What We May Have Here is a Failure to Act on Timely Warnings

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on September 16, 2012

I think the following qualifies as “actionable intelligence.” Don’t you?

Three days before the deadly assault on the United States consulate in Libya, a local security official says he met with American diplomats in the city and warned them about deteriorating security.

Jamal Mabrouk, a member of the February 17th Brigade, told CNN that he and a battalion commander had a meeting about the economy and security.

He said they told the diplomats that the security situation wasn’t good for international business.

“The situation is frightening, it scares us,” Mabrouk said they told the U.S. officials. He did not say how they responded.

Mabrouk said it was not the first time he has warned foreigners about the worsening security situation in the face of the growing presence of armed jihadist groups in the Benghazi area.

Any particular reason why the Obama administration did not implement additional security precautions in light of this information? The fact that these warnings came in advance of the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks makes this question all the more pressing.

Relatedly, it is interesting to note U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s claim that the attacks in Libya were not premeditated. Interesting because that’s not what the Libyan president says:

Libya President Mohamed Yousef El-Magariaf said Sunday that 50 arrests have been made in connection with last week’s “preplanned” attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead.

“The way these perpetrators acted and moved — I think we, and they’re choosing the specific date for this so-called demonstration, I think we have no, this leaves us with no doubt that this was pre-planned, determined,” Magariaf said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“And you believe that this was the work of Al Qaeda, and you believe that it was led by foreigners. Is that what you’re telling us?” CBS host Bob Schieffer asked.

“It was planned, definitely. It was planned by foreigners, by people who entered the country a few months ago. And they were planning this criminal act since their arrival,” Magariaf said.

Magariaf said that more than 50 arrests have been made with some suspects from Mali and Algeria.

“They entered Libya from different directions. Some of them definitely from Mali and Algeria,” Magariaf said.

It seems clear that the system failed dramatically. The public deserves to find out just why and how. And yes, this is a campaign issue.

Previous post:

Next post: