State Dept. opens probe into attack on consulate
WASHINGTON — Past investigations into attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions have blamed both the administration and Congress for failing to ensure that the overseas facilities were safe despite a clear rise in terror threats to American interests abroad.
An Associated Press examination of two reports that are easily accessible to the public — those created after the devastating Aug. 7, 1998, bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania — may offer clues to the possible outcome of the investigation begun by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton into last month's attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
That attack by what is now believed to be al-Qaida-linked militants has become fraught with election-year politics as Republicans accuse Obama administration officials of dissembling in the early aftermath on what they knew about the perpetrators and for lax security at the diplomatic mission in a lawless part of post-revolution Libya.
Two House Republican leaders this week accused the administration of denying repeated requests for extra security at the Benghazi consulate, where Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed on the 11th anniversary of 9/11.
A five-member accountability review board appointed by Clinton will begin looking at whether security at the consulate was adequate and whether proper procedures were followed before, during and immediately after the attack.
Sensitive documents remained only loosely secured in the wreckage, offering visitors easy access to delicate information about American operations in Libya.
Documents detailing weapons collection efforts, emergency evacuation protocols, the full internal itinerary of Stevens' trip and the personnel records of Libyans who were contracted to secure the mission were among the items scattered across the floors of the looted compound when a Washington Post reporter and a translator visited on Wednesday.
Looters and curiosity seekers were free to roam in the initial chaotic aftermath in Benghazi, and many documents may have disappeared.
Two private security guards paid for by the compound's Libyan owner are the only people guarding the sprawling site.
“Securing the site has obviously been a challenge,” said Mark Toner, deputy spokesman at the State Department.
At least one document found amid the clutter indicates that Americans at the mission were discussing the possibility of an attack in early September, just two days before the assault took place. The document is a memorandum dated Sept. 9 from the U.S. mission's security office to the 17th February Martyrs Brigade, the Libyan government-sanctioned militia that was guarding the compound, making plans for a “quick reaction force,” or QRF, that would provide security.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Terror ruled out in mysterious Toronto tunnel
- U.S. says China preps more ship, airfield stations
- Double bomb blasts kill 34 in Nigeria city
- Ukrainian sides pull heavy weapons from front in 11th-hour effort to comply with Minsk agreement
- Judge rejects Argentina’s role in cover-up of Iran’s involvement in blast at Jewish center
- Islamic State reign of terror unabated in Syria
- Antarctica contains clues to answers ‘we can’t afford to ignore’
- Obama makes progress on emptying Guantanamo of detainees
- At least 24 killed in double blast in Nigeria
- Gunfire at restaurant that killed 8 an anomaly for Czech Republic
- Don’t rush to judgment on Iran, Kerry cautions