Friday, September 14, 2012

How Much Did US Error Contribute To The Embassy Attacks?

The Secretary of State, and by extension, the Chief of Mission (COM), are responsible for developing and implementing security policies and programs that provide for the protection of all U.S. Government personnel (including accompanying dependents) on official duty abroad.
Securing Our Embassies Overseas, State Department Website

As much as attention has been focused on Obama's reactions to the burning of the US embassies in Cairo and Benghazi and the murder of the US ambassador and other personnel -- more focus might be turned on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The issue is how much advanced warning was there about the protests/attacks and whether there was adequate protection at the embassies in general.

The Independent has an article with the byline: America 'was warned of embassy attack but did nothing'
According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and "lockdown", under which movement is severely restricted.
In general, there have been attempted attacks that made clear the danger in the area. The Telegraph reported Wednesday on attacks on both British and US personnel earlier this year in Libya:
On June 11, a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at Sir Dominic Asquith, the British ambassador, as he drove through the city. He was unscathed, but two of his bodyguards were injured. Britain responded by closing its diplomatic office in Benghazi and withdrawing all UK staff. Five days earlier, unknown assailants had thrown an improvised explosive device at the gates of the US consulate in the middle of the night, causing no injuries.
Breitbart reports that what security preparations that were taken in Libya were inadequate:
It gets worse. According to security sources, the State Department had greenlit a “health check” at the consulate [in] preparation for 9/11. Nonetheless, the attackers broke the perimeter within 15 minutes of the Libyan mob forming. Local guards did nothing. One witness reported, “The security people just all ran away and the people in charge were the young men with guns and bombs.” According to sources, the Ambassador died from smoke inhalation after he was trapped in a building set on fire and besieged by rioters.

The Libyan government, for all its supposed regret, seems less than troubled by the whole incident. Wissam Buhmeid, who commands the Tripoli government-sanctioned Shield Brigade, which operates as police in Benghazi, stated, “There were definitely people from the security forces who let the attack happen because they were themselves offended by the film; they would absolutely put their loyalty to the Prophet over the consulate. The deaths are all nothing compared to insulting the Prophet.”

Why wasn’t there better protection at the consulate? Because that’s the way Secretary of State Clinton wanted it; the State Department posted no Marines to the consulate. It was staffed instead by those Libyan “security” forces. The consulate also had “no bulletproof glass, reinforced doors or other features common to embassies.”
It's one thing for Breitbart to report on this and to go so far as to hold both Hillary Clinton and Obama responsible. The question is whether further information supports the degree of mismanagement being reported by them -- and whether others in the media will report the same facts and draw the same conclusions.

If the media can forget about Romney long enough to do their job and cover this story properly, it could cause the kind of embarrassment for Obama that would justify initial comparisons with Carter and the Iranian hostage crisis.

And that might the goal of the Islamists behind the attacks.

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