Although the administration and its abettors in the mainstream media have done their darnedest to sweep the Benghazi fiasco under the rug, those in pursuit of the truth have been equally dogged in their efforts to find answers. Tomorrow, some of those answers will presumably be provided, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faces tough questions from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
In preparation for Clinton’s testimony, the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch has prepared something of a score card in the form of a report examining the administration’s and State Department’s actions before, during, and after the assault.
Titled “The Benghazi Attack of September 11, 2012: Analysis and Further Questions from a Diplomatic Security Service Regional Security Officer and Special Agent,” the analysis was overseen by former State Department Security Special Agent Raymond Fournier. The report examines the critical time period leading up to the Benghazi attack, when repeated requests for increased security were shunned by top State Department officials. It also evaluates the administration’s official claim that “an obscure Internet video” triggered the attacks, as well as apparently false claims that four top State Department officials had resigned in response to the Department’s December 18 Accountability Review Board report on the attack.
Among the questions raised by the report are:
- Who at the State Department was responsible for opening up and continuing the operation of the “Special Mission Compound” in the unstable environment of Benghazi, overriding physical security standards for diplomatic facilities? According to Fournier, “The Department’s unexplained decision to create a new category of diplomatic structure, i.e. the ‘Special Mission Compound,’” for the purpose of “skirting the established physical security standards” for embassies and consulates was the “critical error” leading to the deadly attack.
- Did the Director of Diplomatic Security or his immediate subordinates have authority to countermand the Department’s desire to open “SMC Benghazi?” In the report, Fournier cautions that, “Frequently, security policy and standards are set aside as inconvenient, restraining, time consuming or simply less important relative to loftier goals foreign policy goals prosecuted by the Department’s elite. One need go no further than Benghazi to see an example of the aforementioned managerial arrogance with the Department.”
- Why did Ambassador Stevens travel to Benghazi, so close to the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks? The report reveals State Department warnings in July, August, and September of 2012 advising against travel to the Mideast in general and Benghazi in particular.
- Why were two unmanned aerial vehicles requested to record the deadly events as they unfolded in Benghazi while more lethal air support options were not on station? The report concludes, “the September 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi resulted from a wide range of strategic and tactical failures by State Department officials. Chief among them was the fateful decision to circumvent established security regulations by designating the diplomatic post in Benghazi a ‘Special Mission Compound,’ ignoring repeated requests for additional security resources by Diplomatic Security personnel on the ground, and entrusting the security of the SMC [Special Mission Compound] to a local militia group with suspected ties to radical Islamists. As Special Agent Fournier notes in his assessment of the tragedy, there were also long-standing cultural problems within the Department of State that hinder the ability of Diplomatic Security agents to adequately protect our diplomats overseas.”
The report also suggests that Secretary Clinton was instrumental in advancing the false narrative that the internet video sparked the attacks. Readers are reminded that on Sept. 14, Clinton made the following statement: “We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen the rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful video that we had nothing to do with.”
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