The Conversation

Benghazi ARB Report: 'Repeated Requests' for Security Not 'Strong and Sustained'

Did officials in Libya make enough requests for additional security or not? The ARB report seems to say both things are true.

In a story published Tueday by The Hill, Gregory Hicks' attorney, Victoria Toensing, points out an interesting contradiction contained in the ARB report. Finding #2 concerns the "inadequate" security at the Benghazi outpost. In the space of three paragraphs the report seems to offer two contradictory opinions. Here is the relevant section (pg. 4-5):

Security in Benghazi was not recognized and implemented as a “shared responsibility” by the bureaus in Washington charged with supporting the post, resulting in stove-piped discussions and decisions on policy and security. That said, Embassy Tripoli did not demonstrate strong and sustained advocacy with Washington for increased security for Special Mission Benghazi.

The short-term, transitory nature of Special Mission Benghazi’s staffing, with talented and committed, but relatively inexperienced, American personnel often on temporary assignments of 40 days or less, resulted in diminished institutional knowledge, continuity, and mission capacity.

Overall, the number of Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) security staff in Benghazi on the day of the attack and in the months and weeks leading up to it was inadequate, despite repeated requests from Special Mission Benghazi and Embassy Tripoli for additional staffing. [Emphasis added]

The ARB report first says "Tripoli did not demonstrate strong and sustained advocacy with Washington for increased security..." However, two sentences later it finds insufficient security staffing happened "despite repeated requests from...Benghazi and Embassyy Tripoli." Which is it?

Apparently the requests for security were "repeated" and yet not "strong and sustained." The ARB seems to be threading a very find needle with this description.


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