Lawmakers Grill Obama: Was Lax Security at U.S. Libya Post a Political Ploy?

By:  Alex Newman
10/23/2012
       
Lawmakers Grill Obama: Was Lax Security at U.S. Libya Post a Political Ploy?

As fallout from the deadly September 11 terror strike on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya continues to grab headlines, GOP lawmakers sent a letter to President Obama suggesting the Benghazi tragedy potentially could have been avoided or at least minimized if not for political posturing — an administration policy aimed at concealing the disastrous results of American military intervention there. Now Congress wants answers.

As fallout from the deadly September 11 terror strike on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya continues to grab headlines, GOP lawmakers sent a letter to President Obama suggesting the Benghazi tragedy potentially could have been avoided or at least minimized if not for political posturing — an administration policy aimed at concealing the disastrous results of American military intervention there. Now Congress wants answers.

Among a wide range of concerns, the Republican congressmen want to know why security at the compound was so ineffective despite repeated warnings about the extreme and growing threats. The letter also demands to know why the administration decided to pursue a policy of “normalization” in Libya, a dangerous country so recently ravaged by violence and a bloody civil war.

Separately, analysts and former officials are wondering whether anything could have been done to avert the tragedy or at least contain it after the well-coordinated attack began. According to news reports, the U.S. government had a drone in the sky shortly after the terrorist assault on the compound began.

The drone operators actually watched the final hours of the tragedy unfold, multiple media outlets have reported. Some critics also suggested that American security forces in the region could have and should have been deployed to Benghazi immediately in an effort to rescue U.S. personnel under siege.

In an October 19 letter sent to President Obama, House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the National Security Subcommittee, essentially accused the administration of denying proper security to the mission in Libya for political reasons. Senior U.S. officials, the letter explained, supplied information demonstrating that the administration repeatedly rejected requests for more security despite increasing levels of violence.

Even worse, they wrote, the administration "systematically decreased existing security to dangerous and ineffective levels." U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who was killed in the attack, had warned about the dire situation over and over again in the days and hours leading up to the attack.

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Photo: In this Sept. 18, 2012 photo, Libyans walk by an anti-Moammar Gadhafi mural in Benghazi, Libya.: AP Images

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