According to a letter send to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Representative Darrel Issa, Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, lays out events in Benghazi that led up to the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
The State Department and members of the administration, including Jay Carney, during his speech to the UN General Assembly last week.and , characterized the attack as "spontaneous" as a result of the protests and scaling of wall of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, as a result of an anti-Islam video. Rice made the rounds of all Sunday news shows as late as five days after the attack. President Obama mentioned the video at least six times
Issa's letter lists the events leading up to the attack chronologically, starting as early as April 6, 2012:
In all there were seven incidents listed in Issa's letter, including a warning givent to members of the guard protecting the consulate, just weeks before the consulate attack, by their families to quit. Read the remaining list of incidents on page 2 of Issa's letter.
Add to that the accounts in Ambassador Steven's diary and it would appear that there was ample warning of security concerns in Benghazi that should have raised red flags.
The U.S. has pulled all of its official personnel out of Benghazi and has streamlined its staff in Tripoli, removing all non-essential personnel.
Issa, in his letter has asked Secretary Clinton to prepare a written response by Oct. 8 and to provide members of the department available for a briefing on the same day. Issa has requested that three questions be addressed:
The full committee is expected to convene on Oct. 10.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that Clinton would respond later on Tuesday and would tell them that she would coopertate closely with Congress investigating the Benghazi attack. Nuland declined to provide any response to the assertions made in Issa's letter.
“We share the same goal. We want to get to the bottom of precisely what happened and learn any lessons that we need to learn from it. We are taking this very, very seriously,” Nuland said.
According to Reuters, four U.S. officials have made statements that they were aware that in the months before the Benghazi attack, some U.S. personnel in Libya had sent complaints to the State Department expressing concern about security at U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, particularly the compound where Stevens was killed.
The Daily Beast has also confirmed that two incidents were on a Facebook page, one of them being an early morning attack on a facility that housed the International Red Cross on May 22nd, with a warning that the attack was a message to Americans disturbing the skies over Derna, while in the second Facebook page, posted a picture of Stevens and posed a threat to Steven's jogging route. Daily Beast
As more information is revealed about the threats prior to the embassy attack, one has to question the position the administration took for almost over a week after the attack. As facts become clear it points to incompetence in dealing with the reality on the ground in Libya and steps taken after the attack are more of a reaction.
The State Department should, at the very least, have been aware of the security situation in both Tripoli and Benghazi and should have been proactive in strenghtening security.
Let's hope that the mistakes of Libya are not repeated in Egypt.