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Friday, November 2, 2012

Big Media Protection Begins to Falter on Benghazi

Among the major U.S. media outlets, only Fox News has been aggressively pursuing the Benghazi story. But that is beginning to change. Of particular note is this story from ABC News regarding the "drip, drip" of stories about Benghazi. While the story begins with the standard refrain that this is much ado about nothing, deeper into the story, it actually reveals some rather damning details:
In the place of a detailed description from the Obama administration about what happened more than six weeks ago comes the drip-drip-drip of stories about the failures of the Obama administration to provide those Americans on the ground in Libya with all the security assets they needed.

ABC News broke some stories on this, ranging from a security team being denied continued use of an airplane its commander wanted to keep in country to better do his job; to the security team leaving Libya before Ambassador Stevens wanted it to.

Fox News Channel’s Catherine Herridge last night reported on a newly discovered cable indicating that in August, less than a month before the attack, the diplomatic post in Benghazi convened an “emergency meeting” concerned about local Al Qaeda training camps. Said the cable: “RSO (Regional Security Officer) expressed concerns with the ability to defend Post in the event of a coordinated attack due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support, and the overall size of the compound.”

The cable stated that “In light of the uncertain security environment, US Mission Benghazi will submit specific requests to US Embassy Tripoli for additional physical security upgrades and staffing needs by separate cover.”

The State Department’s comment to Fox: “An independent board is conducting a thorough review of the assault on our post in Benghazi. Once we have the board’s comprehensive account of what happened, findings and recommendations, we can fully address these matters.”

It was the exact same statement given to ABC News earlier in the month about a different revelation.

This afternoon, journalists Harald Doornbos and Jenan Moussa in Foreign Policy Magazine reported that when they arrived at the compound in Benghazi on October 26 they found “several ash-strewn documents beneath rubble in the looted Tactical Operations Center, one of the four main buildings of the partially destroyed compound. Some of the documents — such as an email from Stevens to his political officer in Benghazi and a flight itinerary sent to Sean Smith, a U.S. diplomat slain in the attack — are clearly marked as State Department correspondence. Others are unsigned printouts of messages to local and national Libyan authorities. The two unsigned draft letters are both dated Sept. 11 and express strong fears about the security situation at the compound on what would turn out to be a tragic day. They also indicate that Stevens and his team had officially requested additional security at the Benghazi compound for his visit — and that they apparently did not feel it was being provided.”

A Sept. 11 missive to the head of the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs notes that on that morning, “one of our diligent guards made a troubling report. Near our main gate, a member of the police force was seen in the upper level of a building across from our compound. It is reported that this person was photographing the inside of the U.S. special mission and furthermore that this person was part of the police unit sent to protect the mission. The police car stationed where this event occurred was number 322.”
 This comports with an early report I had seen on September 11, which subsequently disappeared, that indicated that Libyan police had pointed out targets to the attackers.

More troubling is that we are rapidly approaching a point two-months after the incident, and apparently the government still has not secured documents left at the compound. God only knows what the terrorists made off with, and what U.S. intelligence assets have been compromised, because the State Department hasn't made much effort to do so. (Although, the Pentagon is apparently trying to do something to hunt down the attackers).

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