The consulate where the American ambassador to Libya was killed on Tuesday is an “interim facility” not protected by the contingent of Marines that safeguards embassies, POLITICO has learned…
A senior administration official Wednesday called the Benghazi consulate “an interim facility,” which the State Department began using “before the fall of Qadhafi.” It was staffed Tuesday by Libyan and State Department security officers. The consulate came under fire from heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades at about 10 p.m. local time on Tuesday. By the time the attack ended several hours later, four Americans were dead and three others had been injured.
The Benghazi consulate had “lock-and-key” security, not the same level of defenses as a formal embassy, an intelligence source told POLITICO. That means it had no bulletproof glass, reinforced doors or other features common to embassies. The intelligence source contrasted it with the American embassy in Cairo, Egypt – “a permanent facility, which is a lot easier to defend.” The Cairo embassy also was attacked Tuesday.
There’s not even a pretense of an excuse made there. Whether it’s S.O.P. to deploy Marines to “interim facilities” or not, this was no ordinary facility. It’s an unfortified building in a volatile Muslim city that’s been targeted by jihadis before — and it’s 9/11. Obama had no qualms about sending Marines to Benghazi today to reinforce the building; there’s no reason to think he couldn’t have sent them sooner. So what’s the excuse? Or is he simply counting on the media not to ask him this question? Because if so, I’ve got to tell you — that seems like a smart bet at this point.
Speaking of our concern-troll press corps, here’s Chris Matthews summing up the narrative du jour by insisting that “The tragedy in Benghazi that cost Ambassador Stevens his life unfortunately has been overshadowed by the desperate reach by Mitt Romney to secure political advantage.” Top American diplomat killed by jihadis on September 11th at a consulate with no Marine protection = page two. Romney hitting Bambi hard on it = page one. I’ll leave you with two thoughts. One: Matthews can play dumb all he wants but Romney’s statement about the administration sympathizing with the attackers in Egypt was a perfectly apt way of describing that filthy press release from the Cairo embassy yesterday afternoon. And no, it’s no excuse that the embassy released that statement before protesters stormed the compound later in the day; they emphatically stood by their statement later in the afternoon. Unless Matthews is suggesting that the president can’t be held responsible for official U.S. embassy declarations (special rules for The One, as usual), I don’t know what his objection is.
Two: Since we’re floating in a sea of pious leftist bilge today about politicizing attacks on the U.S., read this Washington Free Beacon report on candidate Obama referring to a specific attack on U.S. troops in July 2008 to criticize Bush on the war. That pattern doesn’t start with The One, either: Philip Klein pointed earlier on Twitter to this 2004 report noting that “On a day when seven U.S. servicemen were killed in a suicide bombing attack in Iraq, [John] Kerry termed the war in Iraq ‘catastrophic.'” Good, hard campaigning on a seminal foreign-policy issue, or disgraceful politicization of American grief? If you’re a concern-troll journalist, the candidate’s party affiliation will get you 95 percent of the way to an answer.