When 140 Characters Isn't Enough
Priorities: While our consulate in Benghazi was guarded by unarmed Libyan contractors making $4 an hour, our embassy in Vienna received an expensive charging station for its new electric cars to help fight climate change.
Even MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell says Vice President Joe Biden lied during Thursday's debate when he said twice that no one in the Obama administration knew that requests for extra security had been made by our Libyan ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and other members of our consulate in Benghazi. The State Department knew "in real time," as Mitchell put it in her post-debate analysis, that requests had been made.
The requests were denied, despite 230 security incidents in Libya between June 2011 and July 2012. With 48 taking place in Benghazi, two at the U.S. diplomatic compound where Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans were murdered on Sept. 11, 2012, a date that by itself should have prompted enhanced security.
What Biden was denying was pointed out by Eric Nordstrom during his testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform last Wednesday. Nordstrom, a regional security officer of the U.S. Mission to Libya from September 2011 to July 2012, said that, among other things, he was told in a phone call in July that the deployment of the site security team, a 16-member American military unit based in Tripoli, could not be prolonged.
According to Nordstrom, the State Department not only refused his requests for greater security, but also actually reduced the number of Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) agents assigned to foreign service officers based in Libya. Security was left to one DSS agent, four armed members of the 17th of February Martyrs Brigade and unarmed Libyan contractors employed by the British-based Blue Mountain Group.
In a May 3, 2012, email on which Ambassador Stevens was copied, the State Department denied a request by a group of Special Forces assigned to protect the U.S. Embassy in Libya to continue their use of a DC-3 airplane for security operations throughout the country.
Four days after the use of an ancient DC-3, along with other security requests, was being denied, on May 7, 2012, the State Department authorized the U.S. Embassy in Vienna to purchase a $108,000 electric-vehicle charging station for the embassy motor pool's new Chevrolet Volts.