The United States House Of Representatives Oversight Committee sent a strongly worded letter to the State Department claiming the Obama Administration refused repeated requests for increased security at the American Embassy in Benghazi, Libya prior to the attack on the facility.
Following yesterday’s congressional hearings, the letter was delivered to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. Included in the document was the following paragraph:
“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. 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.”
Several other issues were raised in the letter:
“Just weeks before the attacks, the unarmed Libyan guards at the consulate, employed by British contractor Blue Mountain Group, were warned by family members to quit their jobs because there were rumors of an impending attack.”
“In April, a gun battle erupted about two miles from the consulate between an unidentified armed group and forces loyal to the transitional government.”
“In June, a posting on a Facebook page mentioned Stevens’ early morning runs around Tripoli along with members of his security detail. The page contained a threat against Stevens and a stock photo of him. Stevens stopped the runs for about a week, but then resumed.”
Rep. Chaffetz was quite outspoken in his concern for the safety of American diplomats, saying if Benghazi was an example of how we protect our embassies, “that’s frightening.” He said Benghazi is “one of the most awful and volatile areas on the planet. A reduction in the security profile doesn’t seem consistent with the threat that was on the ground. That’s why we have whistleblowers anxious to speak with us.”
The attack on the Libyan Embassy took place on September 11, 2012, the 11th anniversary of the destruction of the World Trade Center. Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty were killed when organized groups of heavily armed terrorists besieged the complex.
The attackers engaged in a prolonged assault that included the use of rocket propelled grenades and high explosives. The embassy was looted; important classified documents vanished, endangering the lives of Libyans working with the United States government; and the buildings were left burnt out shells.
Several days after the attack on the embassy, a journal belonging to Ambassador Stevens was discovered in the rubble of the Benghazi embassy complex. The volume contained only six or seven pages but the contents raised serious concerns that are at the heart of the Congressional investigation. In the charred pages of his journal, Ambassador Stevens documented his belief that he was on an Al-Qaeda hit list. Instead of explaining why the Ambassador’s concerns were not acted upon, Hillary Clinton chose to attack CNN for mentioning the contents of the diary.
The Obama Administration has come under severe criticism for initially blaming the Libyan Embassy attack on a YouTube video that incited Muslims throughout the Middle East. The President, Secretary Clinton, and UN Ambassador Susan Rice continued to blame the murder of Ambassador Stevens on the video for several days, despite the increasing evidence that it was a planned attack organized by terrorists sympathetic to Al-Qaeda.
Despite the Administration’s feeble attempts to deflect the blame, the President’s opponents have made effective use of the issue. Former Vice President Dick Cheney had harsh words for Obama when he accused the President of a cover-up on Sean Hannity’s radio show last night:
“It looks to me like [the Libya investigation] is going to get messier and messier, and in fact, it looks like the administration’s been involved in a cover-up claiming that it was all caused by this YouTube video. When in fact, it was clearly the result of the developments with respect to al Qaeda and terrorism in North Africa … They refuse to recognize the situation we are in, and that’s the first step towards ultimate failure and ultimately, future terrorist attacks.”
While accusations of improper conduct on the part of the Obama Administration continue, the White House refused comment on the allegations. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney used the investigations into to the attack on the embassy as an excuse for his refusal, saying, “I’m not going to get into a situation under review by the State Department and the FBI.”
The FBI has not even been allowed to go to Benghazi to begin the investigation because the Obama Administration is concerned about the safety of the FBI agents. It is being claimed the same concern did not exist for the safety of the Libyan Embassy or its murdered diplomats. Serious allegations were raised yesterday in Congress, and the American people deserve honest answers.