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benghazi Archives | Judicial Watch

The State Department has long known that weak security at American embassies and consulates worldwide could result in a tragedy like Benghazi but warnings have been ignored and a former Clinton administration official runs the division behind the scandal.

Alarming details are laid out in a scathing new report put together by an independent panel of security and intelligence experts investigating the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi, Libya. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, the first diplomat to be killed overseas in decades, and three other Americans were murdered by Islamic terrorists.

The report has not yet been released to the public but Al Jazeera America obtained a copy and it reveals government negligence that’s downright shocking. It shows that senior officials have stood by while some of the United States’ most dangerous diplomatic posts have for years been vulnerable to attacks like the one that occurred in Benghazi. The State Department has known about security problems but has failed to correct them, according to the panel’s findings.

In fact, Benghazi was simply the latest in a long string of security failures that date back more than a decade. From 1998 to 2012, there were more than 270 “significant attacks” against US diplomatic facilities and personnel, according to State Department data cited in the report. Bottom line, according to Al Jazeera’s analysis: “U.S. embassies and other missions have been under siege for decades.”

It’s only going to get worse, according to the security and intelligence experts that conducted the Benghazi investigation. They write that attacks on State Department facilities and diplomatic personnel overseas are likely to continue because “terrorists have proven to be determined over time and readily adapt to the environment to advance their causes.”

The State Department division responsible for the security lapses is headed by Patrick F. Kennedy, a career diplomat who served as Bill Clinton’s Assistant Secretary of State from 1993 to 2001. In late 2007 Kennedy was named undersecretary for management at the State Department, which means he ranks quite high at the agency. The security experts blast Kennedy’s office in their report and suggest “as a matter of urgency” to establish a new undersecretary to address security.

Incredibly, investigators found that the State Department’s security structure has a serious lack of accountability and no review process to learn from previous security failures. Furthermore, diplomatic security training is inadequate, with no designated facility available to train agents to work at high-risk diplomatic posts. Even low-risk diplomatic posts are vulnerable, the panel found. It appears, however, that there were plenty of warnings in Benghazi.   

Judicial Watch has been a leader in exposing the truth about Benghazi, filing a dozen public-records requests with various federal agencies. Just a few weeks ago JW obtained the first photos from the State Department depicting the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Libya.  JW has also published a special report featuring an in-depth analysis of Benghazi conducted by former State Department Security Special Agent Raymond Fournier.

The report examines the critical time period leading up to the Benghazi attack, when repeated requests for increased security were shunned by top State Department officials. It also looks at the Obama administration’s official claim that “an obscure Internet video” triggered the attacks, as well as apparently false claims that four top State Department officials had resigned in response to the Department’s December 18 Accountability Review Board report on the attack.

 

 

Why is it that nearly a year after the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi not a single terrorist has been brought to justice? It’s a question many Americans may be asking and this week a federal lawmaker pressed Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel for answers.

In separate letters to the men, Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf blasts the Obama administration for failing to take action against the terrorists who murdered U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in the attack even though “upwards of 100” may have been involved. Months ago a major news organization reported that the U.S. has identified five men who might be responsible, Congressman Wolf points out.

The U.S. has enough evidence to justify seizing the men by military force as suspected terrorists, according to officials cited in the news report, but there is not enough proof to try them in a U.S. civilian court as the Obama administration prefers. So, the men remain at large while the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) gathers evidence, the congressman writes in the letters citing the news report.

“Is this accurate and, if so, who in the administration made the decision not to use military force to bring these terrorists to justice immediately, but instead allow them to walk free until enough evidence is gathered to try them in a U.S. civilian court?” Congressman Wolf writes. “Equally important, who made the decision that a U.S. court is the appropriate venue to bring these terrorists to justice?”

Trial venues for terrorists have been an ongoing controversy in the Obama administration, mainly involving those incarcerated at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. Remember when Holder announced that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and four of his fellow al Qaeda cohorts would be tried in a New York courtroom, just blocks from Ground Zero? The preposterous plan blew up in his face and the trials are taking place in military commissions at Gitmo.

Judicial Watch has closely monitored military commission proceedings at Gitmo and has sent investigators to a number of terrorist hearings in the last two years. JW has also been a leader in investigating the Benghazi attacks, filing a dozen public records requests with various federal agencies and several lawsuits to get the Obama administration to tell the truth about what really happened.

Earlier this year JW published a special report featuring an in-depth analysis of Benghazi conducted by former State Department Security Special Agent Raymond Fournier. The report examines the critical time period leading up to the Benghazi attack, when repeated requests for increased security were shunned by top State Department officials. It also looks at the Obama administration’s official claim that “an obscure Internet video” triggered the attacks, as well as apparently false claims that four top State Department officials had resigned in response to the Department’s December 18 Accountability Review Board report on the attack.

Nearly a year later the administration has yet to take action against the terrorists who carried out the plot. Congressman Wolf ends his letter to the nation’s Attorney General and Secretary of Defense by asking: “How long will the families of those killed have to wait before this administration takes any action—whether military or law enforcement—to bring these terrorists to justice?” Stay tuned for the answer but don’t hold your breath.

 

The key congressional committee responsible for investigating government is taking Judicial Watch’s lead in the Benghazi scandal, this week issuing a subpoena for crucial State Department documents that could shed light on how the Obama administration lied to the public to omit mentioning al Qaeda involvement in the attack.

In the days and weeks following the September 11, 2012 attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, the administration blamed the incident on a rudimentary Internet video deemed offensive to Muslims. This outrageous and evidently false claim was repeated by both Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in multiple public statements and press interviews.

As it turns out, the original “speaking points” intelligence memo seems to suggest that officials believed from the outset that al Qaeda was behind the attack on the U.S. compound in Libya. The secret memo was first revealed by senior California Senator Dianne Feinstein in a network television interview weeks after the attack. “I think what happened was the director of intelligence…put out some speaking points on the initial intelligence assessment,” Feinstein said in the interview. “I think that was possibly a mistake.”

Judicial Watch immediately filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to obtain the original intelligence memo and other assessments, analyses or talking points involving the Libya attack. On October 19, 2012 the ODNI acknowledged receiving JW’s request and the agency was required by law to respond by November 26, 2012. Not surprisingly, JW has received nothing from the agency and was forced to file a lawsuit. JW has other lawsuits pending against the Obama administration involving Benghazi.

Now the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, California Congressman Darrell Issa, has followed JW’s lead by issuing a subpoena for the information. This was necessary because the State Department has refused multiple requests from the investigative committee to provide the communications and documents on a voluntary basis, according to a statement posted on the panel’s website.

“The State Department has not lived up to the administration’s broad and unambiguous promises of cooperation with Congress,” Issa writes in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry. “Therefore, I am left with no alternative but to compel the State Department to produce relevant documents through a subpoena.” He adds that the administration has “largely ignored” Benghazi document requests from his colleagues in Congress despite President Obama’s pledges to cooperate with the investigation.

Besides filing a dozen public-records requests with various federal agencies involving the terrorist attack in Libya, back in January JW published a special report featuring an in-depth analysis of Benghazi conducted by former State Department Security Special Agent Raymond Fournier. The report examines the critical time period leading up to the tragedy, when repeated requests for increased security were shunned by top State Department officials.

It also looks at the Obama administration’s official claim that “an obscure Internet video” triggered the attacks, as well as apparently false claims that four top State Department officials had resigned in response to the Department’s December 18 Accountability Review Board report on the attack. It also raises questions as to the internal problems within the Department that may continue to leave overseas diplomats without adequate security.

In short, Judicial Watch’s special Benghazi report concludes that the attack resulted from a wide range of strategic and tactical failures by State Department officials. Chief among them was the fateful decision to circumvent established security regulations by designating the diplomatic post in Benghazi a ‘Special Mission Compound,’ ignoring repeated requests for additional security resources by Diplomatic Security personnel on the ground and entrusting the security of the SMC [Special Mission Compound] to a local militia group with suspected ties to radical Islamists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Islamic terrorists had to murder a U.S. diplomat and three members of his staff in Libya for the Obama administration to finally acknowledge that it must dedicate adequate funding to secure American consulates abroad.

The State Department’s 2014 budget includes a much-needed $4 billion allocation for security programs, including security staff, construction and infrastructure upgrades. The money will allow a 5% increase in diplomatic security staff and upgrades at “critical locations that face heightened threats in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2012,” according to the funding highlights released by the White House.

Security lapses quickly became an issue when, on the 11th anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks in U.S. history, heavily armed Islamist militia members ambushed our diplomatic compound in Benghazi. Christopher Stevens became the first U.S. Ambassador to be murdered in the line of duty since1988.Three other Americans working at the U.S. mission were also killed in the hours-long attack.

The Obama administration immediately came up with a ridiculous cover-up story, telling the American people that the deadly attack was provoked by a homemade anti-Islam internet video that supposedly sparked riots around the Arab world. The reality is that repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi were shunned by top officials in the Obama State Department, which at the time was run by none other than Hillary Clinton.

A Judicial Watch investigation on Benghazi conducted by a former State Department security specialist reveals that internal problems within the agency for years have left overseas diplomats without adequate security. Here’s the report. As part of an ongoing Benghazi probe, JW has also sued the State Department for records involving a $400,000 contract with a foreign firm that provided security guards and patrol services at the U.S. compound in Benghazi prior to the attack.

The State Department’s own investigation, conducted by a specially created Benghazi Accountability Review Board, concluded that “systematic failures” left the U.S. mission inadequately protected. The board also identified “leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus.” It’s unfortunate that it had to come to this before the administration decided to fund adequate protection for our foreign ambassadors while they represent their government in the world’s most dangerous regions.

Also of interesting note in the State Department’s new budget request is $580 million for a “Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Incentive Fund” to advance long-term political, economic and trade reforms in the region post “Arab Spring.” The money is the administration’s response to “continuing challenges to stability in the Middle East and North Africa.”

 

The September 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi seemed to be among the more popular topics on the first day of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington D.C., though a number of prominent politicians, including Florida Senator Marco Rubio, also headlined the big event.

An afternoon panel featuring a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin and renowned conservative journalists addressed the Benghazi terrorist attack in which a group of heavily armed Islamist militia members assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi Libya. Four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were murdered in the eight-hour assault, marking the first time since 1979 that a U.S. ambassador is killed in the line of duty.

“Maybe someone, someday will come up with the right questions to ask about Benghazi, and maybe we will get the right answers,” said the moderator of Thursday’s panel at CPAC, former Congressman Ernest Istook.

While the discussion was certainly interesting, it didn’t begin to cover what Judicial Watch has already exposed. JW is far and away the leading organization investigating Benghazi and the Obama administration’s actions before, during, and after the assault, as well as the State Department’s commitment to protect overseas diplomats.

Judicial Watch has filed a dozen public-records requests with various federal agencies involving the tragedy and JW lawyers are in court to compel the government to produce records. Back in January, JW published a special report featuring an in-depth analysis of Benghazi conducted by former State Department Security Special Agent Raymond Fournier.

The report examines the critical time period leading up to the Benghazi attack, when repeated requests for increased security were shunned by top State Department officials. It also looks at the Obama administration’s official claim that “an obscure Internet video” triggered the attacks, as well as apparently false claims that four top State Department officials had resigned in response to the Department’s December 18 Accountability Review Board report on the attack. It also raises questions as to the internal problems within the Department that may continue to leave overseas diplomats without adequate security.

In short, Judicial Watch’s special Benghazi report concludes that the attack resulted from a wide range of strategic and tactical failures by State Department officials. Chief among them was the fateful decision to circumvent established security regulations by designating the diplomatic post in Benghazi a ‘Special Mission Compound,’ ignoring repeated requests for additional security resources by Diplomatic Security personnel on the ground and entrusting the security of the SMC [Special Mission Compound] to a local militia group with suspected ties to radical Islamists.

As Special Agent Fournier notes in his assessment of the tragedy, there were also long-standing cultural problems within the Department of State that hinder the ability of Diplomatic Security agents to adequately protect our diplomats overseas.

 

 

 

 

 

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