House Republicans: Sec. Clinton Denied Request for Add'l Security in Libya

A reported issued Tuesday by Republicans heading up five different committees concludes that Secretary Clinton’s involvement in Libyan security “do not reconcile” with statements she made a public hearings in January.

In her January 23, 2013 testimony before the House Foreign Affair Committee, Secretary Clinton said the following with regard to Libyan security:

You know, Congressman, it was very disappointing to me that the [Accountability Review Board] concluded there were inadequacies and problems in the responsiveness of our team here in Washington to the security requests that were made by our team in Libya. And I was not aware of that going on, it was not brought to my attention, but obviously it’s something we’re fixing and intend to put into place protocols and systems to make sure it doesn’t happen again. … Well if I could – 1.43 million cables a year come to the State Department. They are all addressed to me. They do not all come to me. They are reported through the bureaucracy.

However, the House report published today provides evidence that suggests Sec. Clinton was in fact aware of security requests from Libya. On March 28, 2012 Ambassador Gene Cretz sent a cable to Secretary Clinton requesting “continued deployment of both Mobile Security Detachment (MSD) teams, or at least additional DS agents to replace them, as well as the full five DS agents which the December 2011 memorandum claimed would be stationed in Benghazi.” DS stands for Diplomatic Security.

According to the report, a response cable signed by Sec. Clinton on April 19, 2012 “acknowledges Ambassador Cretz’s request for additional security but instead articulates a plan to scale back security.” The same cable recommended a “joint reassessment of the number of DS agents requested for Benghazi.” It was clear to at least one diplomatic staffer in Tripoli what reassessment meant, “looks like no movement on the full complement of [five DS] personnel for Benghazi, but rather a reassessment to bring the numbers lower.”

In between the request by Ambassador Cretz and the response from Sec. Clinton, there was an attack on the Benghazi compound. The attack which took place on April 6, 2012 used a “small IED” which caused no casualties.

The House Republican report goes on to note that after Ambassador Stevens took over as Ambassador to Libya in May, he also asked repeatedly for additional security. A June 7, 2012 request was denied. The following month Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom “alerted” officials in Washington that he would be filing a formal request for “SST and MSD teams” to remain in Tripoli. But when she became aware of Nordstrom’s intent, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Charlene Lamb sent an email to State Dept. personnel saying “NO, I do not [I repeat] not want them to ask for the MSD team to stay!”