Benghazi-Gate: U.S. Security Remained Lax Even As Threats Chased Westerners Out
If you want to look for a motive behind the White House deceiving, and in some instances, outright lying about what really happened in Libya on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, look no further than this Washington Post story:
Security in eastern Libya deteriorated sharply in recent months. A string of attacks, some linked to fundamentalist groups, made clear that Westerners were no longer safe. The International Committee of the Red Cross suspended operations and evacuated staff in the east after an attack June 12 on its compound in the port city of Misrata. In Benghazi, convoys transporting the U.N. country chief and the British ambassador were attacked in April and June, respectively. The British government shut down its consulate soon afterward.
The U.S. outpost had a close call of its own June 6, when a small roadside bomb detonated outside the walls, causing no injuries or significant damage. But the Americans stayed put.
The Red Cross left, the British were attacked and left; we were attacked and we not only didn’t leave, apparently we didn't even increase our security:
U.S. officials appear to have underestimated the threat facing both the ambassador and other Americans. They had not reinforced the U.S. diplomatic outpost there to meet strict safety standards for government buildings overseas. Nor had they posted a U.S. Marine detachment, as at other diplomatic sites in high-threat regions.
A U.S. military team assigned to establish security at the new embassy in Tripoli, in a previously undisclosed detail, was never instructed to fortify the temporary hub in the east. Instead, a small local guard force was hired by a British private security firm as part of a contract worth less than half of what it costs to deploy a single U.S. service member in a war zone for a year.
How do you underestimate a threat after you and other Westerners have already been attacked? Instead, we continued to rely on cheap British contractors:
The Benghazi compound was an anomaly for U.S. diplomatic posts. It was not a formal consulate and certainly not an embassy. It was a liaison office established before Gaddafi’s ouster. It was staffed by the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, a State Department office that dispatches government officials to hardship posts for short tours. Instead of signing a costly security contract similar to those the government has for facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, the State Department this summer awarded a contract to Blue Mountain, a small British security firm, to provide local guards at the Benghazi compound. The year-long contract, which took effect in March, was worth $387,413, a minuscule sum for war-zone contracting. Blue Mountain and the State Department declined to comment for this article.
Today's New York Times report only adds to the mystery:
An effective response by newly trained Libyan security guards to a small bombing outside the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi in June may have led United States officials to underestimate the security threat to personnel there, according to counterterrorism and State Department officials, even as threat warnings grew in the weeks before the recent attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
The guards’ aggressive action in June came after the mission’s defenses and training were strengthened at the recommendation of a small team of Special Forces soldiers who augmented the mission’s security force for several weeks in April while assessing the compound’s vulnerabilities, American officials said.
“That the local security did so well back in June probably gave us a false sense of security,” said one American official who has served in Libya, and who spoke on condition of anonymity because the F.B.I. is investigating the attack. “We may have fooled ourselves.”
How do you fool yourself when you're dealing with al-Qaeda -- when you’re dealing with American lives? It's seems impossible to imagine that no one thought to themselves: Maybe they will return with an even bigger force. Maybe they learned something from this attack and will return at a later date much better prepared. Maybe that date will be 9/11.
The first paragraph of the NYT story also contains this bombshell:
…even as threat warnings grew in the weeks before the recent attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
But-but-but we've been told by our government that there was no intelligence!
Oh, wait, our government refuses to answer that question. In fact, every time our government is asked about intelligence surrounding increased threats in Benghazi, the answer is always moved into the safe arena of "actionable intelligence" -- which we obviously didn’t have because. We. Didn't. Act. On. Anything.
That we're just learning this information about the lax security in Libya 20 days after the attack makes sense. What's appalling is that the media is only starting to ask these questions now.
But that's why the White House spent eight full days pushing the false narrative that the murder of four Americans in Libya was the result of a "spontaneous" protest over a YouTube video. This is also why the news media was a co-conspirator in the cover up and spent six days beating Romney senseless over his statement about the Cairo Embassy apology.
Essentially, this is how the media and the Obama campaign worked together to keep The Narrative on Romney and off Obama, even as Obama's Middle East policy melted down in over two countries before our very eyes; even as the White House lies about a "spontaneous" protest became laughable within hours.
Sure, the story's starting to get some coverage now. Eventually, it had to. But in those crucial early days, the White House's scape-goating of the filmmaker and the media's phony hysteria over the Romney statement kept the story from becoming the kind of feeding frenzy that might damage Obama. Now the story is a controlled explosion instead of an explosive story.
It's also worth noting that nearly three weeks after the attack, our government is still telling us that American investigators have not gained access to or sealed the consulate. You know, the same consulate the American media has apparently had no problem crawling all over.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC