The Administration's handling of security at the Benghazi consulate and it's dissembling after the murder of Ambassador Stevens constitute two distinct scandals. That explains why the New York Times puts the link to the story in the smallest visible type way down its web page and the Washington Post home page has no link to the story at all. It is, as we Straussians like to say, conspicuous by its absence.
For the first story we can thank Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The NYT can thank him a lot, since they can put "GOP says" in their tiny headline. Might this story be worth putting a few reporters on it now?
Here is the gist, from the WaPo:
Despite two explosions and dozens of other security threats, U.S. officials in Washington turned down repeated pleas from American diplomats in Libya to increase security at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi where the U.S. ambassador was killed, Republican leaders of a House committee said Tuesday.
That is a bombshell. If it's not true, then the Administration should promptly deny it. Surely they have to know by now. It has seemed clear from the beginning that the atrocity was a result of a serious security lapse. What was Ambassador Stevens doing in Benghazi with the most minimal security on September Eleventh? It looks a lot worse after you learn the following:
In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chairman Darrell Issa and Rep. Jason Chaffetz of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee said their information came from "individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya."…
The letter listed 13 incidents, but Chaffetz said in an interview there were 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 contactor threw a small explosive device over the consulate fence.
It gets better, as the Daily Beast reports:
Security deteriorated significantly in June. On June 10, a man fired a rocket-propelled grenade in broad daylight into a convoy carrying the British ambassador to Libya. Later that month, the Red Cross was attacked again. By the end of June, the British Consulate and the Red Cross closed their facilities in Benghazi. By the start of July, the U.S. Consulate was one of the only Western targets left in the city.
So the British ambassador was attacked in June by someone equipped with an RPG, someone who might not yet have seen The Innocence of Muslims. Britain and the Red Cross take the hint and pull out of Benghazi. Meanwhile we keep our consulate open in Benghazi and arrange for our ambassador to be there with virtually no protection on 9/11.
This is lethal incompetence. Equally incompetent if so far less lethal was the Administration's attempted cover up. They spent a week trying to convince everyone that the attack on the Benghazi consulate was a spontaneous mob reaction to the infamous film clip. CNN reports that "White House chose to leave out key intelligence from the attack on Americans in Libya."
That's lying by omission but surely it's also stupid lying. How long did they think they could keep up the charade? Again from the Daily Beast:
In June a Facebook page associated with militants linked to the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi posted a threat to Stevens based on the route he took for his morning jog. The Facebook page also posted a picture of Stevens. The letter to Clinton notes that "after stopping these morning runs for about a week, the Ambassador resumed them."
They threatened Stevens personally on Facebook! No way the Administration could have seen this coming.
Obama has personally promised to bring the perpetrators to justice. What is being done toward that end?
Three weeks after the attack that killed four Americans in this city, the investigation of its causes remains in its initial stages, with just a handful of suspects detained, the crime scenes minimally secured and Walid Faraj waiting for a phone call from someone, anyone, asking him what he saw on the night he was injured while protecting the U.S. diplomatic post here.
More than two weeks after the attack, investigators have yet to arrive at, let alone secure the crime scene. CNN managed to do what the FBI has not yet done, three days after the attack. One of their reporters found a journal written by Ambassador Stevens. I can only imagine what else might have been left at that site or who else might have pawed over it. I have a pretty good idea why the Administration is in no hurry to proceed.