June 9, 2014

Clinton Denies She Should Have Done More Personally On Benghazi

In her interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, Clinton was asked what she should have done more “personally” to ensure the safety of U.S. personnel in Benghazi. Clinton replied “I’m not equipped to sit and look at blue prints,” passing the buck to security professionals.

But did Clinton actually need to be a security expert to have done more personally? There were repeated security requests from individuals on the ground that her Department denied that could have helped ensured the safety of U.S. personnel. These were events leading up to the attack:

  • At least 20 security incidents occurred against “the temporary mission facility, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and third-country nationals and diplomats in the Benghazi area in the months leading up to the September 11, 2012 attacks.”
  • On June 6, 2012, an attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility resulted in a 40-foot hole in the outer wall. Following the assault, a State Department Regional Security Officer asked for stronger security for the compound but was denied.
  • As a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report highlighted, many intelligence reports from numerous agencies 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.”
  • And Clinton admitted she “was certainly aware” that there were reports about “the increasing threat environment in Eastern Libya.”

Any leader – blue print expert or not – who was looking at these facts could see that that individuals stationed in Benghazi were at increasing risk.