9/11 Attack on Benghazi, Libya Consulate Not the First. Or Last, Probably.
Eli Lake of The Daily Beast/Newsweek continues to push on the intelligence and security failures that led to the death of Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans in Benghazi on September 11.
His latest story notes that the facility had been attacked several times before the September attack:
Obama administration officials have said there was no specific intelligence predicting the 9/11 anniversary assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. A senior State Department official acknowledged that there were five serious attacks on Western targets since the spring in the lead-up to the attack on the 9/11 anniversary. Speaking of the June 6 attack at the consulate's perimeter gate, this official said, "The IED attack caused no loss of life and no injury. The wall acted as designed. It absorbed it." This official said that compared with the 9/11 anniversary assault, the earlier attacks in Benghazi were mild. "We faced a coordinated, military-style assault. We've never seen that kind of attack before," this official added.
Until Sept. 19, eight days after the consulate attack, senior administration officials had said it resulted spontaneously from riots at the U.S. embassy in Cairo against an Internet video denigrating the Muslim prophet. Spokesmen for the State Department and the National Security Council did not return emails late Monday evening.
Meanwhile, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the head of the House Oversight Committee that has been pushing the Fast and Furious investigation among others, has requested information from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the failure to protect Amb. Stevens. From a Hot Air account:
Terrorists had posted pictures of Ambassador Stevens going for a routine morning jog and threatening to abduct or kill him. The Libyan security guards in the Benghazi consulate had been receiving warnings for weeks before the attack to quit, as an attack was planned for the facility. According to Issa, the embassy asked for heightened security for their diplomatic missions — and got nothing but static in response.
Issa wants a hearing on this matter on October 10th. Don't be surprised if Hillary stonewalls for at least another four weeks.
The official State line is that Stevens didn't communicate the worries that he expressed in his diary (uncovered and aired by CNN), but that may well turn out to be less than credible.
The Wash Post reports that the Obama administration has pulled all remaining personnel from Benghazi due to the deteriorating conditions; all non-essential personnel have also been yanked from Tripoli.
Hot Air's roundup on continuing coverage is very useful.
This surely is not what leading from behind looks like, is it? U.S. foreign policy arguably is in worse shape than even our economic situation. The absolute failure of the past dozen years or so should be a major issue in this election. The responsibility for this monumental failure is shared across parties (it is stunning still to think that the second Gulf War/invasion of Iraq was authorized by a larger and more bipartisan vote than the first!). Yet for precisely that reason—and the fact that Mitt Romney is probably even more befuddled on foreign policy than Obama—serious conversation about America's role in the world will have to wait for another time.