FBI investigates in Benghazi for … 12 hours

posted at 10:01 am on October 5, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Hey, maybe 12 hours is all the FBI needed for their crime-scene probe.  After all, it’s been almost four weeks — so what could be left to check?

A team of FBI agents arrived in Benghazi, Libya, to investigate the assault against the U.S. Consulate and left after about 12 hours on the ground as the hunt for those possibly connected to the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans narrowed to one or two people in an extremist group, U.S. officials said Thursday.

Agents arrived in Benghazi before dawn on Thursday and departed after sunset, after weeks of waiting for access to the crime scene to investigate the Sept. 11 attack.

The agents and several dozen U.S. special operations forces were there for about 12 hours, said a senior Defense Department official who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing investigation. The FBI agents went to “all the relevant locations” in the city, FBI spokeswoman Kathy Wright said. The FBI would not say what, if anything, they found.

While we waited weeks to get to the compound, police in Turkey have arrested two people supposedly connected with the terrorist attack (via Gabriel Malor):

U.S. officials separately confirmed that Turkish authorities are holding two Tunisian men, reportedly suspects in the attacks. The pair were arrested as they tried to enter Turkey using fake passports at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport, Turkey’s Kanal D television reported.

“The arrest is real,” said a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The connection is unclear.”

What took so long for the FBI to get on the case?  The Associated Press reports that a dispute arose between the State Department and the FBI over the security situation on the ground in Benghazi:

The request to the Pentagon to transport the FBI to Benghazi came several days ago and it took a few days to get authorization from the Libyan government and to make other necessary arrangements to get the team there, the senior Defense Department official said.

U.S. officials also suggested that there may have been some disagreement between the State Department and the FBI over whether or not the FBI team would use Libyan security or seek approval for the U.S. military to handle the mission. The U.S. Army Delta Force troops flew into Benghazi with the FBI team on three C-130 transport aircraft.

That brings up two points, if the State Department was reluctant to have the FBI in Benghazi for security reasons (it could have been the FBI who showed understandable reluctance after what happened).  One, the insistence that security in Benghazi was so bad that the FBI couldn’t get within 400 miles to investigate the terrorist attack stands in pretty stark contrast to their hand-washing on security in the months prior to the attack.  Second, State has a vested interest now in obfuscation in this attack, thanks to what we know now about their approach to security and the well-founded fears of the now-deceased US Ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens.

We should have had a military contingent in Benghazi immediately to secure that location, which was a legitimate diplomatic outpost of the United States.  We can’t even show our face outside of daylight hours now.  No matter who made those decisions and why, that’s a tremendously weak showing in a part of the world where weakness costs lives.


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More time was spent investigating the movie producer who supposedly caused the attack.

Bishop on October 5, 2012 at 10:04 AM

What do you expect for a $82,000 starting salary, mandatory retirment at 52, lifetime pension and healthcare (not the “seperate but equal obamacare”).

You get what you pay for.

acyl72 on October 5, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Hey that’s ok, unemployment is down, so it’s a breeze for Obama, right Gumby?

itsspideyman on October 5, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Film dramatizing bin Laden raid airing Nov. 4

So… if muslims riot, will Obama be arrested?

locomotivebreath1901 on October 5, 2012 at 10:09 AM

More time was spent investigating the movie producer who supposedly caused the attack.

Bishop on October 5, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Close the thread.

Well said, Bishop, beautifully well said.

herm2416 on October 5, 2012 at 10:09 AM

More time was spent investigating the movie producer who supposedly caused the attack.

Bishop on October 5, 2012 at 10:04 AM

.
.
CYNIC ! … Oh, wait . . . . .

listens2glenn on October 5, 2012 at 10:16 AM

More time was spent investigating the movie producer who supposedly caused the attack.

Bishop on October 5, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Well stated, and a line that Romney and Ryan would be wise to use at the upcoming debates.

TXUS on October 5, 2012 at 10:16 AM

800,000 Libyans were hired part time by the US for this mission. (ahem 7.8%)

faraway on October 5, 2012 at 10:18 AM

We Ask America just released polls from after the debate today…

STATE Obama Romney Gary Johnson Undecided GOP / DEM / IND
OHIO 46% 47% 1% 6% 34/38/28
FLORIDA 46% 49% 1% 4% 38/33/29
VIRGINIA 45% 48% 2% 5% 34/32/34

dforston on October 5, 2012 at 10:18 AM

CNN should have grabbed as much stuff as they could get their hands on… almost four weeks, sheesh!

Fallon on October 5, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Bishop on October 5, 2012 at 10:04 AM

.
Close the thread.

Well said, Bishop, beautifully well said.

herm2416 on October 5, 2012 at 10:09 AM

.
Yep. That could be in the running for “all time thread winner”.

listens2glenn on October 5, 2012 at 10:19 AM

…a dispute arose between the State Department and the FBI

Cripes, this is one of the main reasons we didn’t see the 9/11 terror attacks coming…lack of communication between intel-gathering agencies.

The 12 hour thing doesn’t concern me near as much as the ridiculous length of time it took for them to get there. Navy SEAL’s killed bin Laden, packed his body up, grabbed any intel at the residence, and were gone pretty quickly. So a lot can be done in little time.

JetBoy on October 5, 2012 at 10:20 AM

i commented on AoS the other day about the degradation of terrorism by the dems. under clinton it became a crime and he would send the FBI to investigate and issue indictments now under 0bama its become a traffic accident – if less than $500 in damages exchange insurance info and move along.

chasdal on October 5, 2012 at 10:25 AM

The FBI would not say what, if anything, they found.

Obviously, they found a copy of the infamous YouTube video there in the consulate. Barky can say “I told you so! Smoking gun found, case closed.”

ZenDraken on October 5, 2012 at 10:28 AM

What happened to the contingent of Marines President Downgrade said he was ordering to Benghazi?

RobertE on October 5, 2012 at 10:33 AM

The mistake was that no one called either Hilary or Barry at 3:00AM, remember that big campaign controversy, to get things rolling. Someone waited until their nonproductive time to call and that caused all the confusion and delay. Next time, and as long as these incompetents are in office there will be a next time, please call at 3:00AM and they will be waiting for the call and get right on it.

Pardonme on October 5, 2012 at 10:34 AM

As of yesterday,there is no confirmation if the FBI are on there way???
=====

Victoria Nuland
Spokesperson
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
October 4, 2012
***************

TRANSCRIPT:

12:47 p.m. EDT
***************

MS. NULAND: All right, everybody. It’s Thursday. Are you freezing, Jill? You’re –

QUESTION: I’m always freezing in here.

MS. NULAND: We should give pashminas for your personal chair there.

QUESTION: I know. I have to do that.

MS. NULAND: All right. I have nothing at the top except to advise you that Mr. Mark Toner will be at the podium tomorrow, so – by popular demand. Let’s go to what’s on your minds.

QUESTION: Not because you’re taking a long weekend? (Laughter.) That’s the joy of being a Deputy, Mark. (Laughter.)

Let’s start with Libya. Do you have – is there some State Department-related explanation as to why the FBI team has not gone to Benghazi yet?

MS. NULAND: I don’t have anything for you on that set of issues at all today. If and when we do, we will share it, but otherwise I’m going to have to send you to the FBI today.

QUESTION: So there is no State Department-related reason, or you’re just saying they haven’t given you anything to say, so you’re not going to say anything?

MS. NULAND: Let’s go with that, Matt.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. NULAND: Okay?

QUESTION: So any question about Libya, you’re going to say you don’t have anything on?

MS. NULAND: Well, you can try any of seven or eight other things if you’d like –

QUESTION: No, that was – no, no. That was the only one I had.

MS. NULAND: — but with regard to the FBI’s mission, I don’t have anything for you today, okay?
****************************

Please.

QUESTION: I have a quick follow-up on that.

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Now you said yesterday or the day before that you are working, cooperating with the Libyans together, that the FBI is doing that. How are they doing that? Do they talk to their counterpart? Do they talk to their own ministry of justice or whatever they call it? Or do they conduct independent investigations and then they compared notes?

MS. NULAND: Again, I think you’re asking me to get into how the FBI is doing its work and how it’s doing it with the Libyans, so I’m going to send you to the FBI.

QUESTION: Okay. I’m saying that under these conditions, how does a, let’s say, a foreign power – the United States of America – work with a local domestic police effort in this case?

MS. NULAND: Well, speaking historically, speaking from previous efforts of this kind, as you know, the FBI has to investigate whenever we have death of Americans. There are any number of ways to work together. You can have parallel investigations that are then compared; you can have joint investigation; you can have a fusion cell. There are any number of ways it can work. With regard to how they’re working it in this particular case, I’m going to let you talk to them.

QUESTION: And lastly – I know you addressed this issue the day before – does the FBI work under the auspices of the State Department?

MS. NULAND: The Department of Justice.

QUESTION: Wait, wait. So they’re not under Chief – the team that’s there is not under Chief of Mission authority?

MS. NULAND: When we dispatch teams from Washington or anywhere else, they go on temporary duty. Obviously, they work for that temporary time under the larger rules that apply to temporary duty personnel under –

QUESTION: Right. So they are under Chief of Mission authority?

MS. NULAND: They are as temporary duty personnel, and those rules are somewhat different, as you know.

QUESTION: Well, no, hold on a second. How are they somewhat different? Do they not come under Chief of Mission authority?

MS. NULAND: They are the responsibility of the Chief of Mission, but they are on a temporary duty mission, which is different than what the rest of the Embassy is involved in.

QUESTION: Right. But in terms of travel and any kind of internal movement they might make, they are under Chief of Mission authority; correct?

MS. NULAND: It depends on the situation. There are circumstances where, for example, our DOD colleagues may come in. They’re – obviously the post knows that they’re coming. They may provide for themselves. There are all kinds of ways this can work. And I don’t want to get into the specifics from the podium.

Jo.

QUESTION: I wonder how concerned the State Department is about another report yesterday that more documents were found inside the compound, some of which apparently pertain to personnel issues and things like that. I mean, that surely is a State Department – of State Department concern.

MS. NULAND: Well, presumably, you’re talking about the reporting from The Washington Post –

QUESTION: Yes.
(More….)

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2012/10/198677.htm
=====================================================

VIDEO OF Briefing(38:39)

Daily Press Briefing – October 4, 2012

Oct. 4, 2012: U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing by Spokesperson Victoria Nuland in Washington, DC.

http://video.state.gov/en/video/1878465235001

canopfor on October 5, 2012 at 10:34 AM

and it took a few days to get authorization from the Libyan government

First of all, you don’t get authorization from the Libyan government. You tell them what you are going to do and if they don’t like it, they’ll go the way of Gaddafi.

rbj on October 5, 2012 at 10:38 AM

After the attack there needed to be an INTEL team on the ground, probably Special Forces or a specialized Marine unit for that. Secure, get everything you can and sanitize the place.

If that couldn’t be done, you don’t leave US INTEL laying around on the ground for anyone to pick up. Notify the Libyan government you are going to sanitize the site by air.

The FBI is superfluous: this isn’t a crime scene but an act of war against the US and leaving INTEL laying out unprotected is an invitation to the enemy to learn how to better attack us.

Secure and sanitize first and foremost.

Sanitize if it can’t be secured.

And I’m not talking Mr. Clean here, either, but Mr. Napalm.

ajacksonian on October 5, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Oh, I missed another key eliminate, the FBI reports to another agency of government and they don’t go into action unless the ever trustworthy Attorney General deems it necessary. How can we go wrong when we send the FBI into an area where they have no legal authority for ANY investigation or arrest authority? Next time he can send in the black panther party they know how to intimidate the enemy and can bring back order there.

Pardonme on October 5, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Second, State has a vested interest now in obfuscation in this attack, thanks to what we know now about their approach to security…

Well, yeah! 3 weeks after the fact? This wasn’t an investigation. It was a site scrub.

Can’t have any more reporters or locals picking up anything like “evidence.”

de rigueur on October 5, 2012 at 10:40 AM

If you were the director of the FBI would you send your people to an almost certain death without some military cover?Who did the stalling and when did they get approval to send in some Special Ops people?

docflash on October 5, 2012 at 10:45 AM

They spent 3 weeks looking for 800,000 ‘jobs’.

faraway on October 5, 2012 at 10:47 AM

expect them to keep spiking the Bin Laden football. That’s all they have left. This is from the Uhhhh compilation video on youtube…

This man got the one who attacked our country.

thedrugtherapy 6 hours ago

Oh wow, I didn’t know Barack was in Seal Team 6?

ellesar04 in reply to thedrugtherapy 6 hours ago 2

he ordered the attack?he also found his location racist trash.

yomommasagoomba in reply to ellesar04 6 hours ago

I’m Native American, which actually makes me the biggest minority in the country. Please explain to me which of the 10 words I used was racist. Or does your racist dog whistle go off when someone uses the number 6? The CIA tracked down a courier that led them to Osama, based on intel from Gitmo that your boy king campaigned on shutting down.

ellesar04 in reply to yomommasagoomba 11 minutes ago 2

ellesar04 on October 5, 2012 at 10:47 AM

US intelligence and special operations forces have focused on at most “one or two individuals” in the Libya-based extremist group Ansar al-Shariah who may have had something to do with the attack, according to a US counterterrorism official. But that official and two others said there was no definitive evidence linking even those individuals to the attack. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment on the investigation publicly.

So in other words they basically don’t have a clue. But the NYT says Obama may consider taking action? Uh-huh…against who may I ask?

I guess we shouldn’t worry ourselves about it though since Eric Holder is pleased with the progress being made.

lynncgb on October 5, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Per the NY Times:

Story headline

“F.B.I. Agents Scour Ruins of Attacked U.S. Diplomatic Compound in Libya”

Marine WX on October 5, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Hey, maybe 12 hours is all the FBI needed for their crime-scene probe. After all, it’s been almost four weeks — so what could be left to check?

…anything that they wanted to plant !

KOOLAID2 on October 5, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Obviously, all the forensic evidence was still in place for the FBI to collect. Don’t forget, there was yellow tape around the crime scene the whole time.

Finbar on October 5, 2012 at 11:17 AM

So much for the re-organization of our country’s security.
In Sum, this is how it might have worked effectively:
(with all do respect to grads of the military warfare academy)

“Zero Dark 30″:
American C-130s and C-141s are taxiing on the runway,
Loaded with Airborne Troops, they depart.
Zero Dark 50:
One Airborne Battalion drops into the West of Benghazi,
As another Airborne Battalion drops into the East of Benghazi.
(The strangle hold begins)
Zero Dark 100:
The local populace is advised …
(via dropped propaganda, the screaming of FA-18s, or other means)
To leave the area ASAP,
Zero Dark 150:
As the LIPs (local indigenous personnel) rush to leave the area, the Airborne troops have already secured the perimeter,
Refugees are temporarily detained/interred while all are “screened”.

This FBI B.S. is just another twisting of the Constitution by the P-in-C.
Granted said territory/grounds are allegedly “sovereign”, but that codicil was violated when the attack began. The FBI is again “a day late and a dollar short”. But this time, the lack of action was downright disgraceful and wholly UN-American.
The FBI = Accountants with badges and guns.
rant/
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on October 5, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Local fire departments spend more time than that investigating grass fires where nobody got hurt much less killed. Just like their bosses, the FBI is lazy and unfocused. Next we’ll probably hear that “there’s nothing to see here . . . time to move Forwaaaard.

kens on October 5, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Maybe CNN or another journalist left a note for the FBI…”You shoulda been here the next day, we got some great souvenirs”

right2bright on October 5, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Twelve hours in-country but the FDI only spent one hour at the consulate since that’s all it would take to act out an episode of CSI: Benghazi.

Infighting? Not much of a fight. All Holder has to do is tell Hillary he’s in the Muslim Brotherhood. She’d not only immediately surrender but she’d also give him $450 million.

curved space on October 5, 2012 at 6:54 PM