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U.S. officer got no reply to requests for more security in Benghazi

Freewill

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Now is the time America, let's get rid of the fail in the WH.

U.S. officer got no reply to requests for more security in Benghazi - Yahoo! News Canada

U.S. officer got no reply to requests for more security in Benghazi

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - 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.
 

idb

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Congress, at the insistence of the House of Representatives, slashed the president’s request for embassy security and construction and forced another cut in fiscal year 2012. Altogether Congress has eliminated $296 million from embassy security and construction in the last two years with additional cuts in other State Department security accounts.

Sequestration required under the Budget Control Act of 2011 will take more than $100 million more out of the program in 2013 if the current Congress does not overcome the impasse over budget cuts and tax revenues by yearend. Those cuts are largely the result of the draconian and unrealistically low budget caps placed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) on all discretionary spending, falling particularly hard on the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee with responsibility for embassy security.
Diplomats, National Security, and the House Budget | Center for American Progress
 

waltky

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Catch-22 at the State Dept....
:eusa_eh:
State Dept. acknowledges rejecting requests for more security in Benghazi
October 10,`12 - Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, the former head of a 16-member U.S. military team in Libya says the consulate in Benghazi, where the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed, never had the forces it needed to protect itself.
The State Department acknowledged Wednesday that it rejected appeals for more security at its diplomatic posts in Libya in the months before a fatal terrorist attack in Benghazi as Republicans suggested that lapses contributed to the deaths of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. Republicans also tried to use a congressional hearing to poke holes in the Obama administration’s public explanations for what happened in Benghazi on Sept. 11, accusing the White House of playing down the possibility that the incident was a successful al-Qaeda assault.

The highly charged congressional oversight session, titled “Security Failures of Benghazi,” included sharp accusations from Republicans that the State Department was more interested in presenting a picture of an improving situation in Libya than in ensuring the safety of its staff there. The session had the feel of a courtroom prosecution as Republicans bored in on inconsistencies and suggested a coverup. The hearing produced few new revelations about the attack, but it underscored the administration’s political vulnerability over the Benghazi episode four weeks before the presidential election. Security officials on the ground “repeatedly warned Washington officials of the dangerous situation” in Libya, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in his opening statement. “Washington officials seemed preoccupied with the concept of normalization.”

Democrats on the committee defended the administration, saying Republicans had voted to cut some of the very funding for security that they suggest was lacking in Libya. The Democrats also accused the Republicans of running a secretive and overly partisan investigation leading up to the hearing. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (Md.), the top Democrat on the committee, called on House GOP leaders to support a supplemental funding bill to restore diplomatic security resources.

Little clarity

See also:

Chaffetz accuses State Department of revealing classified information
10/10/12 - Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) caused a stir at Wednesday's hearing on security lapses in Libya when he accused the State Department of publicizing classified information by displaying a satellite photograph of the United States consulate in Benghazi.
Chaffetz made the comments at the House oversight panel hearing in reference to a photo of the diplomatic mission that came under attack on Sept. 11. American lives were being putting at risk by making the information public, he alleged.

Democrats on the dais, and observers in the hearing room, reacted to the GOP lawmaker's request with raised eyebrows and guffaws. “You can Google it!” Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member of the Oversight panel, said of the picture. Patrick Kennedy, the State Department under-secretary for management, said the photo was obtained from a commercial satellite.

Chaffetz, the chairman of the committee's panel on national security, replied that Obama administration officials were making documents public that his State Department handlers told him were classified during a visit to Libya over the weekend. Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), however, sided with the administration. “It is the prerogative of the executive branch” to decide what's unclassified, Issa said. “I will side with the administration that you have a right to show what you want to show.”

But Issa said the State Department couldn't have it both ways by telling lawmakers things were classified when they briefed on Tuesday, and then using them at the public hearing. Issa also used the occasion to place into the record cables he'd obtained from whistleblowers that showed State Department officials turning down embassy requests for more security.

Source
 

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