- George Zimmerman will not be charged in domestic dispute
- Russian officials press bilateral U.S. trade deal
- Creator of ‘Selfies at Funerals’ blog retires after Obama flub: ‘Our work here is done’
- New Obama adviser Podesta is against Keystone but will steer clear of pipeline deliberations
- 40 Australian adults, children found in ‘one of the worst accounts of incest ever made public’
- Venezuela’s Maduro calls on student ‘price vigilantes’ to hit the streets, report businesses
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bow before Valkyrie, NASA’s ‘superhero robot’ entry in DARPA challenge
- 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy suspended for pretend bow-and-arrow shooting
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
Investigators find State Department drew down Libya security as threats rose
Question of the Day
Congressional investigators have pieced together a series of decisions that led State Department officials to inexplicably draw down security in Libya last year even as threats and attacks against Western diplomats were rising in the violent, chaotic city of Benghazi where America’s ambassador was killed last Sept. 11.
The investigators have determined that between May and September, the department reduced the number of Mobile Security Deployment teams from three to one, thinning the potential U.S. security officers available to protect diplomats by at least twelve, the Washington Guardian has learned.
In addition, the lone remaining six-member Mobile Security Team in Libya at the time Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed was detailed primarily to training Libyan security officials rather than providing force protection to U.S. officials, the sources told the Washington Guardian.
The two-thirds reduction in the number of special six-member security teams came in addition to decisions by the administration not to place a Marine security contingent at the main embassy in Tripoli and to send home in August a special military attachment that was also providing security for U.S. officials in Libya, the sources said, speaking only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the specifics of the department’s security planning.
The commander of the military team sent home in August has already told Congress he requested that his team be extended or replaced but his request was denied.
The dual drawdowns help explain why the U.S. compound in Benghazi and its visiting ambassador were protected on Sept. 11 only by a few U.S. security agents and some retired Navy SEALS who worked for the CIA, a force that fought valiantly but was significantly outmanned by the al-Qaida inspired terrorists who struck with guns, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars. Local Libya security guards also at the location proved incapable of repelling the attack, officials have said.
At hearings planned for Wednesday, lawmakers in both the House and Senate plan to confront Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the security reductions, which stood in stark contrast to the decisions made by one of America’s closest allies.
British officials pulled their diplomats from Benghazi after a brazen summer attack against one of their own, and they had not yet returned them when the U.S. special mission in that city was attacked the night of Sept. 11, the 11th anniversary of the deadly 2001 terror attacks in Washington and New York City
In fact hours before he and three other Americans died in the attack, Stevens reported to Clinton in a diplomatic cable that he had conferred with British authorities, and they would not be making a decision on whether to return until at least October.
In that same cable, Stevens painted a portrait of Benghazi that was violent, chaotic and suffering through constant attacks from Islamist extremists that ranged from car bombings to explosive attacks on power lines.
Stevens also warned that the loyalties and capabilities of local Libyan militias helping to protect U.S. officials in the region were also increasingly dubious, specifically reporting that one group of militia leaders had threatened to pull their security if Americans continued to support a particular candidate for Libyan prime minister.
Stevens’ final, fateful cable was hardly the first sign of deteriorating security. Congressional investigators have assembled a list of more than a dozen threats or attempted attacks on Western diplomats in the Benghazi area in the months before the attack on the compound.
The prior episodes included a gunfire incident near the U.S mission in Benghazi in March, an explosives attacks against the compound in June that blew a hole in a security wall, a grenade attack on the International Red Cross station in Benghazi and an attack on the British ambassador’s motorcade in the city.
U.S. officials clearly understood the deteriorating conditions, congressional investigators found, because they increased the hazard pay for State Department officials serving in the region, the sources said. But at the same time, they drew down the security assets sent by both the State Department and the military.
Obama administration officials declined comment, referring a reporter to the State Department’s recent report on the episode. That report cast blame on the entire agency for keeping a woefully inadequate security posture for the threats faced in Libya.
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Obama's antics at Nelson Mandela tribute: Jovial conversation, handshake with Raul Castro
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whisky: U.K.-born expert
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Study IDs reasons for late-term abortions
- Inside the Ring: China targets Global Hawk drone
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Al Maurer provides a common sense, conservatarian, Constitutional conservative perspective from the battleground state of Colorado
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
Buzz on Bees is a column promoting the love and life of God’s greatest pollinators on earth: The Honeybee
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow