Everytime you think the administration’s failure in Benghazi couldn’t get worse, it gets worse. Eli Lake reports that in the six months leading up to the September 11 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, security was not only not strengthened, it was actually reduced.
The bombshell comes via Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) who leads a subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform committee which is looking into the attack. Chaffetz says “The fully trained Americans who can deal with a volatile situation were reduced in the six months leading up to the attacks.”
The State Department did not dispute the claim. Instead, a senior official claimed Wednesday that cuts in security were routine given that Benghazi was a war zone in 2011. However the suggestion that Benghazi had become safer in the six months prior to September 11 is undercut by the pattern of attacks on western outposts which led the British to abandon their consulate on the same street. It is also belied by the State Department’s own strongly worded travel advisory issued two weeks before the deadly attack.
The new revelation about cuts in security comes on the heels of a letter Rep. Issa sent Tuesday to Secretary of State Clinton. Citing whistle-blowers, the letter states that multiple requests for additional security at the Benghazi consulate were denied by officials in Washington prior to the attack. Rep. Issa further revealed Wednesday that there had been 13 threats or attacks on the Benghazi consulate prior to September 11.
Secretary Clinton replied to Issa’s letter Tuesday noting that she had requested an internal review of the facts and saying “Nobody will hold this department more accountable than we hold ourselves.” The fact that all of the damaging information released so far has come via whistle-blowers suggests otherwise.