- Fla. man charged with killing 16-month-old son to play Xbox undisturbed
- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
- ISTOOK: IRS “wants to throw us in jail,” says tea party leader
- Easter woes: Chocolate costs soar, becoming ‘unaffordable’ luxury
- Michaels craft chain confirms hackers hit 3M customers
- Special Forces’ suicide rates hit record levels — casualties of ‘hard combat’
- Many Americans would quickly face financial hardship after losing job, poll shows
State Department creates own board to look at Libya security query
The State Department’s top security officer is coming under scrutiny for playing a role in creating a special board that is investigating last month’s fatal attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
One of the State Department’s accountability review board’s key tasks will be to probe why the office of Patrick Kennedy, undersecretary of state for management, rejected requests for more diplomatic security in Libya in the weeks leading up to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.
Mr. Kennedy, a career diplomat whose portfolio includes being the top security officer, signed the memo Oct. 1 that set up the review board.
In addition, the State Department said Tuesday that Mr. Kennedy played a role in selecting members of the board, which will be led by former Ambassador Thomas Pickering. And later Tuesday, the State Department put out a revised timeline that abandoned all claims, which the Obama administration had been making since the earliest days, that the attack was related to protests against a film that mocks Muhammad, Islam’s prophet.
Since the review board was set up, information has surfaced in the news media on crucial decisions Mr. Kennedy made before the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
“There’s documentary evidence that requests came back to diplomatic security and Undersecretary Kennedy rejected them,” Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer and State Department counterterrorism official, told The Washington Times.
“What is at issue here, this board is set up to review all of the decisions that were made prior to the attack on 9/11 that reduced security for the U.S. mission in Libya. Kennedy shouldn’t have had anything to do with this,” Mr. Johnson said. “He should have completely recused himself from the process.”
Mr. Kennedy is slated to testify Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is holding hearings to investigate the State Department’s response to threats before the attack, among other issues.
John R. Bolton, a former ambassador to the U.N. who is advising Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, told The Times that the undersecretary for management typically handles the creation of special boards.
In this case, Mr. Bolton said, with so many officials facing scrutiny, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, it would have been better to hand the job to the independent inspector general for the State Department.
“It isn’t different than what they’ve done before,” he said. “Maybe the lesson here in the future, it ought to be the [inspector general] that takes this board to guarantee the independence of the members.”
Army Lt. Col. Andy Wood, a Green Beret who led a site security team in Libya, told CBS News that he and others had requested more security, but State Department officials in Washington turned them down and pulled them out of the country, along with a six-member force of elite security guards.
“We tried to illustrate to show them how dangerous and how volatile and just unpredictable that whole environment was over there. So to decrease security in the face of that really is it’s just unbelievable,” Col. Wood said.
Col. Wood said team members could have accompanied Mr. Stevens to Benghazi, the site of the well-coordinated assault by al Qaeda-linked extremists.
Last week, ABC News unearthed a May 3 memo telling the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli that Mr. Kennedy had turned down a request to keep a DC-3 aircraft in Libya to ferry arms and diplomatic security forces in a security support team around the country.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Removal of military gear limits options for U.S., NATO in Ukraine
- Hillary Clinton all but erased from tragic story of the attack in Benghazi
- Indiana assured that Pakistani firm working to thwart bomb makers
- Doubts on military's sex assault stats as numbers far exceed those for the U.S.
- Political hunt for sex abusers puts military justice in peril, lawyers say
TWT Video Picks
- Harry Reid blasts Bundy ranch supporters as 'domestic terrorists'
- Immigration still on hold: Boehner's office
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- Supreme Court weighs appeal to concealed-carry gun laws
- Nancy Pelosi washes immigrants' feet in humble Holy Week act then promotes on Twitter
- PRUDEN: When a bored president just 'mails it in'
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- BRUCE: Obama deliberately emboldening America's enemies
- Joe Biden's biggest gaffe: VP blowing his 2016 head start
- Jews being told to register in Ukraine: John Kerry
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.