Don’t Forget Benghazi

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on November 4, 2012

It’s nice to see that more media organizations are coming around to the realization that the Obama administration bungled the response to the Benghazi attacks, and did not take enough care in the first place to prevent those attacks from happening. One wonders what took some of the entities in the media so long to grasp the obvious, however.

And speaking of Benghazi, consider this story:

The United States considered moving its Benghazi consulate a mile away to a CIA base a month before the deadly attack by militants linked to al-Qaeda which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three.

A classified cable also reveals the U.S. mission drafted a contingency plan to suspend its operation as security in the Libyan city deteriorated amid increasing violence.

The secret cable, sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s office, reflected officials’ concerns that the Libyan militia protecting the consulate could have been infiltrated by extremists.

The message, seen by Fox News, reported the discussions from an August 15 emergency meeting, including the detail that members of the Libyan February 17 Brigade were hesitant to share information with the Americans.

Consulate staff believed they were under surveillance in the early hours of September 11 when a member of the police unit guarding the compound was found taken photographs of the inside of the mission, according to documents recovered from the site by Foreign Policy magazine.

Days after the attack, an intelligence source told Fox News: ‘One thing for sure is that the 17 Brigade was nowhere to be found and the Americans were left on their own in the assault.’

I’d certainly like to see more information about these “secret cables” and statements from anonymous sources before fully buying into the contentions made by the story, but at the very least, these are charges that the Obama administration needs to answer. This White House has claimed that it is one of the most transparent–if not the most transparent–in history, but judging the aftermath of the Benghazi attacks, you certainly wouldn’t know it.

And by the way, yes, this is a campaign issue. It was a campaign issue from the beginning and given the degree to which Hurricane Sandy has been politicized, I see no reason whatsoever why the response to Benghazi should not be politicized as well–particularly given the fact that the president of the United States wields a great deal of power when it comes to war, foreign policy, national security and diplomacy.

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