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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mysteries of Benghazi

Stephen Hayes
November 6 is not only Election Day, it's also the eight-week anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Regardless of which candidate wins, the American people deserve answers to the many unanswered questions about the attack—and the events that preceded and followed it. The Benghazi debacle is a drama in three parts: the lack of security before the attacks, the flaccid response during the attacks, and the misleading narrative after the attacks. There are unanswered questions about each part. Here are some of the most important.

Part One

Before the attack, a wide array of U.S. officials provided stark warnings about inadequate security in Benghazi. They include Eric Nordstrom, former regional security officer for the State Department in Libya; Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, a site security commander in Libya from February to August 2012; the unknown author of letters dated the day of the attack and found on the consulate floor; and, of course, the late Ambassador Christopher Stevens himself. Why didn’t they receive the assistance they requested?

During the vice presidential debate, Joe Biden claimed: “We weren’t told they wanted more security there.” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor later clarified that Biden was speaking “for himself and the president.” In fact, an August 16 State Department cable summarizing an emergency meeting at the U.S. mission in Benghazi was circulated to White House and NSC officials just three weeks before the attack. It reported that the regional 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.” Does the administration maintain that no one at the White House or NSC was aware of these urgent requests?

Several officials with responsibility for security in -Benghazi spoke of a “normalization” directive that included a conscious effort to reduce the security posture at the consulate. Who proposed “normalization” and who issued the directive to reduce security?

Part Two

Read the full article

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