Human Events Blog

Benghazi cable outlines deteriorating security situation leading up to Sept. 11

As the rest of the mainstream media furiously ignores the mushroom cloud of scandal hanging over the Administration’s handling of the Benghazi consulate attack, Fox News keeps digging.  On Wednesday, they dug up an August 16 cable from the U.S. mission in Benghazi, summarizing an “emergency meeting” that concluded, with tragic prescience, that the consulate could not defend itself against a “coordinated attack… and there were plenty of reasons to anticipate such an attack, since terror groups were running no less than ten training camps in the Benghazi area:

“RSO (Regional Security Officer) expressed concerns with the ability to defend Post in the event of a coordinated attack due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support, and the overall size of the compound,” the cable said.

According to a review of the cable addressed to the Office of the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Emergency Action Committee was also briefed “on the location of approximately ten Islamist militias and AQ training camps within Benghazi … these groups ran the spectrum from Islamist militias, such as the QRF Brigade and Ansar al-Sharia, to ‘Takfirist thugs.’” Each U.S. mission has a so-called Emergency Action Committee that is responsible for security measures and emergency planning.

The details in the cable seemed to foreshadow the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. compound, which was a coordinated, commando-style assault using direct and indirect fire. Al Qaeda in North Africa and Ansar al-Sharia, both mentioned in the cable, have since been implicated in the consulate attack.

“In light of the uncertain security environment,” the cable concludes, “US Mission Benghazi will submit specific requests to US Embassy Tripoli for additional physical security upgrades and staffing needs by separate cover.”  In light of subsequent events, they obviously didn’t get what they needed.

While the security officers did not report a specific threat against the consulate, their description of the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi (“trending negatively,” as the cable puts it) is downright hair-raising.  The terrorist militia groups were said to be completely unafraid of the Libyan government, which had no meaningful control over the area.  The Regional Security Officer “noted that the Benghazi militias have become more brazen in their actions and have little fear of reprisal.”

And yet, the Obama Administration trusted the local government and local security contractors with the consulate’s protection, refused all requests for enhanced security, and ordered American assets to “stand down” during the attack.  The President and Vice-President of the United States lied through their teeth (while flashing them in bizarre grins, in the Vice President’s case) and told the American people the intelligence community falsely led them to believe the incident at the consulate was a “spontaneous” protest against a YouTube video.

It is now clear that nothing could be further from the truth.  Obama’s “spontaneous video protest” lies were concocted precisely to suppress the story we’re now getting from Fox News – a story of staggering Administration negligence, from the President through his Secretary of State.  If this information had been made public in the first week after the attacks, we wouldn’t be talking about a tight election in which Barack Obama still has a chance of squeezing out a victory.

But instead, Obama and his team believe, not unreasonably, that they can simply run out the clock until the election, especially since Hurricane Sandy sucked a few days’ worth of sand from the hourglass.  And once the election is over, Benghazi will never really matter again, especially if Obama wins and Hillary Clinton decides to retire as Secretary of State.  The American people will never have another chance to decide if they want the “stand down” team running national security.

Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin just sent yet another letter to the President insisting that “the American people deserve to know all the facts surrounding the terrorist attack in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, that resulted in the murder of four Americans—including Ambassador Chris Stevens,” but unfortunately, “you and your senior administration officials have not been forthcoming in providing answers to the many questions that have emerged.”  They wrote to senior Administration intelligence officials three weeks ago, and were completely ignored.  Follow-up letters to other Administration officials were likewise consigned to the circular file.

Of course, Obama will ignore this letter too, and the media won’t make a big deal about it.  They’ll publish some more fawning stories about the President’s masterful handling of the Hurricane Sandy aftermath, complete with dramatically staged photos of Obama holding a phone and looking deeply concerned.  We have audio and video of every nanosecond of the President’s activity since the hurricane made landfall, but not a single photo of him “monitoring” the deaths of four Americans in Libya on September 11.  He claims he issued orders to protect Ambassador Chris Stevens, consulate employee Sean Smith, and the two amazing heroes who died defending them, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty… but we can’t see those orders, and the only thing we know for certain about the night of September 11 is that Obama turned in early, so he could jet off to Las Vegas for a fundraiser the following morning.

As for the information revealed in these freshly-exhumed classified cables, the only thing we know for certain about Obama’s conduct prior to September 11 is that he routinely skipped his national security briefings, so this was all probably news to him… but it’s news he would have gotten no later than the morning of September 12, and he shamelessly lied to the American people when he claimed otherwise.  Watergate?  Give me a break.  That was Sesame Street compared to this.

 

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