Whistle blowers have approached the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform with information suggesting that security at the Benghazi consulate had greatly deteriorated in the time leading up to the assassinations of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. There were two explosions at the consulate and increasing threats and attacks on the Libyan nationals hired to provide security at the U.S. missions in Tripoli and Benghazi. There were threats made on FaceBook. The page entry showed the route Stevens took for his morning jog. The Obama administration has said there was no specific intelligence predicting the 9/11 anniversary assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The same whistle blowers also assert that the consulate petitioned the State Department for more security but its requests were ignored.
The House Committee has sent a letter to Hillary Clinton demanding more information and will reconvene for an investigation later this month. The letter states;
Below is a list of attacks and events compiled by the Committee from the six months prior to the murder of Ambassador Stevens that we understand were a basis for repeated resource requests:
· April 6, 2012, BENGHAZI – Two Libyans who had been fired from a contractor providing unarmed static security for Consulate Benghazi, threw a small IED over the Consulate fence. There were no casualties or damage and the suspects were arrested but not prosecuted.
· April 11, 2012, BENGHAZI – A gun battle between an unidentified armed group and forces loyal to the Transitional National Council (TNC) occurred about 4km from Consulate Benghazi. The unidentified armed group attacked a Ministry of the Interior building in an attempt to seize a fleet of vehicles that had belonged to the Gaddafi regime. The gun battle included use of antiaircraft guns and RPGs.
· April 25, 2012, TRIPOLI – A US Embassy Local Guard Force officer traveling in a diplomatically-plated vehicle was detained and his Embassy-issued radio seized at a militia checkpoint. He was released without further incident.
· April 26, 2012, BENGHAZI – While a Foreign Service officer stationed at Consulate Benghazi was attending a trade-related event at the International Medical University, a fistfight escalated to gunfire between security forces for the trade delegation and militia providing security for the University. A US Foreign Service officer was evacuated by members of the 17th of February Martyrs Brigade, a Libyan militia, stationed at Consulate Benghazi.
· April 27, 2012, BENGHAZI – Two South African contractors were kidnapped by armed men while walking through a residential area of Benghazi. After a brief interrogation about their nationality and purpose in Libya, they were released unharmed.
· May 1, 2012, TRIPOLI – The Deputy Commander of Embassy Tripoli’s Local Guard Force was carjacked, beaten and detained by a group of armed youth. He escaped by climbing over a fence and notifying the Embassy by phone. Libyan security forces fought a gun battle with the assailants in order to recover a number of stolen vehicles and release other detainees.
· May 22, 2012, BENGHAZI – Two RPG rounds were fired at the Benghazi office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), approximately 1 km from Consulate Benghazi. The attack occurred during the early morning hours and there were no casualties. A Facebook posting that claimed responsibility for the attack said: “After we confirmed that the ICRC were giving out the Bible to the refugees of Tuwerga in Benghazi, a group of Mujaheddin attacked the HQ of the ICRC with an RPG and it targeted the meeting room inside the building. We didn't want to hurt the Christians it is just a warning, we also didn't want to hurt any Muslims working there. We recorded it on video and will publish it soon – so the ICRC must take down their flag with the red cross and close its offices in Libya. We announce that Libya is an Islamic State. We did not attack the Sahara Bank. Finally, now we are preparing a message for the Americans for disturbing the skies over Derna.”
· June 2012 – Ambassador Stevens was in the habit of taking early morning runs around Tripoli along with members of his security detail. According to sources, sometime in June 2012, a posting on a pro-Gaddafi Facebook page trumpeted these runs and directed a threat against Ambassador Stevens along with a stock photo of him. It is reported that, after stopping these morning runs for about a week, the Ambassador resumed them.
· June 6, 2012, BENGHAZI – Under cover of darkness, assailants placed an IED on the north gate of Consulate Benghazi, blowing a hole in the security perimeter that was described by one individual as, “big enough for forty men to go through.”
· June 10, 2012, BENGHAZI – On or about June 10, 2012, a two-car convoy carrying the British Ambassador to Libya from a conference on reforming Libyan military law was attacked in broad daylight by a militant with an RPG. This attack was an important escalation in the violence against Western targets in Benghazi, as prior attacks had been at night and were often preceded by warnings from the attackers. Photos from the aftermath of the attack are attached.
· Late June 2012, BENGHAZI – The ICRC building was attacked again, this time in broad daylight while people were inside. Once the ICRC pulled out, the US Consulate was the last Western flag flying in Benghazi, making it an ideal target for militants.
· August 6, 2012, TRIPOLI – Armed assailants attempted to carjack a vehicle bearing diplomatic plates operated by U.S. security personnel.
· WEEKS BEFORE September 11, 2012, BENGHAZI – The unarmed Libyan guards employed by British contractor Blue Mountain Group were being warned by their family members to quit their jobs guarding Consulate Benghazi because there were rumors in the community of an impending attack.
You can read the entire letter here and Eli Lake at the Daily Beast has an excellent post on the lamentable conditions that prevailed in Benghazi prior to the fatal attack.
Update: There will be no FBI investigation of the assassination of Ambassador Chris Stevens. All personnel has been removed from the Benghazi consulate.
“Everybody who was in Benghazi and posted there has been withdrawn,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. She said she knew of no other U.S. government employees in the city to help investigate the attack or perform other work.