Libyan pol: It was obvious that the consulate in Benghazi needed much better security

posted at 5:21 pm on September 13, 2012 by Allahpundit

Via Ace, maybe we can get the media interested in the administration’s negligence here if we start referring to it as a “gaffe.”

As gaffes go, this one’s a biggie:

[A]lthough the scene in the American consulate’s canteen in Benghazi on Tuesday morning looked serene, under the surface there were signs of potential trouble, according to the Libyan politician who had breakfast with Stevens the morning before the ambassador and three other Americans died in a violent assault by armed Islamic militants. “I told him the security was not enough,” Fathi Baja, a political science professor and one of the leaders of Libya’s rebel government during last year’s revolution, told TIME on Thursday. “I said, ‘Chris, this is a U.S. consulate. You have to add to the number of people, bring Americans here to guard it, because the Libyans are not trained.”…

U.S. officials told reporters on Wednesday that the Benghazi consulate had “a robust American security presence, including a strong component of regional security officers.” And indeed, one of the four Americans killed was a former Navy SEAL, Glen Doherty, who was “on security detail” and “protecting the ambassador,” his sister Katie Quigly told the Boston Globe. Also killed was an information management officer, Sean Smith. The fourth American who died has not yet been identified. Yet Baja described a very different picture from his visit on Tuesday morning, even remarking at how relaxed the scene was when he returned to the consulate building a short while after leaving Stevens, in order to collect the mobile phone he had accidentally left behind. “The consulate was very calm, with video [surveillance] cameras outside,” Baja said. “But inside there were only four security guards, all Libyans—four!—and with only Kalshnikovs on their backs. I said, ‘Chris, this is the most powerful country in the world. Other countries all have more guards than the U.S.,’” he said, naming as two examples Jordan and Morocco.

Again, this was the anniversary of 9/11 and a consulate that had been targeted before in a country where armed militias still patrol the streets. In a way, I could understand if the White House had taken a chance with less security at the embassy in Cairo: The Egyptian military and police still have a monopoly on force, more or less, so the State Department powers that be might have concluded that the threat of a full-on attack was relatively small. Not so in Libya. You have a fledgling national army there and a culture that’s still transitioning to something resembling civil society after decades of Qaddafi. Jihadis didn’t need state complicity to carry out their plan to hit the consulate (on the contrary, the Libyan government has been contrite over what happened), so it was essential that the U.S. provide its own security. It didn’t. How come, Foreign-Policy President?

Speaking of taking a chance on less security in Egypt, lots of people are e-mailing about a story at the Washington Free Beacon noting a report that Marines at the Cairo embassy weren’t allowed by Ambassador Anne Patterson to carry live ammo. The original report cites “USMC blogs” for that claim, but Time reporter Mark Thompson says he can’t find any blogs alleging that. In a statement to Time, a Pentagon spokesman said, “With or without a weapon, Marines are always armed. I’ve heard nothing to suggest they don’t have ammunition.” I’ll update with more info as I hear of it. Needless to say, if the administration is disarming its own security, that’s a story “gaffe” worth covering. The good news? At least there were Marines on the scene in Cairo, armed or not. If only that had been true in Benghazi.

Exit question: What did the Foreign-Policy President have to do yesterday that was so important that he decided to skip his daily intel briefing — the day after an American ambassador was murdered? Ah, right.

Update: According to Mother Jones, a memo from the Corps’ congressional liaison says that the Marines at the Cairo embassy did indeed have live ammo:

The Ambassador did not impose restrictions on weapons or weapons status on the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group (MCESG) detachment. The MCESG Marines in Cairo were allowed to have live ammunition in their weapons. The Ambassador and Regional Security Officer have been completely and appropriately engaged with the security situation. Reports of Marines not being able to have their weapons loaded per direction from the Ambassador are not accurate.

Jake Tapper’s being told the same thing by an Obama administration official.

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Exit question: What did the Foreign-Policy President have to do yesterday that was so important that he decided to skip his daily intel briefing — the day after an American ambassador was murdered? Ah, right.

A new shipment of some primo wee-wee from Hawaii?

slickwillie2001 on September 13, 2012 at 6:57 PM

Exit question: What did the Foreign-Policy President have to do yesterday that was so important that he decided to skip his daily intel briefing — the day after an American ambassador was murdered? Ah, right

…has anybody been able to confirm if our ambassador was sodomized before he was murdered?

KOOLAID2 on September 13, 2012 at 7:01 PM

There is absolutely no justification for the JEF-in-Chief NOT to be in Washington , D.C. in constant and close consultation with military and national security advisors about this worsening situation. None. Him being out on the stump instead bloviating abour “bringing the perpetrators to justice” is unconscionable and weak tea indeed.

natasha333 on September 13, 2012 at 7:11 PM

…has anybody been able to confirm if our ambassador was sodomized before he was murdered?

KOOLAID2 on September 13, 2012 at 7:01 PM

The scary thing, to me, is that we will probably never know the answers to a lot of our questions. The Obama media gets to decide what is newsworthy. We will know every liberal in the country’s opinion on what time Romney could have made a statement without scorn, but we’ll never know what really happened over there.

Night Owl on September 13, 2012 at 7:11 PM

There is absolutely no justification for the JEF-in-Chief NOT to be in Washington , D.C. in constant and close consultation with military and national security advisors about this worsening situation. None. Him being out on the stump instead bloviating abour “bringing the perpetrators to justice” is unconscionable and weak tea indeed.

natasha333 on September 13, 2012 at 7:11 PM

It might have been a good idea for the Ambassador to Egypt to actually BE in Egypt on 9/11/01, you know, just in case the head of the Embassy might be needed. But she was here, probably campaigning for Obama bin Biden.

Night Owl on September 13, 2012 at 7:14 PM

9/11/12

Night Owl on September 13, 2012 at 7:27 PM

…I was young but remember Carter..he wasn’t this bad!…the press was biased…but weren’t ACTIVE in participating to ‘brainwash’ the public!

KOOLAID2 on September 13, 2012 at 7:29 PM

The scary thing, to me, is that we will probably never know the answers to a lot of our questions. The Obama media gets to decide what is newsworthy. We will know every liberal in the country’s opinion on what time Romney could have made a statement without scorn, but we’ll never know what really happened over there.

Night Owl on September 13, 2012 at 7:11 PM

…they ommited the stick we SAW them sticking into the former Lybian leader…the phone video we saw AFTER, they told us he had been shot (executed)!

KOOLAID2 on September 13, 2012 at 7:33 PM

“With or without a weapon, Marines are always armed. I’ve heard nothing to suggest they don’t have ammunition.”

Pentagon spokesman?

How can you be “armed” without a weapon? By definition, if you have no weapon, you are unarmed.

I’m sorry, but when your first statement is is patent nonsense, any claims that follow, unsupported by any evidence, have ZERO credibility.

As for any reporter from Time, zero credibility as well. I will no longer take anything thing said by any member of the Mainly Scumbags Media at face value. If it has anything to do with the Obama administration, I will presume it is a lie intended to serve Empty Chair’s interests until irrefutable evidence to the contrary emerges. Until we hear from Marine guards themselves, I’m reserving judgment. Especially since the whole idea of disarming Marine guards seem to fit perfectly with Hillary’s well-known aversion to anyone being allowed to have a firearm, except possibly the Secret Service and her personal bodyguard.

novaculus on September 13, 2012 at 8:03 PM

There is absolutely no justification for the JEF-in-Chief NOT to be in Washington , D.C. in constant and close consultation with military and national security advisors about this worsening situation. None. Him being out on the stump instead bloviating abour “bringing the perpetrators to justice” is unconscionable and weak tea indeed.

natasha333 on September 13, 2012 at 7:11 PM

No, we want him out of DC for two reasons: Bad, really bad, optics for him, showing his disinterest in a crisis situation (cue the ads) and, more important, his not being there lessens somewhat the chance that he’ll f**k things up and get more of our people killed.

TXUS on September 13, 2012 at 8:06 PM

Reports of Marines not being able to have their weapons loaded per direction from the Ambassador are not accurate.

1. Did anyone else instruct the Marines not to carry live ammo?

2. Did the Marines actually have live ammo?

Lawdawg86 on September 13, 2012 at 8:14 PM

Reports of Marines not being able to have their weapons loaded per direction from the Ambassador are not accurate.

I’ll believe that when I hear it from someone under oath.

If not for European and North African media, the only story we would have is Hillary’s crap -that the ambassador died of smoke inhalation, and all those people dragging him through the streets were really good samaritans taking him to the hospital. We would have never heard of the rapes, and I expect we will learn of more horrors. I still haven’t heard how the others died.

slickwillie2001 on September 13, 2012 at 8:24 PM

Paul Mirengoff at Powerline reports the Corps has issued a statement to the effect the guards were not disarmed and were permitted to carry ammunition.

I’ll accept the official word of the Corps until and unless other evidence to the contrary emerges.

Having said that, it is abundantly clear that security at our embassies and consulates is completely inadequate, and State Department officials from Hillary down are clueless or in denial regarding the nature and the magnitude of the threats.

novaculus on September 13, 2012 at 8:32 PM

I hope the Hot Air staff caught what Obama said in Colorado today when he was pretending to be a competent CIC.

He told the audience his top priority was to protect our people in the embassies (don’t have exact quote).

He said that knowing that the embassy in Libya was NOT adequately protected on 9/11/12, which led to the deaths of four Amricans.

If we had a responsible MSMedia this would be the end of Obama and probably Hillary. She was months away from being free of Obama’s disaterous presidency–unscathed. Wonder what Bill is thinking now.

bailey24 on September 13, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Tell me again what Nixon did that was so momentous that his own party leaders went to the White House to tell him to resign?

cane_loader on September 13, 2012 at 9:35 PM

I would like to know exactly what a president has to do nowadays to be impeached?

cane_loader on September 13, 2012 at 9:36 PM

I would like to know exactly what a president has to do nowadays to be impeached?

cane_loader on September 13, 2012 at 9:36 PM

Be white?

slickwillie2001 on September 13, 2012 at 10:55 PM

I’ll bet the Marines in Cairo were ordered not to fire on any protester, how else was the flag torn down. Maybe the media will ask the empty chair or the shrill one, why have sensitive documents ripe for the taking in such an insecure building.

Kissmygrits on September 14, 2012 at 10:19 AM

Actually, wants to be able to claim that it has done everything it could in the cause of peace and it hasn’t worked. To make it work, you have to have some enormity committed by the other side.

Once you have that you can discredit the opposition and move to a policy that makes sense. Pearl Harbor was necessary to silence the America Firsters once and for all.

Its really a mugs’ game because Islam lives in a dream world with no sense of proportion or moderation: they will keep pushing until they win or die.

Denver Bob on September 14, 2012 at 11:51 AM

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