Obama Administration Denied Repeated Requests for Increased Security in Libya

 U.S. officials in Washington turned down repeated requests for increased security from American diplomats in Libya at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, where a U.S. ambassador was killed, despite two explosions and dozens of other security threats.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Rep. Jason Chaffetz said they have information from “individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya” detailing multiple attacks on U.S. diplomats and officials  in Libya in the months before the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the U.S.

The letter listed 13 incidents, but Chaffetz said in an interview that there were actually more than 50. Two of them involved explosive devices: a June 6 blast that blew a hole in the security perimeter. The explosion was described to the committee as “big enough for 40 men to go through”; and an April 6 incident where two Libyans who were fired by a security contractor threw a small explosive device over the consulate fence.

“A number of people felt helpless in pushing back” against the decision not to increase security and “were pleading with them to reconsider,” Chaffetz said.

The State Department declined to answer questions about whether extra security was sought by officials in Benghazi ahead of the attack.

Clinton did send a letter to Issa stating that she has established an accountability review board that will determine “whether our security systems and procedures in Benghazi were adequate, whether those systems and procedures were properly implemented, and any lessons learned that may be relevant to our work around the world.” She also asked the committee to withhold any final conclusions about the Benghazi attack until the committee can review the findings of the board.

Clinton also pledged to address the specific questions raised in the committee’s letter in addition to document requests.

Referring to the Benghazi attack, the letter said, “It was clearly never, as administration officials once insisted, the result of a popular protest.”

The Obama administration insisted that the attacks on our embassies was a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islamic video circulating on the Internet. Since then, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and White House press secretary Jay Carney have called the incident a terrorist attack.

Other incidents cited in the Issa-Chaffetz letter to Clinton:

—Just weeks before the attacks, the unarmed Libyan guards at the consulate, employed by British contractor Blue Mountain Group, were warned by family members to quit their jobs because there were rumors of an impending attack.

—In April, a gun battle erupted about two miles from the consulate between an unidentified armed group and forces loyal to the transitional government.

—In June, a posting on a Facebook page mentioned Stevens’ early morning runs around Tripoli along with members of his security detail. The page contained a threat against Stevens and a stock photo of him. Stevens stopped the runs for about a week, but then resumed.

ABC News has obtained an e-mail detailing the Obama Administration’s denial of a request by US Diplomats in Libya for Security-Enhancing Transportation.

 

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