Benghazi Bombshell: State Dept ignored security officer’s request for more protection
It’s not surprising that the State Department began frantically scrambling to cover itself in advance of the House Oversight hearings into the Benghazi debacle. Last night, the State Department finally came clean and admitted there was never even a momentary reason to think the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans came during a “spontaneous movie protest” gone out of control, as the Obama Administration maintained for weeks after the event.
This sudden burst of “transparency” is probably due to shudders of terror over the testimony House Oversight will receive. Reuters got a sneak preview of blockbuster testimony from an embassy security officer:
A U.S. security officer twice asked his State Department superiors for more security agents for the American mission in Benghazi months before an attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans, but he got no response.
The officer, Eric Nordstrom, who was based in Tripoli until about two months before the September attack, said a State Department official, Charlene Lamb, wanted to keep the number of U.S. security personnel in Benghazi “artificially low,” according to a memo summarizing his comments to a congressional committee that was obtained by Reuters.
Nordstrom also argued for more U.S. security in Libya by citing a chronology of over 200 security incidents there from militia gunfights to bomb attacks between June 2011 and July 2012. Forty-eight of the incidents were in Benghazi.
(Emphases mine.) Later, the Reuters report elaborates that Nordstrom testifies Lamb “believed the Benghazi post did not need any Diplomatic Security Special Agents because there was a residential safe haven to fall back to in an emergency, but that she thought the best course of action was to assign three agents.” The
The Benghazi consulate was characterized in a September 12 report by the UK Daily Mail as “an interim facility lacking bulletproof glass, reinforced doors, or other features common to embassies.” The fallback “residential safe haven” turned out to be profoundly unsafe, once turncoat Libyan security guards revealed its location to the terrorist assault force.