US embassy in Libya sought extension of “essential” security team
It is far from clear whether an extension of the security team would have made a difference in protecting the diplomatic post in Benghazi during the attack.
October 8th, 2012
06:29 PM ET

US embassy in Libya sought extension of “essential” security team

By Elise Labott

Amid a growing diplomatic mandate after the revolution and increased concerns about an "uncertain and unstable" security environment, the U.S. Embassy staff in Libya requested a 16-member Special Operations "security support team" remain in the country for several months beyond the end of its scheduled departure in August, calling its work "essential," according to a State Department memo obtained by CNN Security Clearance.

The request was denied.

"Given the unstable security environment, projected staffing increases, lack of physical and technical security upgrades in place and continued high volume of VIP visits, Embassy Tripoli requests an extension" of the security support team for four months, which "will allow us to implement the security transition plans recommended by the Department," reads the February 28 document.

"A loss of SST now would severely and negatively impact our ability to achieve the department's policy and management objectives at this critical time in Libya's transition," it said.

The memo, drafted by Deputy Chief of Mission Joan Polaschik, is being examined by a House Committee questioning whether there was adequate security for U.S. diplomats and missions before Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others Americans were killed in an attack on the U.S. diplomatic office in Benghazi on September 11.

It was circulated to members of the diplomatic corps and other security personnel and indicated Stevens would approve the final version.

The team of 16 Special Operations troops was sent to the capital, Tripoli, last year to help the United States establish a presence after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi. According to the document, the team was needed to provide security escorts, protect U.S. facilities, train local forces and act as a quick response force.

It was needed for "vital medical, communications, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), as well as, command and control enablers that are critical to post's security effort," the memo said.

The embassy in Tripoli had asked for an earlier extension of the security support team, which was granted. But the February draft asked for another 120-day extension beyond the scheduled departure in August, calling the team "an integral part of our mobile and fixed-site security functions" given the embassy's "large and growing mandate to support Libya's transition and rebuild the embassy facilities.

"This policy and management workload translates into a large number of movements that require security support," the request reads. "Quite simply, we cannot maintain our existing levels of embassy operations, much less implement necessary staffing increases, without a continued SST presence."

The State Department released a statement Monday saying an extension of the team would not have made a difference in protecting the diplomatic post in Benghazi during the attack.

It said the team was "based in Tripoli and operated almost exclusively there."

"The SST was enlisted to support the reopening of Embassy Tripoli, to help ensure we had the security necessary as our diplomatic presence grew," the statement said. "When their rotation in Libya ended, Diplomatic Security Special Agents were deployed and maintained a constant level of security capability. So their departure had no impact whatsoever on the total number of fully trained American security personnel in Libya generally, or in Benghazi specifically."

Although the memo specifically asks for the team to remain in Tripoli, it was used to augment security for U.S. diplomats traveling throughout the country.

In the memo, Polaschik noted that she and Stevens moved throughout the country along with other U.S. diplomatic personnel, which translated into U.S. security forces in Libya supporting 1,028 movement requests to 2,099 venues - requiring an average of 10 security agents, including those drawn from the security support team. In addition, the security teams supported 15 VIP visits, including four Cabinet-level visits, the memo stated.

Although the State Department was encouraging the embassy to develop plans to transition its security staffing to incorporate more locally based guards, the ability to execute these plans were "severely limited" by a number of factors, including inconsistent support from the Libyan government for bringing in weapons and training guards, and unreliable host government security at U.S. facilities.

The document describes an unpredictable and increasingly unstable security environment with "armed militias beyond control of the central government and frequent clashes in Tripoli and other major population centers."

"While not targeted against U.S. interests or personnel, these clashes pose a serious danger, particularly as the fledgling national police and military forces do not yet have a proven capacity to respond to these clashes - or to any calls for help from the embassy," it reads.

"Until these militias are off the streets and a strong national police force is established, we will not have a reliable, host government partner that is capable of responding to the embassy's security needs. It is likely that we will need to maintain a heightened security posture for the foreseeable future."

Within months there were a string of attacks in Benghazi. In addition a failed bombing attempt with an improvised explosive device against the compound in June, there was an attempted kidnapping of a Red Crescent staff member, a bomb attack on a U.N. convoy, a rocket-propelled grenade attack on the British ambassador's convoy, and a similar attack on an International Committee of the Red Cross facility that caused the organization to pull out of Benghazi.

In April, U.S. Special Forces troops went to the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi after the attack on the U.N. convoy spurred concerns about security. The U.S. military team went there to assess the situation and train local Libyan forces on how to better protect the facility.

The February document is one of several being examined by the House Oversight Committee, which is investigating the attacks and holding a hearing Wednesday to determine whether adequate security for U.S. diplomats and missions in Libya was available before Ambassador Stevens and the three others Americans were killed in the September 11 attack.

Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-California, called the hearing after reports from what he called whistle-blowers alleging that the State Department rejected requests for additional security.

Lt. Col. Andy Wood, the head of the security support team, and Eric Nordstrom, a former senior security officer at the U.S. Embassy in Libya, will testify alongside senior State Department officials.

Another internal State Department e-mail - also provided to CNN by a U.S. government source - shows the State Department earlier this year denied a request by the security team at the U.S. Embassy in Libya for an airplane to transport security personnel and for diplomatic business. Stevens was copied on the e-mail, which was signed by Miki Rankin of the State Department's Near East Bureau.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Friday that the decision not to keep a DC-3 plane in Tripoli - and use charter flights, instead, if needed - "is a very common practice" in places where commercial airline service is available.

In the days after the assault, U.S. administration officials offered conflicting assessments on what may have led to the fatal security breach. Senior State Department officials have maintained that despite significant improvements to security at the post over the past several months, the security personnel in Benghazi were outmanned by several dozen heavily armed extremists during the attack and that no reasonable security presence could have fended off the sustained assault the consulate faced.

Officials initially said the violence erupted spontaneously amid a large protest about a privately made video produced in the United States that mocked the Prophet Mohammed.

But the U.S. intelligence community revised its assessment. It now believes the incident was "a deliberate and organized terrorist assault carried out by extremists" affiliated with or sympathetic to al Qaeda.

For the first time, an FBI team spent "a number of hours" last week at the Benghazi attack site, Pentagon spokesman George Little said. They were accompanied by what Little described as a "small footprint of (U.S.) military personnel."

U.S. Special Operations Forces units have been in Libya, as well as nearby countries, to help collect intelligence about the assault, a U.S. military official told CNN last week. The official declined to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the information.

Officials said the military presence was an indication of ongoing security concerns in the region, which is a major reason why it took FBI agents three weeks to visit the attack site. That gap, however, has raised questions about the integrity of the FBI investigation and concerns that sensitive documents may have been left unsecured.

Three days after the attack, CNN Senior International Correspondent Arwa Damon discovered Stevens' journal during a visit to the unguarded, abandoned compound.

Last week, a Washington Post reporter visiting the site found sensitive documents, including emergency evacuation protocols, details of U.S. weapons collection efforts, and personnel records of Libyans who had been contracted to provide security.

The State Department has said no classified documents had been left on the premises.

CNN's Barbara Starr and Jill Dougherty contributed to this report.

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  9. O dropped the ball

    Tax increase for citizens = Obamacare
    Citizens getting killed because he dropped the ball = Obamadon'tcare

    It's sad that every liberal response is to compare this to incidents under Republican administrations. They effectively acknowledge that Obama dropped the ball on this by doing that and don't even see the irony or hypocrisy.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:27 am | Reply
  10. NativeBornUSA

    I'm sure this is Bush's fault too, weather changes are, imaginary slights from civil war time frame are, everything in a liberals fool mind are.....

    October 9, 2012 at 5:48 am | Reply
    • patjam

      i'm sure Iran had something to with this tragedy

      October 9, 2012 at 6:10 am | Reply
    • Ricky L

      It has as much to do with Bush decision-making as it had to do with Obama.

      In other words, none!

      October 9, 2012 at 9:00 am | Reply
    • RWG

      George Bush shouldn't be expected to show the competence a country needs in a President. That's developed by meeting life responsibilities that help a person grow and develop leadership competence. The coward who hides out so others have to risk their lives to fulfill his responsibilities in battle never gets to places where he gets the leadership and practical experience he'll need for bigger assignments. The eager business failure who exploited the benefits of declaring bankruptcy and eagerly enacts laws so those less fortunate wouldn't be able to do the same certainly learned nothing about setting moral standards.

      Imagine Cool George's surprise when he discovered even his two-term presidency couldn't make him welcome at the convention of the crowd that calls him their hero. It's tough when the people a coward has to depend on for support prove to be bigger self-serving cowards than himself. But serving their self-interest when they need you is what gets an incompetent coward elected.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Reply
  11. Doing the math

    What a surprise... a major story, a major scandal of an incompetent administration lying for political purposes is burried among other news.... talk about dishonest media.... shame on you CNN

    October 9, 2012 at 4:38 am | Reply
    • Balanced99

      Directly on point 'Doing the Math'. You would think a successful terrorist attack on 9/11 would be news worthy. After almost a month – Liberal media starting to cover because they can no longer completely ignore.

      There's three headlines that should be front and center:
      1. 9/11 Terrorist Attack
      2. State Department Ignores Requests for Ambassador's Security
      3. Obama Administration Works to Cover Up Terrorist Attack as Election Looms.

      October 9, 2012 at 7:55 am | Reply
      • Judith laGrua

        Pretty small terrorist attack. Soldiers get killed everyday and no congressional hearings are called over it. With 294 US missions around the world, there's never going to be enough personnel to protect them against physical attack. Diplomats and their embassies are considered militarily off-limits because they are not soldiers nor spies. Perhaps we need to remove our missions from those areas whose people are incapable of the most basic honorable behavior. People, for example, who would shoot a 14 year old girl in the head for seeking an education.

        October 12, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Ricky L

      The conspiracy machine crawls along.

      Until you know of the planning for the assault....under which conditions it would be know NOTHING.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:02 am | Reply
    • EnuffAlready

      Be nice to prosecute this administration. There incompetence and win the election at all costs game plan cost 4 people there lives. There needs to be some justice for that.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Reply
  12. Jitsuman know Reagan did nothing but drop a few bombs on them, thats a weak big deal.

    October 9, 2012 at 4:19 am | Reply
    • NativeBornUSA

      Is Reagan still in office? Did he lose an abassador too? Gee Abe Lincoln was shot in the back of the head due to poor security was that applicable to this story too? Duh probably not, the guy in charge now applies directly to this story for his OWN quit playing cult follower of your false messiah Obama let's fire the bum that's IN OFFICE NOW and REPSONSIBLE NOW.......

      October 9, 2012 at 5:47 am | Reply
    • Craig

      That Bombing raid blew up Daffy's house and killed his son. I think that is a little more than dropping a few bombs.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:00 am | Reply
    • Ricky L

      Reagan lost hundreds of Marines in one attack.

      It happens. Stop your election-year crocodile tears.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:04 am | Reply
  13. Cadiz

    This sounds very damning to me. Even worse that the administration also now claims that those special operations team members would have made no difference. What is up with these guys, do they think the death of the Ambassador was 'karma' or something? Is the US government under Obama now subscribing to 'predestination' as an excuse for incompetence that leads to death of American diplomatic personnel?

    That was a team of specialists who go out and set up security for new embassies and missions. Yes, they were mostly in Tripoli where they were setting up the new Embassy, but doesn't just common sense tell us, at least anybody interested in the truth, that if the Ambassador traveled to Benghazi to set up a consulate there, members of this specialist security team would have gone there with him to set that up?

    October 9, 2012 at 3:33 am | Reply
    • EnuffAlready

      This administration believes that the population will buy into whatever they say. No matter how ridiculous and completely lacking in common sense it may be.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Reply
  14. 20Independant12

    Well said Bremerton!
    As for the individual who calls himself Mr. Jackson, you are insignificant, stay under the soil and make yourself useful.

    October 9, 2012 at 1:26 am | Reply
  15. xfiler93

    Disgusting this corrupt and arrogant Administration did not help our Ambassador there, and got him killed. And the tried to cover it up. Sickening.

    October 9, 2012 at 1:11 am | Reply
    • Ricky L

      Cover what up, Mr Limbaugh?

      October 9, 2012 at 9:05 am | Reply
    • Judith laGrua

      The ambassador was there of his own free will, he wasn't drafted. He loved Libya, it was his dream appointment. I't's a dangerous part of the world and journalists, teachers, health workers in these regions are killed all the time. It's dishonest to imply that a diplomatic mission in Libya is going to offer the safety of a Starbucks on Fifth Ave. Oh, that's right, it wasn't so safe in mid-town Manhattan 10 years ago, was it?

      October 12, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Reply
      • The Silent Majority

        You are a perfect representative of liberal ignorance ( root word-ignore) and those who are incapable of seeing the failures of this Administration. You are obtuse.

        October 12, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  16. cassibear

    Why do I always have to look hard for CNN articles on relating to the terrorist attack on our Ambassador in Libya? And this is not the only story I've had to search for...other important stories in the past months haven't even made it to your web pages. I've always had my home page set to CNN, but not any longer. I can't afford to have someone picking and choosing what I should or should not read. In the past, I valued your opinion, but in the end...I value my own opinion more. I prefer to have the ability to decide for myself what's important when it comes to the security of our nation and I sure as the heck don't appreciate it when it's below non important stories such as....let's see Sandusky's audio statement....that's more important?, Van der Sloot to be a father...disgusting, wedding brawl, Rugby player jokes about lost testicle....I'm sure all of these stories are important to someone, somewhere. But not on my computer 🙁

    October 9, 2012 at 12:58 am | Reply
    • Guest

      @cassibear – Completely agree. CNN goes way out of their way to bury the leads when it has anything negative to do with this administration – or anything positive about a republican side. Big deal was made out of the slanderous ads that actually accuse Romney of nothing less than murder eventhough the employee had not been at the company for years before his wife became ill. Now that there's actual proof that Obama & Clinton not only have blood on their hands, but then they orchestrated an outright lie campaign to cover it up – CNN barely makes comment of it – and when they do, it's hidden under the trash articles that you cited. The arrogance and brazen disregard for impartiality is disgusting. It's a slippery slope from which, I'm afraid, we will never return. Congratulations CNN, etc – hope your credibility was worth a few temporary reads.

      October 9, 2012 at 3:28 am | Reply
  17. Manuel J.

    Come on all. You didn't really expect Obama to be transparent..... did you???? (sarcasm). KICK THE BUM OUT!!!!

    October 9, 2012 at 12:38 am | Reply
    • fire0bama

      I will definitely vote for Gov. Romney in Nov.

      0bama = Jimmy Carter, Jr.

      October 9, 2012 at 1:01 am | Reply
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Transparent? Nine years later, the United Nations, the world community and the American people are still waiting to see the WMDs that led to the illegitimate Iraqi war and the death of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians and thousands of U.S. troops.

      October 9, 2012 at 5:16 am | Reply
      • jim

        So your defense is that the most transparent administration in history that was to bring more light to the world is just as bad as Bush?

        Now THAT is pathetic...

        October 9, 2012 at 8:28 am |
      • JR

        Just curious. If there were no WMDs just what did Sadam use to kill those thousands of Kurds? Was it mean talk? Please keep living in your make believe world, oh, and getting a job might also help.

        October 9, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  18. Agnes Root-Canal

    Little Darrell will not doubt turn this into another one of his witch hunts. This committee is a waste of tax payer funds.

    October 9, 2012 at 12:28 am | Reply
    • smdahl

      Good point Agnes Root-canal: We should stop wasting tax payer money investigating the lack of security for our ambassador. Why don't we ask Obama & Hilary to hire more Libyans for $4/hour to investigate the Libyan $4/hr security guards they hired to replace the ambassadors' US special forces?

      October 9, 2012 at 1:08 am | Reply
      • cheapseats2

        What am I supposed to tell my children when Big Bird is no longer on television? Tell them they can't see BB and Elmo any longer because we needed more money to protect ambassadors in dangerous countries? I can't tell them that! They'll cry for an hour! We need to get our priorities straight. END SARCASM.

        October 9, 2012 at 1:41 am |
      • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

        As soon as the GOP tell us what part of Crawforf Ranch the WMDs are hidden!

        October 9, 2012 at 5:18 am |
      • TNPatriot

        Perhaps you should be asking Issa and his GOP buddies IF the $300M they cut from the State Dept SECURITY BUDGET may have had any influence on this denial.

        October 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  19. Bob

    How many died on September 11? Are we blaming Bush for that? Does anyone remember the bombing of the Mairnes in Lebanon when Reagan was President? A total of 241 Marines died in that one. Did we blame Reagan? The Obama haters will stop at nothing, this is petty, trying to blame the President for this.

    October 9, 2012 at 12:01 am | Reply
    • Manuel J.

      Bob... Obama dropped the damn ball. Just like Clinton did in Somalia. For some reason, you Lib's always seem to forget those screw ups. This tells me your a real dolt OR a damn moron!!

      October 9, 2012 at 12:40 am | Reply
      • jay

        I don't forget the sight of the Twin Towers falling. I don't forget the bombing of the Pentagon. I don't forget that the Bin Laden family was flown out of the country almost immediately. I don't forget us attacking Iraq instead of Afghanistan. I don't forget the sight of the President reading a book to children while the Towers fell!
        I don't forget many things. I don't forget that it was a Consulate in Libya, not an Embassy. I further don't forget that Libyan citizens tried to get the Ambassador to a hospital.

        October 9, 2012 at 2:02 am |
      • GaryB

        If you blame Obama for dropping the ball in Libya, you have to blame Reagan for dropping the ball in Lebanon and Bush for dropping the ball on 9/11. There were early warning signs in all cases, but people all along the line failed to put together the pieces. In fact, in the case of 9/11, we know that concerns about a possible Al Qaeda attack were part of a White House briefing in August 2011, which appears to be considerably more warning than the Obama admiinistration received in Libya.

        October 9, 2012 at 3:49 am |
      • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

        Screwup? You should take a closer look at what happened to the U.S. and the world under GWB's reckless and failed administration for 8 years.

        October 9, 2012 at 5:28 am |
    • Cadiz

      No, why blame them? They did not cancel the special security teams which may have prevented the loss of those lives. Obama's people did and lives were lost. That looks pretty damning to me.

      October 9, 2012 at 3:11 am | Reply
    • GaryB

      You're exactly right. I'm always amazed that the people who think Obama is weak because of the Benghazi incident hold Reagan completely blameless in the Lebanon bombing, even though the early warnings there were just as substantial, the death toll was higher, and Reagan responded to the deaths of hundreds of military personnel by cutting and running.

      October 9, 2012 at 3:42 am | Reply
    • Jitsuman

      No we are not blaming Bush,that was retaliation for the years we were in the middle east in the 90's so that would be a culmination of the Clinton years and a full 8 months while he was in office. No we don't blame Reagan either, he was in office for a full 9 months when that happened. they were both culminations of previous years. In both of these cases we retaliated. Libya happened a full three years after Obama took office, so he is to blame. We didn't retaliate or give a strong response.

      October 9, 2012 at 4:04 am | Reply
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer


      Thank you!

      Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians died in an illegitiimate Iraqi war and many continue to die even today because the GOP invaded and destabilized a sovereign country during peace time for no significan reason whatsoever. And 11 years later, we are still suffering casualties in Afghanistan simply because the GOP deliberately and recklessly abandoned and prolonged the Afghan war to invade Iraq. That should be a hanging offense for all republican members of congress and the fools who continue to support their treason and war atrocities.

      October 9, 2012 at 5:23 am | Reply
      • Washington Nearsider

        You include Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden in that list, right?

        After all, both voted to go to war in Iraq.

        October 9, 2012 at 8:36 am |
  20. lizzytalorburton

    What a stupid Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. I don't know how she sleeps at night with the blood of the Ambassador and three heros on her hands. We know Obama sleeps well because right after the murders he went to Las Vegas to get his dirty money. What a pair they are, they should have been kicked out immediately. What fools we are to let them go on and on like nothing happened in Libya. We are talking about human life, human life which they could have protected with marines and real bullets. What a bunch of idiots. If Hillary Clinton dares to run for President God help us and we won't forget about how stupid she handled the security in Libya and who knows what else she screwed up and continues to screw up.

    October 8, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Reply
    • cheapseats2

      She sleeps just fine. Just before she drifts off to sleep, she mutters about how things would be different if George Bush had never been elected. It's the Democratic way: we're all victims.

      October 9, 2012 at 1:43 am | Reply
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Yes, the thousands of innocent American soldiers who died in vain in Iraq were also innocent lives lost and the tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians who died as a result of the GOP's war atrocities were also inncoent lives lost. And those innocent Iraqi civilians who continue to die as a result of a war that has destabilized their country and ignited a civil war are also innocent lives lost. And our soldiers who continue to die in Afghanistan in a war the GOP deliberately and recklessly abandoned and prolonged to invade Iraq are also innocent lives lost.

      October 9, 2012 at 5:33 am | Reply
  21. Geoff

    Cover up !!!

    October 8, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Reply
  22. reply

    Sounds like ObamaCare–I don't care!

    October 8, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Reply
  23. Mark

    Really? Are you morons still posting about which party is better?
    Until you get it together and start voting smart at the bottom level to replace the crooks at the top, nothing is going to change.

    If you vote Obama or Romney, or Dem/GOP, you are throwing our nations future away.

    October 8, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Reply
  24. Vic

    Maybe Congressman Issa can put himself on the witness stand during the investigation, and ask himself why he voted to cut embassy security funds months ago. Maybe that will give him the answer as to why there wasn't enough security.

    October 8, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Reply
  25. GEdwards

    And the Oblemmings STILL don't care. Pres Obama can do no wrong in their view, and to think otherwise is racist.

    October 8, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Reply
  26. Frank Jordon

    2977 killed on 9/11 when Bush was asleep at the wheel. 4 killed when the Obama administration blew it.

    October 8, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Reply
    • GEdwards

      What's your point? That those four dead don't matter and neither does the President's incompetence?

      October 8, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Reply
      • Frank Jordon

        The point is that people have been killed by terrorist during both administrations. To suggest that because 4 were killed under the current administration is gross incompetence would then suggest that 2977 being killed is criminal. But it didn't keep you for voting for Bush a second time (even after he then started an unnecessary war killing another 4486 Americans ). So quit the whole drama about how Obama is to blame, the argument is ridiculous beyond belief.

        October 8, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Mark

      Stop posting your insight, Frank. You have none.

      October 8, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Reply
    • My V. Nguyen Michigan

      George W. Bush is one of the worst Presidents in the 21st Century. In his 8 years in the White House, the US suffered a terrible attack. He led the US in 2 losing Wars. The new Homeland Security failed big time during Katrina. The US suffered an exodus of jobs to China while foreigners came to take American jobs, legally and illegally. We went from one jobless recovery to jobless recovery.

      Oh, we suffered the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression. George W. Bush is a disgraced man, and those who put him in the White House should join him in the Hall of Shame.

      October 8, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Reply
      • Mark

        The Clinton Admin was the cause of both our economy melt down and 9/11. Both the wars in the middle east are won.

        The Exodus of jobs – Clinton.
        Katrina was a local Gov matter to which the Fed Gov couldnt intervene unless asked – They werent.

        Stimulus was a Dem thing, throwing money at a problem when personal responsibility was required. But hey, keep voting Dem. Spend my money on the lazy and stupid by popular vote.

        October 8, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
      • The Silent Majority

        Admit nothing, deny everything, make accusations against Bush. So transparent and ignorant just like Obama.

        October 9, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • DB

      Oh Come on, give me a break. Who would have known that a bunch of Arab dirt bags would hijack 4 commercial airliiners and fly them into those buidlings. Let's look a little further back and ask what peaved them off, it was the Clintons who betrayed them and sent in cruise missles targeted at them after the State Department betrayed them. The so called terrorists that we funded and armed against the Russians were betrayed by us when the Russians left. Who was in charge then, THE DEMOCRATS! Now when the Embassy staff knew that the needed additional security it was ignored by the very same party lines all the way up to the POTUS! Any person in that line that knew of the need for more security and did not allow it needs to be cut free from their Federal Careers including Obama who should be IMPEACHED for ignoring his duty to protect and serve (his oath) the United States of America which that Embassy was! SIMPLE, SWEET, and to the POINT. He does not deserve another term after all the blunders he has done in the last 4 years. Bush, yes he was an idiot but that was 4 years ago and Obama has been in charge for 4 years now and he has failed to do his job and needs to be fired.

      October 8, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Reply
      • Frank Jordon

        As the 9/11 Commission noted, "There were more than 40 intelligence articles in the PDBS [Presidential Daily Briefings] from January 21 to September 11". The direct warnings to Mr. Bush about the possibility of a Qaeda attack began in the spring of 2001. By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible. To suggest that no one could have possible known is ridiculous.

        October 8, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
  27. Mark

    IMO, internal embassy security is the job of the US. External security is the job of the nation the embassy is in.

    An attack on an embassy is an act of war if done by the hosting nation. If it is done by that nations people, it is the job of that nation to protect that embassy as if it was its own nations capital. Libya should have responded with every means at its disposal to protect our embassy..

    The extra security wouldnt have done much, if anything.

    October 8, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Reply
    • Sandra

      Mark, thank you for putting it so succinctly. The current Libyan government is very weak, but that is no excuse for taking NO action against those who killed American citizens and destroyed US property. The fact that the Libyans did not even set up a perimeter around the destroyed buildings seems to indicate Libya does not care about protecting US property. So, why is the US there? I thought it was to help Libya. But they do nothing to assure Americans are safe to do so...

      October 9, 2012 at 6:47 am | Reply
  28. notagain

    So US was establishing and training local fractions. Without congressional approval, Obama attacked Libya which posed no danger to US. They were helping Libyans my foot. They were helping with our money the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt and Libya and now trying to involve Turkey with Syria to get to "help" their buddies, stinking Turkey to get a foot into Syria and in return no US president will say Armenian genocide (only Reagan did). Really, stay out of that stinking region. Stay out of Iran. They should blow up each other since they have plenty of infidels of their own

    October 8, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Reply
  29. Lee in Iowa

    Oh hello. The reason State Department couldn't send more protection personnel was the Republican Congress slashed deeply into their budget when Obama Admin asked for help. Let's tell the WHOLE story, please.

    October 8, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Reply
    • Frank

      Are you kidding...trying to blame the republicans. The Secretary of State is in charge of the embassy and consulates. Republicans have nothing to do with it. If you want touring up costs that need to be cut, how about the 1.4 billion to cover President's expenses at the white house. What about the fact the President lied about it being a terrorist attack forever a week, pushing that unbelievable movie trailer story.

      October 8, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Reply
      • Gary


        October 8, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
      • Frank Jordon

        What are you talking about? I never suggested Republicans are to blame. I am suggesting that if you want to lay blame for this terrorist attack on Obama, then you have to blame Bush for 9/11.

        October 9, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • Zach

      Typical clueless Obama stooge. he wasn't denied more security because of budget cutbacks you moron. But since you brought it up, more Democrats voted for that bill to slash funding.

      October 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  30. Sizemonius

    I can't believe CNN is actually covering this. The stories we usually see from CNN are "stories" about the magnificence of our current President and how he can do no wrong and how Soledad is pining to be his mistress.

    October 8, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Reply
  31. Pat

    How ironic that liberals have been calling Romney a liar!

    October 8, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Reply
  32. BP

    As a conservative may I ask one simple question: "Why couldn't you freaking Democrats have been a little smarter and given Hillary the nomination?" She could never have been this bad...I don't think...

    October 8, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Reply
    • drasty

      we did not hate obama like you folks hate romney, plus he bought you clowns lock stock and barrel.

      October 8, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Reply
    • My V. Nguyen Michigan

      Maybe Hillary might be too aggressive going against Obama during the final months of the primary neo-cons.

      October 8, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Reply
  33. anti-rhetoric

    The issue is the cover up. bremerton's got it right. The evaluation is not whether we could have avoided the attack, because we will never know. We can only put or people in a place to minimize risks. The problem is the administration's promises and failure to live up to them. If your people make a mistake – its your watch and regardless of what you knew or didn't know, you own it. Take responsibility and learn from mistakes. The energy expended in side-stepping responsibility is wasted energy that could have been used to help minimize the risks for others.

    October 8, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Reply
  34. bear

    So Fox has been hammering this story since day one while CNN was totally silent on it. Nice to see you guys start to catch up.

    October 8, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Reply
  35. bear

    I do not blame Obama for this. The decision was way below him. But whoever decided to deny the security needs to be fired. This was a really stupid call and someone should be held accountable.

    October 8, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Reply
    • Michael

      I whole heartedly disagree. The buck stops at the president. He and the secretary of state need to know what's going on- especially when it comes to the basic safety of American officals abroad. Claiming willful ignornance is just as bad as deception and cover up. One or both almost assuredly is going on here so it's time to do his job and explain.

      October 8, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Reply
      • drasty

        might as well abolish congress , they were too busy with eric holder . congress makes the rules, congress pays the bills, so far as i know, congress has has been praying for something like this to happen . TRAITORS !

        October 8, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
      • drasty

        if congress knew about the bin laden raid in advance, they would have called pakistan.

        October 8, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
      • Frank Jordon

        Employees in the State Department:
        11,500 Foreign Service employees
        7,400 Civil Service employees
        31,000 Foreign Service National employees

        I gather you believe that the President should be reviewing these 50,000 employees every day? Golly Michael I'm sure the 1.7 second review will be of great value.

        October 8, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Tptlead

      This is part of high-level decisions to outsource security at U.S. embassies and interests worldwide. Yes, Obama is part of the decision to outsource security of U.S. interests to private firms. The State Department should be designated as a branch of the military with the tens of thousands of security and troops under its control. We have no idea who many of the people being hired by these security contractors are. The State Department puts out public contracts, many of which are obtained my foreign companies who then subcontract much of the work to locals. The Obama adminstration is OK with this as they see it as a useful way to pump money into these countries.

      This is all public information published in government registries. It is amazing the press has not (or would not) pick up onthe outsourcing of U.S. security interests.

      October 8, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Reply
    • Pat

      It is a horrible tragedy that 4 people had to die because a request for security was denied. It's disgusting that Obama and his administration lied and tried to cover it up!

      October 8, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Reply
    • The Silent Majority

      Wow, all these crack reporters at CNN didn't think it would be worth getting an answer from Sec State Hillary. Too close to the election of your messiah...could have rubbed off on him eh?. Conservatives and moderates get it, that's why you will always be second to Fox and you will be responsible for your grandchildren standing in line for health care.

      October 8, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Reply
  36. Jeff Fisher

    Wow, so the debate wasn't the only thing he was completely unprepared for. At least nobody died in Denver though. How much more of his job has he just been asleep at the wheel for???

    October 8, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Reply
  37. steve

    It appears that Hillary and the President killed the ambassador.

    October 8, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Reply
    • drasty

      how about yo mama did it with her mighty ass.

      October 8, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Reply
  38. Mr.Jackson

    These absurd agit prop antics by the Republican Party are a distraction.

    Everyone involved in financing, making, distributing, advertising and promoting the anti-muslim video was a member of the Republican Party.

    The terrrorists in Libya (Gaddafi loylalists) KNEW IN ADVANCE about the video and the protests. They used the demonstration as a cover.

    This murderous stunt by the Republican Party will be exposed before the election.

    October 8, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Reply
    • bremerton

      Couple of points you got wrong... the terrorists were al Qaeda not Gaddafi loyalists, and the evidence seems to indicate that the riots happened after the assault. You made the charge of murderous Republicans, a very serious charge, got any names and facts to go with the accusation? Or was your response just thrashing around to defend Obama?

      October 8, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Reply
    • Michael

      Wow- that's one heck of an LSD influenced theory. It's disgusting that no one from the administration at any level has come out with an explanation of what when on both before and after 9/11 in Libya. Any reasonable person looks at the facts and can't help but see a cover up to some degree. The "transparent" Obama administration owes us this. Stop playing politics with dead American lives and live up to your oath of office.

      October 8, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Reply
    • bear

      Wow, I bet you believe Jews flew the 9/11 planes also. You make birthers sound rational.

      October 8, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Reply
    • The Silent Majority

      They actually give people like you drivers licenses. Amazing...

      October 8, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Reply
    • notagain

      Mr.Jackson, they did not use video demonstrations as cover up, it was done on Sep.11 how much more clear that can be? It was cover up by Obama, repeating over and over about video having a full knowledge about terrorist act

      October 8, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Reply
    • Balanced99

      We should take a poll – Who does Mr. Jackson work for:
      – CNN
      – A Network News Channel
      – The NY Times or Washington Post
      – The DNC
      – The Obama Adminstration

      October 9, 2012 at 8:00 am | Reply
  39. bremerton

    US Special Operations Forces would have been able to do more than just fight off the attackers, they would have been able to provide assessments that might have prevented a number of factors from playing themselves out as they did. We can't sit here and pretend to know exactly what have worked to stop the attack but we can and do know that for whatever reasons a choice was made to not deploy them and what happened is history. You can't prevent every attack, everywhere, but it is most certainly fair game to ask questions and take steps so that the errors are not repeated.

    The Obama Administration made some choices that had consequences, but America is also nearing a decision point where we can choose we want to lead this nation. His opponent will have his chance to tell us what he would differently, and this will factor in to our decision in November. All I know is that I am not impressed with the response we've seen thus far and there is nothing that I want to see less than a President who offered the rhetoric we've seen thus far. I want to see a man who is capable of accepting responsibility and leveling with the American public and not a lot has changed in that regard. Bush wasn't the poster child for transparency and despite the promises four years ago that he would, Obama has not delivered. Not even close. We don't need secrets to be revealed but we do have a right to have leaders who can level with us regardless of the impact it might have on his re-election.

    October 8, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Reply
    • jackie

      And you believe that Romney would be that leader? I guess he might or he might not. It is so hard to know what he believes since it changes with the political winds. I can understand people being disappointed in Obama. I cannot understand anyone trusting Romney.

      October 8, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Reply
      • Balanced99

        Of course – Obama 'evolves' when he flip flops.

        What are all the items you believe Romney flipped on. You sound like one of those people who actually believe all the lies Obama, Biden, Reid and Pelosi constantly spew.

        October 9, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • Gary

      You're expecting Mitt Romney to level with you? He did - in that painful 48% video, where he said the Middle East is unsolvable and he would "kick the ball ahead" and hope something turns up. As Madeleine Albright said, "shallow".

      October 8, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Reply
  40. OffTheWorldPolitics

    See that ball rolling downhill, it's the one the Obama administration dropped.

    October 8, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Reply

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