TEL AVIV – Words that cited the alleged purpose of the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi were redacted by the Obama administration in the final Republican House Select Committee’s report on the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks.
A spokesman for the Committee confirmed to Breitbart Jerusalem that the administration “determined those words were classified and made the redaction.”
The words in question come from a section of the report that cited an email from the lead Diplomatic Security Agent at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, who wrote about the stated purpose of the U.S. Mission in Benghazi.
The report section title was “Purpose of Mission in 2012: Symbolic Nature of U.S. Presence in Benghazi.”
The lead Agent wrote that the incoming Principal Officer, meaning the lead security agent in Benghazi, was under the impression that the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi was there for “reporting,” ostensibly meaning reporting on information on the ground in Benghazi to the Tripoli Embassy.
In February 2012, the incoming agent in Benghazi had expressed concerns that due to a lack of security personnel, “we will be extremely limited in the ability to obtain any useful information for reporting.”
That agent wrote:
We will be all but restricted to compound for the vital February 12-18 timeframe. This will effectively leave us unable to do any outreach to Libyan nationals during the week and we will be extremely limited in the ability to obtain any useful information for reporting.
The Benghazi report then quotes the email response from the lead Diplomatic Security Agent at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, with one critical portion redacted. Missing is the word or the words that cited the purpose of the Mission during that time period.
In an email to the diplomatic security agent in Benghazi, the Diplomatic Security Agent wrote: “[U]nfortunately, nobody has advised the PO that Benghazi is there to support [redacted] operations, not conduct substantive reporting.”
Joan A. Polaschik, then Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, also testified to the committee on what she described as the “unusual” nature of the U.S. facility, including that it reported “directly to Washington,” and not to the Tripoli embassy.
Her testimony was contained in the final Benghazi report.
Traditionally [Special Envoys] have been based in Washington, but I know in recent years there has been a special envoy presence in Jerusalem that reports to the Secretary of State. So it’s not unprecedented to have special envoy missions.
That said, it is unusual to have a totally separate office in a country in which there is no other consulate or presence. So it was a bit of an odd duck. Let’s say it doesn’t fit the unusual [sic] State Department pattern, and it’s something that as DCM, I struggled with a bit, not in the early days, because it was just a different operation, I think, while Chris was there.
She went on to say the Mission reported “directly to Washington.”
Q: Once Chris Stevens left in November of 2011 and was replaced by a series of principal officers, did that change then?
A: The formal relationship?
Q: In that principal officers then became more routine and report to you, and then you reported out to Washington?
A: No. There was never a decision or a procedure put in place to have the Mission in Benghazi report to the Embassy in Tripoli. It was still something that was reporting directly to Washington, staffed by Washington. I had no say in the staffing decisions, resourced by Washington, et cetera. I played a supporting role. To the extent that I could, I made sure that I coordinated very regularly with the principal officers; and whenever they needed help on anything, I jumped in.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
With research by Joshua Klein.