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  • House Oversight Committee Probes Security Arrangements at Libyan Diplomatic Mission

    (L to R) Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, Utah National Guard of the U.S. Army, Eric Nordstrom, Regional Security Officer of the U.S. Department of State, Charlene R. Lamb, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security of the U.S. Department of State, and Patrick Kennedy, Under Secretary for Management of the U.S. Department of State, testify on the security failures in Benghazi. (Photo: Xinhua)

    The Obama Administration’s continually evolving narrative about the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, prompted the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to conduct a hearing today on the adequacy of security arrangements.

    Representative Darrell Issa (R–CA), chairman of the committee, bridled at the State Department’s reluctance to turn over documents related to the issue and stated that “our challenge is to identify things that clearly went wrong and what—with the benefit of hindsight—should have been done differently.”

    Although two high-ranking State Department officials—who had not visited Libya—defended the security arrangements in place there, two whistleblowers, who had been deployed to Libya to provide security to American diplomats, strongly argued that more resources should have been allocated to bolster security in an increasingly threatening environment.

    Ambassador Patrick Kennedy, Undersecretary for Management, and Charlene Lamb, the Deputy Assistant Secretary responsible for diplomatic security, maintained that security arrangements were adequate. Lamb said, “We had the correct number of assets in Benghazi at the time of 9/11 for what had been agreed upon.” She denied that budget cuts had affected decision making on security arrangements, as some had charged.

    But Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood, who had been deployed to provide security in Libya, testified that “diplomatic security remained weak” and that requests for additional security forces were denied by officials in Washington. “We were fighting a losing battle. We could not even keep what we had,” he said.

    Representative Jason Chaffetz (R–UT), who visited Libya last weekend on a congressional trip, displayed a series of pictures of previous terrorist attacks in Benghazi and charged that the U.S. government did not respond adequately. “I believe personally, with more assets, more resources, just meeting the minimum standards, we could have and should have saved the life of Ambassador Stevens and the other people,” he said.

    The Benghazi attack underscores the weaknesses of the Obama Administration’s approach to handling terrorist attacks as a law enforcement issue rather than as a national security threat. The new Libyan government, which faces major challenges from a host of independent militias, is not strong enough to enforce laws, apprehend the terrorists responsible for the attack, or prevent those and other terrorists from establishing a foothold inside Libya.

    Moreover, the Administration was slow to admit that the attack even was an act of terrorism, despite early indications that that was the case. What is needed—beyond an investigation into the attack to ensure that American diplomats are adequately protected in the future—is a comprehensive counterterrorism policy that recognizes the nature of the terrorist threat and proactively addresses it.

    Sadly, the Obama Administration still has not drawn the appropriate conclusions from the first 9/11 attack, let alone the second one.

    See A Counterterrorism Strategy for the “Next Wave.”

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    10 Responses to House Oversight Committee Probes Security Arrangements at Libyan Diplomatic Mission

    1. IVillageIdiot says:

      Lamb, should not be making any more decisions at this point. She should be placed on Administrative Leave pending the outcome of these investigations.

      Her judgment has already been proved suspect, and it would appear at this point down-right dangerous.

    2. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Does no one not recognize the pattern here. With a few name changes, it's almost the same waste of time and political grandstanding as Fast and Furious. The Obama/Clinton lackeys from the State Department deflected, distorted and lied, while the actual people on the ground gave facts. What was the result? NOTHING! This absurdity that Susan Rice will truthfully testify under oath is a pipe dream. So, bottom line, Obama wins by issuing another EO to shut it down (if it gets that far), and the American people are again screwed.

    3. O_Henry says:

      Four people are “personally” dead from our diplomatic mission in Benghazi. Will anyone from the Obama Administration at any level for any reason at any time be held “personally” responsible for these deaths or at least the lack of security that caused them?

    4. Bud teed says:

      One of two scenarios, please.
      # 1. The President and Secretary of State are totally naive with re: to the security threats posed by the Islamist terrorists and failed miserably in their responsibility to maintain proper security and protection of the diplomatic mission.
      # 2. The President and the Secretary of State are lying and told others to lie.
      Either scenario, the President and the Secretary of State displayed their complete ineptness to handle this situation and criminal charges should be brought against them.

    5. Bud teed, No, Obama and Hillary are not naive. Both of them know full well whats happening in Libya and throughout the rest of the uprisen middle east , because the are conspiring with the enemy. They want shariah law for the US. They want America and her patriots dead or locked away indefinitely. Just look at their efforts to disarm responsible Americans with their UN Small Arms Treaty and the many other freedom grabbing laws they support. Obama took the unconstitutional NDAA indefinite detention law to court and HIS judges in order to keep it law. Just look at all the suspect actions and then tell me they are naive.

    6. phastfred says:

      A bit oldfashioned here. When I was a Marine in the '50's, when you finished training, the cherry asignment was Embassy duty. Now? we depend on civilian mercs and local gov. troops to provide our security of soverign U.S. ground, (look up Embassy rules). A platoon of armed Marines would have solved the problem, and finding the attackers would have been solved, (just look at the bodies of anyone who crossed the wall). These wimps in our gov. are kissing too many asses. Our embassies are either American ground or not. If not, pack up our people and our financial aid dollars, burn the buuildings to the ground, and let the locals sink or swim on their own. (we could use the money to build our border fence…..

    7. Bobbie says:

      Thank you to all in the oversight committee! Your words are strong and MORAL DECENCY AND PRINCIPLE necessary!

      Hearing Carney and Axelhole admit how risky it is after the fact looks apparent, they set Mr. Stevens and colleagues up leaving them no protection in the riskiest part of the world!! This sounds real bad but the least they could've done was LEAVE EM A ROLL OF BARB WIRE TO LACE THE DOORS!! PATHETIC! OUTRAGEOUS!! The President used it in the past with humor, "Well we can't just use barb wire…"

    8. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      “We were fighting a losing battle."

      Why can I not help but think that this statement applies to all of our efforts in the Middle East from Afghanistan to Pakistan to Iraq to Syria to Egypt to Libya? I am far from convinced that a republican form of government can be established where there is not even a civil society. Maybe we do not need to establish a republican form of government, but can we even get one that does not harbor terrorists?

      There is one thing of which I am sure…if we must be there, we should provide the proper security forces to our political and civil servants.

    9. bfloxword says:

      I hear a lot of bitterness, anger and antipathy for the American President here. I am sure you all screamed as loudly and claimed the president was about to sell us out to the UN and to sharia, etc. when these attacks took place….

      22 January 2002 Calcutta, India Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami gunmen attack Consulate 5
      14 June 2002 Karachi, Pakistan al-Qaeda truck bomb detonates outside Consulate (more details) 12
      12 October 2002 Denpasar, Indonesia Consular Office bombed by Jemaah Islamiyah as part of the Bali bombings none
      28 February 2003 Islamabad, Pakistan Unknown gunmen attack Embassy 2
      30 June 2004 Tashkent, Uzbekistan Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan suicide bomber attacks Embassy 2
      6 December 2004 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia al-Qaeda gunmen raid diplomatic compound 9
      2 March 2006 Karachi, Pakistan Car bomb explodes outside Consulate 2
      12 September 2006 Demascuc, Syria Gunmen raid US Embassy 4
      12 January 2007 Athens, Greece RPG Fired at Embassy by Revolutionary Struggle none
      18 March 2008 Sana'a, Yemen Mortar attack against US Embassy 2
      9 July 2008 Istanbul, Turkey Armed attack against Consulate (more details) 6
      17 September 2008 Sana'a, Yemen Two car bombs outside US embassy in Yemeni capital

      Obviously, wonderful protection was being provided at that time since, on Bush's watch, only 44 were killed in such attacks….

      Since Obama took office, there have been three attacks, with the attack in Benghazi yielding 4 dead, 3 of whom were agents trying to find Chris' body or what had happened to him.

      Now, please, explain why Obama's approach to International Affairs is not more highly valued by you lot of right wing phonies?

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