In the six months leading up to the assault on the United States consulate in Benghazi, the State Department reduced the number of trained Americans guarding U.S. facilities in Libya, according to a leading House Republican investigating the Sept. 11 anniversary attacks. The reduction in U.S. security personnel increased America’s reliance on local Libyan guards for the protection of its diplomats.The Obama administration's cutbacks in security at the embassy and relying on Libyans to handle the security has been defended on the basis that this is standard procedure.
This is the latest charge from Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Utah Republican leading a House investigation on the Benghazi attacks, regarding alleged security defects in Benghazi. Chaffetz said the information comes from whistleblowers who have approached the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
But there is a problem with that excuse:
On Tuesday, Chaffetz and the oversight committee’s chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), disclosed in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton details of an alleged April 6 bombing at the consulate. The letter detailed how in the run-up to the 9-11 assault there was an escalation of military-style attacks on Western targets in Libya’s second-largest city. The letter also said U.S. security personnel had requested, and were denied, additional security for the U.S. embassy in Tripoli and the consulate in Benghazi.
Chaffetz went further Wednesday, saying in an interview that the number of American diplomatic security officers serving in Libya had been reduced in the six months prior to the attacks. "The fully trained Americans who can deal with a volatile situation were reduced in the six months leading up to the attacks," he said. "When you combine that with the lack of commitment to fortifying the physical facilities, you see a pattern.”
If in fact these security cutbacks at the US embassy in Libya occurred at the same time that tensions were growing, there is a real case of negligence. Under such circumstances, unlike stories about continued Muslim protests -- this story will not be ignored by the media, even if they do not call for heads to roll.
In addition to the actual article, there is a video of Eli Lake himself about the whistleblowers:
If the whistleblowers do in fact go public, that will only add fuel to the fire. It will help to insure that this story about the negligence of the Obama administration to provide for the necessary protection of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and his staff will remain front and center.
This, during the home stretch leading to November.
It will overshadow the other story about the disaster at the US embassy in Libya about Sensitive documents left behind at U.S. diplomatic post in Libya.
Remember when Obama actually made fun of Romney for his lack of foreign policy experience?
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