According to reports from the British newspaper the Independent, the Obama administration was warned of potential attacks on U.S. embassies on the anniversary of 9/11 – and did nothing to stop them.
This, combined with the allegations that our Marines in Cairo were handcuffed on orders that they could not use ‘live ammunition’, makes the President’s failures in handling this situation even more dumbfounding.
The killings of the US ambassador to Libya and three of his staff were likely to have been the result of a serious and continuing security breach, The Independent can reveal.
American officials believe the attack was planned, but Chris Stevens had been back in the country only a short while and the details of his visit to Benghazi, where he and his staff died, were meant to be confidential.
The US administration is now facing a crisis in Libya. Sensitive documents have gone missing from the consulate in Benghazi and the supposedly secret location of the “safe house” in the city, where the staff had retreated, came under sustained mortar attack. Other such refuges across the country are no longer deemed “safe”.
Some of the missing papers from the consulate are said to list names of Libyans who are working with Americans, putting them potentially at risk from extremist groups, while some of the other documents are said to relate to oil contracts.
According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and “lockdown”, under which movement is severely restricted.
The White House is denying allegations that they had warning of a planned attack on the embassies (h/t Hot Air).
The Obama administration is flatly denying a blaring British newspaper report that the U.S. diplomats in Libya were killed as a result of a “continuing security breach,” and that “credible information” about possible attacks had been ignored.
A U.S. official told POLITICO: “There’s no intelligence indicating that the attack in Benghazi was premeditated.”…
Shawn Turner, spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, emailed: “This is absolutely wrong. We are not aware of any actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent.”
Of course, they’re parsing words by specifically denying that their was intelligence on the attack in Benghazi. The Independent’s report simply states that their was credible evidence of an attack on ‘American missions’. Henceforth, security should have been heightened in all American interests abroad. But it wasn’t.
Further, their are actual indications that diplomats in Libya knew that something was afoot. As we reported Wednesday, one of the diplomats killed in the attack, Sean Smith, had expressed concerns for his safety through an online gaming forum.
But there was also a statement from Smith that seemed to hint that something was being planned against the Libyan embassy.
“We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures.”
Those actions prompted Smith to wonder about future conversations with his fellow gamers:
“Assuming we don’t die tonight.”
Those same police forces according to the Independent all scattered when the attacks began:
According to security sources the consulate had been given a “health check” in preparation for any violence connected to the 9/11 anniversary. In the event, the perimeter was breached within 15 minutes of an angry crowd starting to attack it at around 10pm on Tuesday night. There was, according to witnesses, little defence put up by the 30 or more local guards meant to protect the staff. Ali Fetori, a 59-year-old accountant who lives near by, said: “The security people just all ran away and the people in charge were the young men with guns and bombs.”
Wissam Buhmeid, the commander of the Tripoli government-sanctioned Libya’s Shield Brigade, effectively a police force for Benghazi, maintained that it was anger over the Mohamed video which made the guards abandon their post. “There were definitely people from the security forces who let the attack happen because they were themselves offended by the film; they would absolutely put their loyalty to the Prophet over the consulate. The deaths are all nothing compared to insulting the Prophet.”
There seems to be little doubt that the guards assigned to protect the embassy were involved in this coordinated attack. When the signal was given, they abandoned our men and women inside that embassy, leaving them to die.
The President has a lot of explaining to do – just as soon as he can tear himself away from those seemingly more important campaign fundraisers.