CPAC Benghazi Panel on Heels of In-Depth Judicial Watch Report
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.