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  • Libya Security Lapse: The Budget for Embassy Security Is Not Responsible

    There has been some back and forth between Republicans and Democrats over funding for security in Libya in the wake of Ambassador Chris Stevens’s death. Republicans have questioned whether the State Department had adequate security to protect the ambassador, and Democrats have countered that Republicans tried to cut funding for embassy security. What does the budget record show?

    According to the fiscal year (FY) 2013 Congressional Budget Justification Department of State Operations (p. 11), overall funding for those programs has increased sharply over the past decade. Indeed, Worldwide Security Protection is more than double what it was a decade ago. Despite reductions from budget peaks in FY 2009 and FY 2010, both budget lines are higher than in FY 2008. (continues below chart)

    Comparing FY 2011 actual funding versus the FY 2012 estimate, there appears to be a reduction in Worldwide Security Protection and Embassy Security, Construction and Maintenance. But that reduction does not account for additional funding in FY 2012 from Overseas Contingency Operations funds amounting to $236 million for Worldwide Security Protection (p. 63) and $33 million for Embassy Security, Construction and Maintenance (p. 467). As a result, total funds for Worldwide Security Protection for FY 2012 are estimated to be $94 million higher than in FY 2011, while Embassy Security, Construction and Maintenance is estimated to be $61 million less than FY 2011. Together, there is a net increase.

    In terms of people, the budget justification reported that Worldwide Security Protection had slightly fewer positions budgeted (1,777 in FY 2011 versus 1,707 in FY 2012) and Embassy Security, Construction and Maintenance had the same number of positions budgeted (1,014 for both years).

    In its budget request for FY 2013, the Administration requested significantly more funding for embassy security—mostly through the Overseas Contingency Operations budget—but retained the same number of positions, apparently on the assumption that security staffing was adequate. Regardless, that budget, even if approved in its entirety, would have entered into effect after the events in Libya.

    It is tempting to look for a scapegoat for the tragic events in Libya. However, if one exists, the overall budget for embassy security is not it. Funding for that purpose has risen sharply over the past decade. Moreover, the State Department has considerable latitude in allocating security funds based on current events and intelligence on possible threats. Why that latitude was not applied in Libya deserves further scrutiny.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Libya Security Lapse: The Budget for Embassy Security Is Not Responsible

    1. Michael Kirk says:

      It's remarkable that the media pundits haven't identified the real reason Ambassador Chris Stevens and his three American Embassy colleagues were killed in Libya last month: Senator Harry Reid. It was Reid who has failed to pass a federal budget for the past three years. Reid's failures caused security lapses in high-threat areas where American Embassy operations were at risk of attack. It was Reid's failure to perform his most fundamental Senatorial duties that resulted in the murder of these four Americans; and it is Harry Reid who must shoulder the loss of these Americans to terrorists for sending them to their graves without sufficient funds to protect themselves and the American installations where they were murdered.

      • Hemingway says:

        Republicans are just trying to cover their tracks. It is disgusting that House GOP cut embassy funding.

        • Nikolai says:

          I am sorry, but did you offer any data or evidence to support your assertions, or to dispute the findings in this article?

        • Jhf says:

          Ummm.. Did you read the article?

        • Except that they didn't cut any money for embassy security. Perhaps Barack should have told the state department to stop buying chevy volts for the embassies along with charging stations and put that money INTO security.

    2. Bobbie says:

      What an ugly excuse! While the president hands trillions to failed companies and green energy and special interests while leaving America's Ambassador unprotected especially when it was begged for! And then lie through their teeth. Free cell phones and big bird are more important? How dare you put money in domestic unconstitutional areas leaving Americans unprotected in a hateful, violent, murderous, terroristic part of the world. THERE'S NO EXCUSE!

      Just the reaction of this administration was so quick to put falsities into this, the President is relaxing all over the country seems collaborated only it was suppose to go in the favor of the president for a second term. he uses human life as mere collateral and whatever happens isn't the consequence of those who made it happen? WE'LL SEE!! Republicans would NEVER cut foreign embassy funding in their control!!

      • T.J. says:

        Here are the facts. According to Democratic House Oversight Committee staff, the amount that the GOP-led House passed for two accounts that pay for embassy security in fiscal 2012 ($2.311 billion) was $330 million less than the Obama administration had requested ($2.641 billion).
        A GOP House Appropriations Committee aide confirmed the House bill had less in these accounts than what the administration requested.

        However, the final bill, after being worked on by the Democratic-led Senate, put in more money than what had passed in the House. The final bill, which passed with bipartisan support, gave a total of $2.37 billion to these accounts for fiscal 2012 — about $270 million less than what the administration had requested.

        • Kent says:

          Here is what I found in terms of budgeted Embassy staff. This is based on the actual budget proposal signed by Hillary Clinton. The recap below is a summary of the budget propsal written by the Heritage Foundation.

          "In terms of people, the budget justification reported that Worldwide Security Protection had slightly fewer positions budgeted (1,777 in FY 2011 versus 1,707 in FY 2012) and Embassy Security, Construction and Maintenance had the same number of positions budgeted (1,014 for both years).

          Moreover, the State Department has considerable latitude in allocating security funds based on current events and intelligence on possible threats. Why that latitude was not applied in Libya deserves further scrutiny."

    3. Nikos Retsos says:

      Security will never be enough if we continue to be surrounded by deadly enemies. The U.S. has been the hunter around the world, and now it has become both "the hunter and the hunted!" The CNN headline today is: "Obama administration's wishful thinking on terrorism, " and the British newspaper "The Telegraph" features this headline: "Diplomats cannot work out in bunkers" the chief of U.S. Security tells Congress." And Dennis Kucinich, the U.S. Representative for Ohio's 10th congressional district since 1997, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, and a member of the US House oversight committee, made this stunning statements during the hearing that explains it all: "If we want to stop others from killing us, we should stop overthrowing governments!" ( Deutsche Welle's DW-TV, PBS Channel 20.3 Chicago, October 10, 2012)

      Obviously, Congressman Kucinich, and other Americans – along with many Americans who joined the Imran Khan march against the U.S. Predator drones in Pakistan, believe that the U.S. caused bloodshed around the world is fomenting a bloodshed backlash against itself. I don't see Mr. Kucinich's statement on in other media reports, but sticking our heads in the sand won't make the global anti-U.S. hostility disappear, nor will "bunker like U.S. embassies" will make the U.S. immune to revenge attacks. Our foreign policy definitely needs some introspection!

      Schopenhauer said that "revenge is sweet," and In Middle East, the birth-place of of the biblical "An Eye-for- an Eye" standard, revenge is still the only sweetener! Nikos Retsos, retired professor

    4. franktrades says:

      But yesterday morning NPR reported that it WAS budget cuts spurred by the Republicans that was responsible.

    5. Darryl De says:

      But never mind when some GOP legislators were interviewed as to weather or not they voted to cut funding for embassy cuts. One response was absolutely I voted for the cuts. So who's lying now. Hmmmmm

    6. John says:

      Please, as a former staffer on the Senate finance committee, please understand, there was a cut in the Budget Request.
      There was not a cut in the funding from the prior year! Thus, there was no CUT in authorization for Security!

      Even in Sworn testimony this last week, the Head of State Department Security confirmed that Funding was NOT the reason security was reduced.

      Now if someone will find out Why Was Security Reduced Just Before 9-11!! That is the TRUE COVERUP!

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