When 140 Characters Isn't Enough
Scandal: A month before the terrorist attack, the State Department was warned Benghazi couldn't protect itself and was surrounded by Islamist militia and al-Qaida camps.
It was 3 a.m. and the administration pressed "snooze."
When the U.S. mission in Benghazi called an Aug. 15 emergency meeting, it wasn't to discuss an obscure Internet video. It was to discuss the lack of security for a consulate surrounded by at least 10 terrorist camps.
An Aug. 16 cable to the office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and obtained by Fox News reported that the State Department's senior security officer "expressed concerns with the ability to defend post in the event of a coordinated attack due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support and the overall size of the compound."
We note use of the phrase "coordinated attack" one month before just such an attack occurred. It's a phrase the administration didn't use for weeks after Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in a terrorist attack for which the al-Qaida-linked group Ansar al-Sharia took credit as it was happening.
The cable also mentioned the consulate's Emergency Action Committee discussing "the location of approximately 10 Islamist militias and AQ training camps within Benghazi."
We already knew that on Aug. 8 Stevens signed a two-page cable that he titled "The Guns of August: Security in Eastern Libya." In it, he noted a dangerous "security vacuum" had developed in and around Benghazi, symptoms of which were an attempted assassination of the British ambassador, two previous attacks on the consulate itself as well as attacks on the Red Cross.
"Islamist extremists are able to attack the Red Cross with relative impunity," he wrote. "What we have seen are not random crimes of opportunity, but rather targeted and discriminate attacks." So not only did we know Benghazi was the target of a "targeted and discriminate" attack, but also we knew at least a month before.
After the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was damaged by a bomb in June, Stevens reported that an Islamist group claimed credit for the attack and "described the attack as targeting the Christians supervising the management of the consulate."
Read More At IBD: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/110112-631810-consulate-wa...