I’ve gotten dizzy trying to follow the Benghazi story with the claims and counter-claims that are being made. But yesterday, Sharyl Attkisson’s story for CBS News made a concrete allegation that needs to be explained by the administration.
The State Department renewed the lease for the U.S. compound in Benghazi two months before the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attacks without requiring the facility to meet normal security standards. That news comes from an interview Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., conducted with a survivor of the attacks.
The survivor, a State Department diplomatic security agent whose name isn’t being disclosed, spoke behind closed doors in late November to Senators Graham, Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J. The previously-undisclosed existence of the year-long lease calls into question the State Department’s designation of the compound as “temporary” and therefore exempt from normal security requirements.
According to the Accountability Review Board (ARB) that investigated security shortfalls, a “key driver behind the weak security platform in Benghazi was the decision to treat Benghazi as a temporary, residential facility…This resulted in the Special Mission compound being excepted from office facility standards and accountability” under federal law. The ARB said Benghazi’s security was “far short” of standards from the start in November 2011 and “remained so even in September 2012, despite multiple field-expedient upgrades funded by [diplomatic security].”
%he question about why this decision was made is independent of any question about how organized the attack was (mob action or terrorist organization?) or whether or not the Administration could have done more to rescue American lives. If this question can’t be answered satisfactorily then someone needs to pay for the decision. Why give the Benghazi property a designation that didn’t require normal security?
Notice that record of this security decision was hidden from Congress.
“Don’t you imagine that if Congress had known that someone renewed a formal lease for one year at the same time it called the facility ‘temporary’ and exempted it from security standards that we would have had a lot of questions about it?” Graham said in an interview with CBS News.
So what s going on? Will we be told this was a “botched” decision, like we are told happened with Operation Fast and Furious? But how will we know there wasn’t some reason the security decision was made—a reason that the decision makers don’t want Congress or the American people to know about?
The background scandal that everyone seems to be ignoring is that we empowered and supported anti-American, Islamic terrorist to destroy the Gaddafi regime and turn Libya from bad to worse—a secular dictatorship at peace with NATO and the US to a terrorist playground hostile to the West. The worse scandal is matter of the public record. Benghazi is just a small part of it.