Confusion creates problems
A month after the deadly attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, administration officials are finally admitting that they failed to adequately protect the facility and even turned down requests to bolster security months before. These admissions raise serious questions over the administration’s strategy to protect our overseas interests and personnel.
Before a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last week, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charlene Lamb admitted to denying requests for additional security for U.S. diplomatic personnel in Libya. The September 11 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi left four personnel dead, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
Equally disturbing has been the administration’s waffling over the cause of the attack. Days after the attack both White House spokesman Jay Carney and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice stated on network television news programs that the Libyan attack was seen as a reaction to the controversial film mocking the prophet Mohammed. On September 16, 2012, Ambassador Rice told NBC’s Meet the Press that the events in Benghazi were viewed by the administration as “almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted by the video.”
It wasn’t until several days later when, faced with mounting evidence to the contrary, administration officials finally began to admit the deadly assault on our diplomatic post was a coordinated terror attack. Congress is justifiably alarmed at the inability of the administration to accurately assess the cause of the attack and the resulting delay in securing consular facilities in the aftermath of the attack.
Why were requests for additional security denied in the first place, and why didn’t the administration anticipate that more security might be needed on September 11? Were administration statements tying the attack to the video the result of confusion or deliberate attempts to obfuscate the truth? Whether incompetence or a cover-up, these questions demand answers and Congress will continue to hold the administration accountable.
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