to release. These cables detailed requests from the US Embassy in Libya for an extension of temporary security forces that were withdrawn in the months prior to the attack.
According to Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, the blame for denying these requests lies squarely with Charlene Lamb. The top regional security officer in Libya over the summer, Eric Nordstrom, said Charlene Lamb demanded over the phone that the requests for more security should not be made, but those stationed in Benghazi wisely did so anyway:
“All of us at post were in sync that we wanted these resources. In those conversations, I was specifically told [by Lamb] ‘You cannot request an [Site Security Team] SST extension.’ I determined I was told that because there would be too much political cost. We went ahead and requested it anyway. Once the first team of [temporary personnel] expired, there was a complete and total lack of planning for what was going to happen next. There was no plan, there was just hope that everything would get better.”
Obviously, things did not get better after the number of security personnel decreased and this allegedly politically motivated decision directly led to the deaths. When you combine the Mobile Security Detachments [MSD], consisting of 18 personnel, and the Site Security Team [SST], consisting of 16, the Benghazi Consulate had previously been guarded by 34 armed personnel. Charlene Lamb argues that reducing the number of security personnel from 34 to just three diplomatic security agents was justified:
“We had the correct number of assets in Benghazi on the night of 9/11.”
Worse, Charlene Lamb tried to lie to cover her backside, claiming that there was a mis-communication:
“Nordstrom said that Lamb never responded to the Tripoli embassy’s request for continued security resources in what he considered a rejection, even if Lamb never issued a written objection. Lamb said that the U.S. mission in Libya had not been specific enough in its requests for forces, but Nordstrom pointed to the cables as evidence that was simply not true.”
4. The rest of the officials in the State Department allegedly knew that terrorism was the cause from the beginning.
Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy said he disagreed with Charlene Lamb and was inclined to support an extension of the security forces in Libya. When asked about the incorrect statements by Ambassador Susan Rice about anti-Muslim videos and spontaneous protests Kennedy suggested that another government agency was to blame:
“There were reports that we received that there were protests, and I would not go any further than that. It was instantly recognizable as a terrorist attack. We almost expected the attack to come. It was a matter of time. [Al Qaeda's] presence grows there every day. They are certainly more established there than we are.”
5. Hillary Clinton was in regular contact with the State Department and thus was apprised of everything they knew. Which also means she knew it was a terrorist attack and that statements she later made to the public were a fabrication.
A CCN reporter had the chance to question Hillary Clinton about the contradictions in the evidence:
“I know Charlene Lamb, who as the State Department official, was mentioning that she back here in Washington was monitoring electronically from that post what was happening in real time. Could you [Hillary Clinton] tell us what you were doing? Were you watching? Were you talking with the President? Any details about that, please.”
In response, Hillary Clinton dodged the question with a 400-word answer:
“I think that it is very important to recognize that we have an investigation going on. [Blah, blah for 222 words]. So that’s what an investigative process is designed to do: to try to sort through all of the information, some of it contradictory and conflicting. [Blah, blah for 76 words]. So I’m going to be, as I have been from the very beginning, cooperating fully with the investigations that are ongoing, because nobody wants to know more about what happened and why than I do. And I think I’ll leave it at that.”
When the unlucky CNN reporter tried to re-ask the question Clinton would only say that she was “going to leave it at that.” Fortunately, a State Department spokesperson was asked why Clinton hadn’t answered and was nice enough to provide this response:
“As you know, she’s not that interested in focusing on herself. But obviously, she was here very late that night. She was getting regular updates from both the DS Command Center and the senior NEA leadership in the building, she was making phone calls to senior people, and so she was obviously very much involved. But I think she was not interested in sort of giving a personal tick-tock. It’s not the way she operates. [Emphasis added].”
6. Worse, Hillary Clinton had the capability to monitor events in real time on multiple open lines in her Washington command center. Part of her job was to inform White House officials, especially President Obama, of what was going on.
7. Many of the statements made by Ambassador Susan Rice attempted to politicize the Benghazi attacks to make them appear favorable to President Obama right before the Presidential elections. The Rice narrative included Al-Qaeda losing ground, which the State Department knew to be untrue, and that the Middle East’s public sentiment toward the United States was improving. The Benghazi attack was specifically stated by to not be connected to any U.S. foreign policy decisions by the Obama White House.
We know that prior to the Benghazi attacks Charlene Lamb was responsible for reducing security which indirectly led to the deaths of four Americans. Obviously it’s impossible to determine whether having 11 times the protection would have mattered, but it can be reasonably be speculated that this increase would have made a difference.
But this only covers events before the attacks, not during, or after. What we don’t know yet is who else in the Obama administration gave Charlene Lamb the idea that there was “too much political cost” for keeping the security forces at safer levels.
Hillary Clinton has already accepted responsibility for mistakes made during the attacks, but this still leaves the after. So let us consider the Benghazi timeline and the repercussions of these facts.
A. The CIA led by David Petreaus knew Benghazi was terrorism immediately.
B. The State Department knew this as well, although Charlene Lamb tried in vain to hide this fact.
C. The State Department communicated with Hillary Clinton, so she knew the facts.
D. Hillary Clinton, as well as other Federal agencies including the CIA, kept the White House informed.
E. The White House supposedly gave its information to Susan Rice.
F. Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, and White House spokesman Carney kept repeating known falsehoods for months.
Ever heard of the telephone game where messages get passed verbally and by the end they’re completely garbled? This situation reminds me of that game. If you go by the testimony of David Petreaus the garbling started at point D, although he admitted he didn’t know exactly who or where was the culprit. He just knew that he prepared CIA notes for the White House itself.
If the culprit behind the Benghazi scandal was some mystery person in a Federal agency the facts seem to suggest that either Hillary Clinton or the CIA would have corrected this huge “mistake” caused by an alleged mis-communication. It’s possible that Hillary Clinton was misinformed the whole time as well. But if Hillary Clinton did know the full story this leaves the only option as being that the false information was fabricated by someone in the White House. Then this mysterious someone also had the authority to make the decision that this story would be presented to the world as the truth.
After considering all these facts, who do you think is responsible for the Benghazi scandal? Do you think Charlene Lamb should be held accountable for her actions? Why do you think the government created this cover story in the first place?