A newly released email relating to Benghazi finds that the State Department had only two or three permanent guards stationed at the location in the months leading up to the attack.
In an email dated Feb. 12, 2012 — seven months before the attack — Eric Nordstrom, State Department regional security director, informed regional director James Bacigalupo that he would be glad to call and talk about the lack of security in Benghazi.
“Sure, for historical continuity and clarity we have had multiple times previously had no movements in Benghazi because we had only 2 DS (Bureau of Diplomatic Security) agents on the ground,” wrote Nordstrom.
“Having no movements for upwards of 10 days severely limits operations in Benghazi. I’ve been placed in a very difficult spot when the Ambassador tells me that I need to support Benghazi but can’t direct MSD (Office of Mobile Security Deployment) there and been advised that DS isn’t going to provide more than 3 DS agents over the long term,” he added.
The night of the Benghazi attack on Sept. 11, 2012, there were in fact three permanent security agents on site, and two that had traveled with Ambassador Chris Stevens.
“Two months before the fatal 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi … Stevens requested 13 security personnel to help him safely travel around Libya … but he was turned down,” Fox News reported.
In the July 9, 2012, cable, Stevens reported, “Overall security conditions continue to be unpredictable, with large numbers of armed groups and individuals not under control of the central government, and frequent clashes in Tripoli and other major population centers.” The cable indicated 13 security personnel would be the “minimum” needed for “transportation security and incident response capability.”
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said in an op-ed piece before a 2014 Senate Benghazi hearing, “The State Department not only failed to honor repeated requests for additional security, but instead actually reduced security in Libya.”
Politifact (which is not known as Republican-leaning) examined the charge and rated both aspects of it “True.” The news service pointed to the State Department’s own Accountability Review Board finding that the number of diplomatic security in Benghazi was inadequate “despite repeated requests” from Stevens.
Secondly, not only did the State Department turn down requests for additional security, it actually reduced the personnel available. The agency specifically declined a Department of Defense offer twice to extend a 16-member special forces team, based in Tripoli, which had been deployed to Benghazi on various operations.
Former Security of State Hillary Clinton famously clashed with Johnson during the Senate Benghazi hearing, chiding him, “What difference at this point does it make?” when questioned about the cause of the attacks, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Stevens.
h/t: Young Conservatives