Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Benghazi – Security and Root Cause

This discusses two Benghazi topics, the lack of security and the root cause.

Doesn't Hillary Clinton Know the Law?

She says she didn't make security decisions on Benghazi. But that's the secretary of state's job.

June 17, 2014

In her interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer last week, Hillary Clinton said "I was not making security decisions" about Benghazi, claiming "it would be a mistake" for "a secretary of state" to "go through all 270 posts" and "decide what should be done." And at a January 2013 Senate hearing, Mrs. Clinton said that security requests "did not come to me. I did not approve them. I did not deny them."

Does the former secretary of state not know the law? By statute, she was required to make specific security decisions for defenseless consulates like Benghazi, and was not permitted to delegate them to anyone else.

The Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act of 1999, or Secca, was passed in response to the near-simultaneous bombings of U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Aug. 7, 1998. Over 220 people were killed, including 12 Americans. Thousands were injured.

Bill Clinton was president. Patrick Kennedy, now the undersecretary of state for management, was then acting assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security. Susan Rice, now the national security adviser, was then assistant secretary of state for African affairs.

As with the Benghazi terrorist attacks, an Accountability Review Board was convened for each bombing. Their reports, in January 1999, called attention to "two interconnected issues: 1) the inadequacy of resources to provide security against terrorist attacks, and 2) the relative low priority accorded security concerns throughout the U.S. government."

Just as U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens did in 2012, the U.S. ambassador to Kenya, Prudence Bushnell, had made repeated requests for security upgrades in 1997 and 1998. All were denied.  

To ensure accountability in the future, the review boards recommended "[f]irst and foremost, the Secretary . . . should take a personal and active role in carrying out the responsibility of ensuring the security of U.S. diplomatic personnel abroad" and "should personally review the security situation of embassy chanceries and other official premises." And for new embassy buildings abroad, "all U.S. government agencies, with rare exceptions, should be located in the same compound."

Congress quickly agreed and passed Secca, a law implementing these (and other) recommendations. It mandated that the secretary of state make a personal security waiver under two circumstances: when the facility could not house all the personnel in one place and when there was not a 100-foot setback. The law also required that the secretary "may not delegate" the waiver decision.

Benghazi did not house all U.S. personnel in one building. There was the consulate and an annex, one of the two situations requiring a non-delegable security waiver by the secretary of state.  

Mrs. Clinton either personally waived these security provisions as required by law or she violated the law by delegating the waiver to someone else. If it was the latter, she shirked the responsibility she now disclaims: to be personally knowledgeable about and responsible for the security in a consulate as vulnerable as Benghazi.


Root Cause - Retaliation

This is excerpted from Benghazi: The Definitive Report by Brandon Webb and Jack Murphy. You may have heard of Brandon, an ex SEAL who as a sniper laid waste to terrorists in Iraq. They know of what they write. The ebook is available for $3 on Amazon.

John Brennan is running his own private war, he is not going through the normal chain of command , and operations are not deconflicted. Ambassador Stevens, for instance, was not read in to the JSOC operations in Libya. He was kept in the dark and ultimately killed in a retaliation that he never could have seen coming. Likewise, the CIA never knew what hit them. They were trying to track down fissile material in Libya and had no way of knowing what was coming.

Ambitious bureaucrats like John Brennan need to be reined in or fired if these operations are to be successful, or we will see plenty more Benghazis happen. This occurs on a fairly regular basis in Afghanistan, where JSOC will raid a terrorist compound and kill the enemy, and the conventional units who patrol the area end up paying the price. Long after JSOC takes off in their black helicopters, the conventional forces are getting IED-ed along the roads by angry jihadists who are retaliating against any Americans they can find.

This is what really happened in Benghazi, and this is why the Obama administration is more than happy to have the media fixated on red herrings like poor security at the consulate or wound up in an intellectual Gordian knot about some YouTube video.

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