Libya Warnings Went to the Top
A top State Department official acknowledged Thursday that cables warning of serious security concerns at the U.S. compound in Benghazi went to department headquarters – and possibly to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s office – in the months leading up to the deadly Sept. 11 attack.
Deputy Secretary of State Williams Burns, testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the cables “would have been reviewed up through the assistant secretary level, and it may be that some of my colleagues on the seventh floor saw them as well.” The seventh floor refers to Clinton’s office.
Further, Burns confirmed “there were certainly memos” that came to Clinton’s office describing some of the dozens of security incidents in the region before the attack that claimed four American lives.
The confirmation Thursday comes after Fox News first reported in October on one cable addressed to Clinton’s office said the U.S. Mission in Benghazi convened an “emergency meeting” less than a month before the attack because Al Qaeda had training camps in Benghazi and the consulate could not defend against a “coordinated attack.”
Fox News has since learned that Ambassador Chris Stevens sent at least 15 classified cables to the State Department between November 2011 and Sept. 11, 2012, warning that security conditions were unraveling, and there was growing evidence the Libyan brigade charged with protecting the consulate had been infiltrated.
On Thursday morning, members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee blasted State officials for their handling of the situation.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), pushed back after a State Department witness as well as a top Democrat senator suggested that inadequate funding was partly responsible for insufficient security at the consulate.
“This is not about the money,” Corker said at the hearing, the first since a report was released finding "systemic failures" at the department before the attack. “I want to know why you did not ask for the resources in Benghazi. You were aware of the security issues there. We’ve read the cables.”
He added, “If you had safety concerns, why didn’t you ask for money?”
Corker said he was skeptical that giving the State Department more money would have changed the outcome in Libya and said it’s the “culture” at the department that needed to change.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 12/20/2012
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