Benghazi: Details emerge daily, is it a cover-up or just incompetence?
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Benghazi: Details emerge daily, is it a cover-up or just incompetence?

Washington : DC : USA | Nov 01, 2012 at 7:02 AM PDT
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A member of the Libyan security forces secures the US consulate compound in Benghazi

Call it coverup, call it incompetence, call it whatever you want, but one thing is clear, something went drastically wrong in Benghazi and the administration is not being straight with Americans. New evidence seems to emerge almost daily and puts the claim of a spontaneous attack due to an anti-Islam video given in the early days after the attack, in serious doubt.

The latest revelation is a secret cable that states that there was an emergency meeting convened by the mission in Benghazi, which said that the senior state department security officer (RSO) could not guarantee the safety of the Benghazi consulate. In fact, the RSO did not believe that the consulate could be protected.

According to FOX News, the cable said:

“RSO (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.”

The cable, dated Aug. 16, was addressed to the Office of the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Al-Qaida in North Africa and Ansar al-Sharia, groups that have been implicated in the attack, are both mentioned in the cable.

The contents of the cable are troubling, in that it was almost a full month ahead of the consulate attack and instead of providing more security for the post, or evacuating it, two special ops security teams were sent back to the US. The Libyan government had lost control of Benghazi and thus the concern by Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the emergency staff that the host country could not provide protection. Earlier there had been an attempt on the life of the UK envoy to Libya, and the International Cross headquarters was attacked, causing the Red Cross and the UK government to close down their operations.

“In light of the uncertain security environment, US Mission Benghazi will submit specific requests to US Embassy Tripoli for additional physical security upgrades and staffing needs by separate cover.” The cable also addressed the intelligence situation in Libya, with specifics on Benghazi. As for specific threats against the U.S., the cable warned the intelligence was not clear on the issue, cautioning that the militias in Benghazi were not concerned with any significant retaliation from the Libyan government, which had apparently lost control in Benghazi. A briefer explained that they “did not have information suggesting that these entities were targeting Americans but did caveat that (there was not) a complete picture of their intentions yet. RSO (Regional Security Officer) noted that the Benghazi militias have become more brazen in their actions and have little fear of reprisal from the (government of Libya.)” FOX News

In a separate cable and as revealed in a diary found by a CNN reporter, Ambassador Chris Stevens raised major concerns about growing problems with security and frustration with Libyan police and security forces. The ambassador saw both as too weak. The State Department appears to be stonewalling in this case and the standard administration line now seems to be that an independent board is conducting a thorough review of the assault the post in Benghazi.

Opinion:

As is the case with many other issues, including the XL Keystone pipeline, this is another issue that is being pushed past the general election next week. Unfortunately the so called most transparent administration in recent history is not very transparent on the issue of the Benghazi attack. With details available on the street now, it appears clear that the administration should not have had any doubts that this was a coordinated attack, probably with the ambassador as a target. This raises the question why the administration stuck to their story of a spontaneous mob attack as a result of a video, a story that was promulgated even two weeks after the attack.

There are also indications, although not confirmed, that the attack was watched live by at least White House staff, if not the president. The attack lasted seven hours, killing Tyron Smith, a former Navy SEAL, who defied orders and saved 30 people before being killed by mortars. His father, in an emotional plea, asked those involved in the decision-making process to stand up and change the course of their lives. Who could blame a grieving father?

This case will go nowhere prior to the election. The mainstream media, which has started some reporting on it, is now preoccupied with Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath and of course next week's election. Notwithstanding that, Americans have to right to hear the full truth.

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US ambassador Chris Stevens was killed in Benghazi on September 11
US ambassador Chris Stevens was killed in Benghazi on September 11
Karl Gotthardt is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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