One of the huge questions, among so many huge questions, has been why Benghazi did not have sufficient security after specifically requesting more at least several times. Now we know the answer. Secretary of Hillary Clinton not only saw the request from Benghazi, she signed the request and then denied it. My second question is who, if anyone, told former SEALs Woods and Dohoerty to “stand down.” If it’s there, I missed it. I outlined some things from the report that I found especially interesting. Read the report in full here.
PAGE 7: However, in a cable signed by Secretary Clinton in April 2012, the State Department settled on a plan to scale back security assets for the U.S. Mission in Libya, including Benghazi
An ongoing Congressional investigation across five House Committees concerning the events surrounding the September 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya has made several determinations to date, including:
● Reductions of security levels prior to the attacks in Benghazi were approved at the highest levels of the State Department, up to and including highest levels of the State Department, up to and including Secretary Clinton. This fact contradicts her testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on January 23, 2013.
● In the days following the attacks, White House and senior State Department
officials altered accurate talking points drafted by the Intelligence Community in
orderto protect the State Department.
● Contrary to Administration rhetoric, the talking points were not edited to protect classified information. Concern for classified information is never mentioned in email traffic among senior Administration officials.
These preliminary findings illustrate the need for continued examination and oversight by the five House Committees. The Committees will continue to review who exactly was responsible for the failure to respond to the repeated requests for more security and for the effort to cover up the nature of the attacks, so that appropriate officials will be held accountable.
The Deteriorating Security environment in Benghazi
The decisions by the British Embassy, United Nations, and the International Committee of the Red Cross to withdraw their personnel from Benghazi after armed assailants launched directed attacks against each organization were additional major indicators of the increasingly threatening environment. These developments caused Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood, who led the U.S. military’s efforts to supplement diplomatic security in Libya, to recommend that the State Department consider pulling out of Benghazi altogether. Lieutenant Colonel Wood explained that after the withdrawal of these other organizations, “it was apparent to me that we were the last [Western] flag flying in Benghazi. We were the last thing on their target list to remove from Benghazi.”
Wood and Eric Nordstrom, the Regional Security Officer, “implored” the State Department to keep Wood and the SST force in Libya beyond the scheduled August departure. Wood says he and Nordstrom DID NOT request ADDITIONAL security, but rather to keep the existing force in place.
Wood says his Team was only a small part of what the numbers planned to be withdrawn. The State Department’s Mobil Security Detachment (MSD), consisting of Ex-Green Berets, Ex-Navy SEALs were there when Wood arrived in Libya – three MSD teams already on the ground.
August 5, 2012: The State Department makes the decision to withdraw Wood’s SST. The MSD is being reduced. According to Wood, the State Department’s Charlene Lamb denied or ignored his requests to keep his SST in Libya. The withdrawal didn’t have anything to do with funding, according to Wood because his mission was funded by the Department of Defense. That claim was confirmed by Charlene Wood in a House Committee hearing.
August 14, 2012: Wood and his team leave Libya. Wood said at that time he expressed specific concerns for Benghazi.
September 10, 2012: Ambassador Chris Stevens arrived in Benghazi for a full day of meetings beginning on the morning of September 11, 2012. This was Stevens’ first time in Benghazi since Wood’s SST left Libya.
Security Arrangements for the Benghazi Mission
Despite mounting security concerns, for most of 2012 the Benghazi Mission was forced to rely on fewer than the approved number of DS agents. Specifically, while the State Department memorandum signed by Under Secretary Kennedy stated that five agents would be provided, this was the case for only 23 days in 2012. Reports indicate the Benghazi Mission was typically staffed with only three DS Agents, and sometimes as few as one DS agent.
Internal State Department Communications on Security
State Department officials in Washington acknowledged that the Benghazi Mission lacked sufficient resources to protect its personnel in a deteriorating security environment. However, in a cable signed by Secretary Clinton in April 2012, the State Department settled on a plan to scale back security assets for the U.S. Mission in Libya, including Benghazi
Despite the denial of Ambassador Stevens’ request, Embassy Tripoli officials persisted in their requests for additional security
● June 7, 2012: Ambassador Stevens asks the State Department to keep the
two MSD teams the Clinton April cable ordered removed from Libya.
This request is denied.
● July 6, 2012: Deputy Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Lamb
strongly asserts that Embassy Tripoli should not make a formal request for
an extension of the SST and MSD teams.
On July 9, 2012, Ambassador Stevens responded with a cable that stressed that the security conditions in Libya had not met the requisite benchmarks established by the State
Department and the U.S. Mission in Libya to warrant initiating a security drawdown.20 He requested that a sufficient number of security personnel, whether DS agents, or SST or MSD team members, be permitted to stay.21 Under Secretary Kennedy rejected the request for the SST extension, and both the SST and MSD teams were subsequently withdrawn.22 Although the State Department made some modest physical security upgrades to the Benghazi Mission, the systematic withdrawal of existing security personnel resulted in a security posture for the Benghazi Mission that the State Department’s Accountability Review Board later determined was “inadequate for Benghazi.”
Gives Hillary’s testimony before Congress denying all knowledge of the security requests she not only signed but denied.
Moreover, a lack of funding would not have been at issue with respect to the rejection of the request to extend the deployment of the SST, as that team was provided via the Defense Department at no expense to the State Department. The Administration owes the American people an explanation regarding these unanswered questions, which must be explored in greater depth in the weeks and months ahead.
PAGES 11 – 12 details the actual attacks.
PAGES 13 – 15 Gives the timeline for Ambassador Stephens and the Defense Department and analyzes the Defense Department’s response.
Combined with the failure of the President to anticipate the significance of the day and to proactively authorize the Defense Department with an alert posture to launch offensive operations beyond self-defense, forces were provided no notice to defend diplomatic facilities.
The disposition of military forces is a reflection of policy, strategy, and resources. Because of a number of factors – including the lack of a coherent Administration policy toward North Africa;
PAGE 18 begins the discussion of the administration cover-up of talking points (blaming the anti-Islam filmmaker, who is still in jail in the U.S. today, I believe.
IV. The Administration’s investigations and reviews of the Benghazi attacks highlight its failed security policies leading to the attacks while undermining the ability of the United States government to bring the perpetrators to justice.
A Compromised FBI Criminal Investigation
The Administration responded to the Benghazi attacks with an FBI investigation, as opposed to a more thorough military or intelligence response. Regrettably, the FBI simply did not have the ability to access the location of the attacks with sufficient speed to ensure that all evidence was accumulated as quickly as possible. Due to security concerns and bureaucratic entanglements among the Departments of Justice, State, and Defense, 68 the FBI team investigating the terrorist attacks did not access the crime scene until more than three weeks later, on October 4, 2012. During this time, the site was not secured, and curious locals and international media were able to pick through the burned-out remains of the U.S. facility. The FBI spent less than one day collecting evidence at the Benghazi Mission. FBI officials indicated that the security situation delayed and deterred a more thorough investigation of the site.
An Inadequate State Department Accountability Review Board Process
The State Department’s Accountability Review Board (ARB) highlights the “systemic failures” of Washington, D.C.-based decision-makers that left the Benghazi Mission with significant security shortfalls. Yet, the Board also failed to conduct an appropriately thorough and independent review of which officials bear responsibility for those decisions.
For information on the laughably “independent revi” mentioned above, read the connection between Thomas Pickering who headed the Board and Bill and Hillary Clinton at Background on Hillary Clinton’s Handpicked Accountability Review Board – The Unanswered Questions.
See below that the ARB didn’t bother to interview Hillary or any of her subordinates.
While Secretary Hillary Clinton claimed she accepted “responsibility” for Benghazi, the Committees remain concerned that the ARB neglected to directly examine the role that she and her Deputy Secretaries played in overseeing the gross mismanagement or the “systemic failures” within the Department. The Committees note the Board has failed to provide a satisfactory explanation as to why it did not interview Secretary Clinton or her Deputies.
The Committees have determined that this Accountability Review Board was staffed by current and former State Department employees…
The full report is here, complete with footnoted sources. Hillary Clinton’s testimony was a sham, a lie and disgraceful and she got away with it, and will unless Democrats belly up to the bar of truth. Did she learn from her husband, or teach him?
Think about this, so many in the State Department knew what she had done and was doing in this testimony. Surely it hit them in the gut that they were complicit by keeping quiet.
Now another question, what do we do about the lies, and if someone told Woods and Doherty at the Annex to “stand-down,” who is that person? Read insight at Hot Air