Contribute
CONNECT:

research

Flashing Red Lights

- October 19, 2015

For Months Leading Up To The Attacks In Benghazi, Hillary Clinton's State Department Failed To Respond To A Deteriorating Security Situation


TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • Prior to the deadly attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi, there had been numerous reports published by multiple federal agencies warning of the deteriorating security condition in eastern Libya and that American personnel were targets.
  • Additionally, the U.S. facility in Benghazi had been attacked before the deadly September 11th attack, with a 40-foot hole blown into the outer wall. Despite this, State Department personnel in Washington D.C. continued to deny repeated requests for more security.
  • After the attack, multiple bipartisan reports concluded that, given all of the security warnings, the State Department should have increased security prior to the attack in Benghazi.

BIPARTISAN REPORTS CONCLUDED THAT THE ATTACK WAS PREVENTABLE AND BLAMED CLINTON'S STATE DEPARTMENT

Senate Intelligence Committee Report: Benghazi Attack Was "Preventable Based On Known Security Shortfalls" At The State Department Facility. "The Majority believes that the terrorist attacks against U.S. personnel at the Temporary Mission Facility and the Annex in Benghazi, Libya on September 11 and 12, 2012, were likely preventable based on the known security shortfalls at the U.S. Mission and the significant strategic (although not tactical) warnings from the Intelligence Community about the deteriorating security situation in Libya." ("Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Additional Majority Views," Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 1)

  • Senate Intel Report: Intelligence Reports Made Clear That Extremist Groups In Eastern Libya Were "Plotting And Carrying Out Attacks Against U.S. And Western Interests In The Months Prior To The Attacks In Benghazi." "Intelligence reports made clear that extremist groups in eastern Libya, including Ansar Al-Sharia, were not only running training camps there, but also plotting and carrying out attacks against U.S. and western interests in the months prior to the attacks in Benghazi." ("Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Together With Additional Views," Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 24)
  • Senate Intel Report: The Intelligence Community Provided Ample Warning That U.S. Personnel Were At Risk In Benghazi. "FINDING #1: In the months before the attacks on the September 11, 2012, the IC [Intelligence community] provided ample strategic warning that the security situation in eastern Libya was deteriorating and the U.S. facilities and personnel were at risk in Benghazi." ("Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Together With Additional Views," Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 9)

Accountability Review Board: The Response From Multiple State Department Locations To The Deteriorating Security System In Libya Was "Inadequate." "In the weeks and months leading up to the attacks, the response from post, Embassy Tripoli, and Washington to a deteriorating security situation was inadequate." ("Accountability Review Board Report," Department Of State, 12/18/12, p. 5)

Senate Homeland Security Report: Increased Security Or Closure Of The Benghazi Facility " Would Have Been More Than Justified By The Intelligence Presented ." "Finding 1. In the months leading up to the attack on the Temporary Mission Facility in Benghazi, there was a large amount of evidence gathered by the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) and from open sources that Benghazi was increasingly dangerous and unstable, and that a significant attack against American personnel there was becoming much more likely. While this intelligence was effectively shared within the Intelligence Community (IC) and with key officials at the Department of State, it did not lead to a commensurate increase in security at Benghazi nor to a decision to close the American mission there, either of which would have been more than justified by the intelligence presented." ("Flashing Red: A Special Report On The Terrorist Attack At Benghazi," United States Senate Committee On Homeland Security And Government Affairs , 12/30/12, p. 5)

Hillary Clinton Admitted That She Was "Well Aware" Of The Deteriorating Security Conditions In Libya

Clinton: "I Was Certainly Aware" That There Were Reports About "The Increasing Threat Environment In Eastern Libya." SECRETARY CLINTON: "Well, I was certainly aware of a number of reports from throughout our Government. I don't know of the specific one that you are referring to. There were DoD reports, intelligence community reports, State Department reports talking about the decreasing-or the increasing threat environment in eastern Libya. That was what we were trying to address with the Libyans." (Secretary Hillary Clinton, Committee On Foreign Affairs, U.S. House Of Representatives, Testimony, 1/23/13)

Click Here To Watch

Clinton: "I Am Well Aware That There Were People Claiming To Be Associated With Al-Qaeda That Were Attempting To Influence Militias, Attempting To Exercise More Authority..." SECRETARY CLINTON: "I am well aware that there were people claiming to be associated with al-Qaeda that were attempting to influence militias, attempting to exercise more authority, along with a number of other groups that didn't necessarily work under that flag but had the same militant jihadist mentality." (Secretary Hillary Clinton, Committee On Foreign Affairs, U.S. House Of Representatives, Testimony, 1/23/13)

Click Here To Watch

TIMELINE OF BENGHAZI ATTACKS, WARNINGS, AND REQUESTS FOR HELP THAT THE STATE DEPT. DID NOT HEED

March 28, 2012: State Department Personnel In Libya Requested Additional Security, Including Five Agents For Benghazi, But A State Department Employee In D.C. Responded By Asking Why He Sought "The Sun, The Moon, And The Stars." "Yet, when the Libyan mission transmitted its official request for additional security personnel on March 28, 2012, the pushback from Ms. Lamb's office was swift and significant. While the request, which included five temporary duty Diplomatic Security agents in Benghazi, was clearly reasonable, one of Ms. Lamb's subordinates asked Mr. Nordstrom why the official cable sought 'the sun, the moon, and the stars.'" ("Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Additional Views Of Vice Chairman Chambliss And Senators Burr, Risch, Coats, Rubio, And Coburn," Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 9)

  • When Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom Inquired Why The Request Was An Issue, Deputy Assistant Secretary For International Programs Charlene Lamb Replied, "This Is A Political Game. You Have To Not Make Us Look Bad." "When Mr. Nordstrom stated that he did not understand why this was an issue, the response from Ms. Lamb's office was telling: 'Well, you know, this is a political game. You have to not make us look bad here, that we're not being responsive.'" ("Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Additional Views Of Vice Chairman Chambliss And Senators Burr, Risch, Coats, Rubio, And Coburn," Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 9)

June 6, 2012: An Attack On The U.S. Diplomatic Facility Resulted In A 40-Foot Hole In The Outer Wall. "Yet most Americans don't realize this was the second terrorist attack on the consulate, the first came on June 6, blowing a 40-foot hole in the outer wall." (J.D. Gordon, "Did Hillary Clinton's Globetrotting Ways As Secretary Of State Contribute To Benghazi Disaster?" Fox News, 11/26/13)

June 6, 2012: Ambassador Stevens Recommends The Creation Of Security Teams In Tripoli And Benghazi That Were Never Created. "On June 6, 2012, Stevens recommended the creation of [REDACTED] teams, made up of locally hired personnel, in Benghazi and Tripoli. The State Department attempted to create a team in Tripoli, but was unable to do so because it was difficult to find and clear appropriate personnel. A [REDACTED] team was never created in Benghazi despite the Ambassador's recommendation." ("Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Together With Additional Views," Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 14)

June 7-8, 2012: An Islamic Military Rally Takes Place In Benghazi With 300-Armed Men "Flying The Al Qaeda Flag, Sporting Automatic Rifles And Rocket Launchers." "Three intelligence reports recently uncovered by the American Media Institute's Richard Miniter and Susan Katz Keating detail an Islamic militant rally in Benghazi on June 7-8 with 300 armed-men, flying the Al Qaeda flag, sporting automatic rifles and rocket launchers." (J.D. Gordon, "Did Hillary Clinton's Globetrotting Ways As Secretary Of State Contribute To Benghazi Disaster?" Fox News, 11/26/13)

June 11, 2012: A Senior State Department Official Writes That The State Department In Benghazi Is "Not Staffed Or Resourced Adequately To Protect Our People In That Type Of Environment. We Are A Soft Target.'' "In a June 11, 2012, Department email exchange, Deputy Assistant Secretary Charlene Lamb observed the following with respect to Benghazi: 'This is very concerning when you start putting the events together, the anti-American demonstration, the attack on our compound, and now the U.K. Motorcade attack. If the tide is turning and they are now looking for Americans and westerners to attack, that is a game changer. We are not staffed or resourced adequately to protect our people in that type of environment. We are a soft target.'" (Committee On Foreign Affairs, U.S. House Of Representatives, Testimony, 1/23/13, p. 77)

June 11, 2012: A British Diplomatic Convoy Was Attacked In Benghazi. "U.S. citizens are advised that there was an armed attack on a UK diplomatic convoy in Benghazi on June 11. Two individuals sustained injuries. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack." ("Libya Unrest: UK Envoy's Convoy Attacked In Benghazi," BBC, 6/11/12)

June 11, 2012: After Numerous Attacks In Benghazi, The State Department Issued A Warning: "U.S. Citizens In Libya Are Urged To Exercise Caution." "U.S. citizens are advised that there was an armed attack on a UK diplomatic convoy in Benghazi on June 11. Two individuals sustained injuries. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. This incident is a reminder of the fluid security situation in Libya and is the latest in a series of attacks in Benghazi against diplomatic and international installations, including the IED attack against the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi on June 6. U.S. citizens in Libya are urged to exercise caution." (U.S. State Department, Attack In Benghazi, Press Release, 6/11/12)

June 12, 2012: A Report By The Defense Intelligence Agency Noted The Growing Ties Between Al-Qaeda And Libyan Based Terrorists. "On June 2012, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) produced a report entitled 'Libya: Terrorists Now Targeting U.S. and Western Interests.' The report noted three recent attacks against the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, the growing ties between al-Qa'ida (AQ) regional nodes and Libya-based terrorists." ("Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Together With Additional Views," Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 9-10)

June 18, 2012: The Pentagon's Joint Staff Reported "Conditions Ripe For More Attacks, Terrorist Safe Havens In Libya." "On June 18, 2012, the Pentagon's Joint Staff produced a slide in its daily intelligence report entitled, '(U) Terrorism: Conditions Ripe for More Attacks, Terrorist Safe Havens in Libya.' In the slide, the Joint Staff assessed: '[REDACTED] support will increase Libyan terrorist capability in the permissive post-revolution security environment. Attacks will also increase in the number and lethality as terrorists connect with AQ associates in Libya. Areas of eastern Libya will become a safe haven by the end of 2012 [REDACTED]." ("Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Together With Additional Views," Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 10)

July 6, 2012: The CIA Produced A Report Titled "Libya: Al-Qa'ida Establishing Sanctuary." "On July 6, 2012, the CIA produced a report entitled, 'Libya: Al-Qa'ida Establishing Sanctuary.'" ("Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Together With Additional Views," Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 10)

  • The Report Noted Attacks Will Become More Lethal Because Of Increased Al-Qaeda Connections, And That Eastern Libya Would Be Especially Problematic. "Conditions Ripe for More Attacks, Terrorist Safe Havens in Libya.' In the slide, the Joint Staff assessed: '[REDACTED] support will increase Libyan terrorist capability in the permissive post-revolution security environment. Attacks will also increase in the number and lethality as terrorists connect with AQ associates in Libya. Areas of eastern Libya will become a safe haven by the end of 2012 [REDACTED]." ("Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Together With Additional Views," Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 11)

July 9, 2012: Ambassador Stevens Submitted A Request For 13 More U.S. Security Personnel, But The State Department Never Responded. "On July 9, 2012, Stevens sent a cable to State Department headquarters requesting a minimum of 13 'Temporary Duty (TDY) U.S. security personnel for Libya, which he said could be made up of DS agents, DoD Site Security Team (SST) personnel, or some combination of the two. These TDY security personnel were needed to meet the requested security posture in Tripoli and Benghazi…The State Department never fulfilled the request and, according to Eric Nordstrum, State Department headquarters never responded to the request with a cable." ("Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Together With Additional Views," Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 15)

August 12, 2012: A Report By The Library Of Congress Found That Al-Qaeda Had Been Active In Libya Since The Early Stages Of The Libyan Revolution. "Al-Qaeda's presence in Libya was reported in the early stages of the Revolution, probably because of the rebels' violent actions and Islamist jihadist discourse, which the Qadhafi regime attempted to attribute to al-Qaeda." ("Al-Qaeda In Libya: A Profile," Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 8/12)

  • The Report Also Noted That Al-Qaeda's Goal Was To Establish An Islamic State In Libya By Undermining The Rebuilding Of The Libyan State. "This message refers to al-Qaeda's goal of establishing an Islamic state as an emirate that would be part of the envisioned Islamic caliphate. In the process, al-Qaeda will seek to undermine the current process of rebuilding Libyan state institutions as a way of preventing the establishment of strong state counterterrorism capabilities that could hinder its ability to grow in Libya. As an example of this strategy, in late May 2012, a video surfaced on YouTube from the previously unknown figure Abu Mus'ab al-Huwari and narrated by the similarly unknown Abu Dujanah al-Aquri, who identify themselves as mujahidin.' The video threatens to attack the Libyan government if it refuses to withdraw from counterterrorism agreements with the West, or if it allows its territory to be used to attack jihadists in North Africa, which appears to be a reference to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The video appeared after several attacks on international targets in eastern Libya were committed by jihadist groups, including the Brigades of the Imprisoned Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman in Benghazi." ("Al-Qaeda In Libya: A Profile," Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 8/12)

August 12, 2012: The Same Library Of Congress Report Noted That There Are A "Few Hundred" Al-Qaeda Members Operating In Libya, Most Of Them Connected With Three Groups, Including Ansar Al-Sharia. "The number of al-Qaeda militants in Libya remains unknown because of the secrecy surrounding its implantation. If the already-mentioned December 2011 CNN report is accurate, a few hundred al-Qaeda members must currently be operating in Libya. Most of them are likely connected with the three katibas-Ansar al-Sharia in Darnah, al-A'Hrar Libya in Sirt, and Dir' Libya in Kufra-that have so far attracted scrutiny by their radical rhetoric and allegiance to the black flag, which symbolizes the commitment to al-Qaeda-type militant jihad. Dir' Libya claimed to have more than seven hundred fighters in Kufra in southeast Libya in early 2012, according to its spokesman, Hayaka Alla." ("Al-Qaeda In Libya: A Profile," Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 8/12)

  • The State Department Later Confirmed That Ansar Al-Sharia Was Involved In The Benghazi Attack. "Created separately after the fall of the Qadhafi regime, Ansar al-Shari'a in Benghazi and Ansar al-Shari'a in Darnah have been involved in terrorist attacks against civilian targets, frequent assassinations, and attempted assassinations of security officials and political actors in eastern Libya, and the September 11, 2012 attacks against the U.S. Special Mission and Annex in Benghazi, Libya. Members of both organizations continue to pose a threat to U.S. interests in Libya. Ahmed Abu Khattalah is a senior leader of Ansar al-Shari'a in Benghazi and Sufian bin Qumu is the leader of Ansar al-Shari'a in Darnah." (State Department, "Terrorist Designations of Three Ansar al-Shari'a Organizations and Leaders," Press Release, 1/10/14)

August 15, 2012: A CIA Officer Briefed An Interagency Committee, Which Included State Department Personnel, About 10 Al-Qaeda And Islamist Militia Training Camps Within Benghazi. "In an August 16, 2012, cable to State headquarters, Stevens raised additional concerns about the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi following an Emergency Action Committee (EAC) meeting held on August 15, 2012, in Benghazi. The EAC is an interagency group convened periodically in U.S. embassies and other facilities in response to emergencies or security matters… A CIA office 'briefed the EAC on the location of approximately ten Islamist militias and AQ training camps within Benghazi.'" ("Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Together With Additional Views," Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 15)

August 15, 2012: The Head State Department Officer In Benghazi Stated That The "Daily Pattern Of Violence Would Be The New Normal." "In an August 16, 2012 cable to State headquarters, Stevens raised additional concerns about the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi following an Emergency Action Committee (EAC) meeting held on August 15, 2012, in Benghazi. The EAC is an interagency group convened periodically in U.S. embassies and other facilities in response to emergencies or security matters. In this case, the head State Department officer in Benghazi, called the Principal Officer, convened the meeting 'to evaluate Post's tripwires in light of the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi.' The cable summarizing this EAC concluded the following points: The Principal Officer 'remarked that the security situation in Benghazi was 'tending negatively' and 'that this daily pattern of violence would be the new normal.'" ("Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Together With Additional Views," Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 15)

August 16, 2012: Ambassador Chris Stevens Sends A Cable To Foggy Bottom That "Raised Additional Concerns About The Deteriorating Security Situation In Benghazi…" "In an August 16, 2012, cable to State headquarters, Stevens raised additional concerns about the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi following an Emergency Action Committee (EAC) meeting held on August 15, 2012, in Benghazi. The EAC is an interagency group convened periodically in U.S. embassies and other facilities in response to emergencies or security matters. In this case, the head State Department officer in Benghazi, called the Principal Officer, convened the meeting 'to evaluate Post's tripwires in light of the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi.'" ("Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Together With Additional Views," Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 15)

August 16, 2012: Ambassador Stevens Noted In The Same Cable A Regional Security Officer "Expressed Concerns With The Ability To Defend [The Benghazi] Post In The Event Of A Coordinated Attack." "In an August 16, 2012, cable to State headquarters, Stevens raised additional concerns about the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi following an Emergency Action Committee (EAC) meeting held on August 15, 2012, in Benghazi...The cable summarizing this EAC concluded the following points…(5) The Regional Security Office 'expressed concerns with the ability to defend Post in the even of a coordinated attack due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support, and the overall size of the compound.'" ("Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Together With Additional Views," Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 15)

August 19, 2012: The Pentagon's Joint Staff Produced A Report Titled "Libya: Terrorists To Increase Strength During Next Six Months." "On August 19, 2012 the Pentagon's Joint Staff produced a slide in its daily intelligence report entitled, '(U) Libya: Terrorists to Increase Strength During Next Six Months.' In the slide the Joint Staff stated: 'There are no near-term prospects for a reversal in the trend toward a safe haven in Libya, and areas of eastern Libya will likely become a broader safe haven by the end of 2012.'" ("Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Together With Additional Views," Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 11)

  • The Report Noted Eastern Libya Will Become A Terrorist Safe Haven Allowing For Increased Attacks Against Western Interests In The Country. "On August 19, 2012 the Pentagon's Joint Staff produced a slide in its daily intelligence report entitled, '(U) Libya: Terrorists to Increase Strength During Next Six Months.' In the slide the Joint Staff stated: 'There are no near-term prospects for a reversal in the trend toward a safe haven in Libya, and areas of eastern Libya will likely become a broader safe haven by the end of 2012. The conditions in Libya will allow terrorists to increase attacks against Western and Libyan interests in the country, as well as attempt attacks in the region and possibly Europe in the next six months." ("Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Together With Additional Views," Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 11)

August 30, 2012: The State Department Withdrew A Mobile Security Team Composed Of Five Security Agents From U.S. Embassy In Libya. "There are currently twenty-eight (28) U.S. security personnel (16 SST, 5 MSD, 1 RSO, 2 ARSO's, 4 TOY ARSO's) assigned to the Embassy. This number will be reduced 08/03 when the SST's security support mission comes to an end. On 08/30 the security personnel win be further reduced with the departure of the MSD [Mobile Security Team] team, which as of today, will not be replaced." ("The Security Failures Of Benghazi," Committee On Oversight And Government Reform, U.S. House Of Representatives , Hearing, 10/10/12, p. 116)

September 9, 2012: Libyans Warn American Staff That There Are Rising Threats Against Americans By Extremists In Benghazi. "It was Sept. 9, 2012. Gathered on folding chairs in a banquet hall by the Mediterranean, the Libyans warned of rising threats against Americans from extremists in Benghazi. One militia leader, with a long beard and mismatched military fatigues, mentioned time in exile in Afghanistan. An American guard discreetly touched his gun." (David Kirkpatrick, "A Deadly Mix In Benghazi," The New York Times, 12/28/13)

September 11, 2012: Ambassador Stevens Writes In His Journal, "Never Ending Security Threats…" "Stevens's [sic] final entry in his diary, dated Sept. 11, reads: "Never ending security threats…" [ellipses original] (Shane Harris, "Chris Stevens' Benghazi Diary Reveals His Brooding, Hopeful Final Days," Foreign Policy, 6/26/15)


Previous post

WH Challenges Clinton Narrative On Marriage Position Evolution

Next post

Missing: "Minimum Security Standards"
Republican National Committee

Connect With Us

Republican National Committee
Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel
News & Videos
  • 310 First Street SE, Washington, DC 20003
  • 202-863-8500

By providing your phone number, you are consenting to receive calls and SMS/MMS msgs, including autodialed and automated calls and texts, to that number from the Republican National Committee. Msg&data rates may apply. Terms & conditions/privacy policy apply 80810-info.com.

Paid for by the Republican National Committee. Not Authorized By Any Candidate Or Candidate's Committee. www.gop.com

By providing your phone number, you are consenting to receive calls and SMS/MMS msgs, including autodialed and automated calls and texts, to that number from the Republican National Committee. Msg&data rates may apply. Terms & conditions/privacy policy apply 80810-info.com.

Paid for by the Republican National Committee.
Not Authorized By Any Candidate Or Candidate's Committee. www.gop.com