Just a little something to break up the monotony of “ROMNEY SAID WHAT?” concern-troll coverage that you’ll be submerged in tomorrow.
I take it this cable is what the Independent had in mind in its blockbuster last week about a 48-hour warning for U.S. intelligence.
The cable, dispatched from Washington on September 10, the day before protests erupted, advised the embassy the broadcasts [of the Mohammed movie] could provoke violence. It did not direct specific measures to upgrade security, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
However, under standard diplomatic procedures, Egyptian government officials and security forces were notified of U.S. concerns, since host governments are responsible for ensuring the security of foreign diplomatic missions on their soil, the sources said.
Copies of the cable were not sent to other U.S. outposts in the region, including the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where violence took the life of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. The ties between the Benghazi violence and the crude anti-Muslim film are still unclear.
The reason they didn’t send the cable to other American missions across the region was, supposedly, because clips from the movie were broadcast on a cleric’s show in Egypt and therefore the possibility of violence was somehow “specific to Egypt.” I sure hope that’s a government lie, because if they seriously believed after the international demagoguery of the Danish Mohammed cartoons that this would be contained to a single country — on the anniversary of 9/11 — we’re in deeper trouble than I thought.
But maybe the State Department had reason to know about a threat to the Benghazi consulate beforehand after all:
Three days before the deadly assault on the United States consulate in Libya, a local security official says he met with American diplomats in the city and warned them about deteriorating security.
Jamal Mabrouk, a member of the February 17th Brigade, told CNN that he and a battalion commander had a meeting about the economy and security…
“The situation is frightening, it scares us,” Mabrouk said they told the U.S. officials. He did not say how they responded.
Mabrouk said it was not the first time he has warned foreigners about the worsening security situation in the face of the growing presence of armed jihadist groups in the Benghazi area.
It’s no surprise that security would be dodgy in Benghazi. NBC has a nifty piece today revisiting the area’s recent past as an incubator for international jihadis, from rank-and-file mujahedeen in Iraq to numbers two, three, and four in the Al Qaeda food chain. If there’s any consulate in the world where you’d want a little extra security, it’s Benghazi, especially with the new Libyan government pitifully weak right now. Instead, Chris Stevens had next to nothing. Why? Exit question: Was the protest of the Mohammed movie outside the consulate a diversion for the attack on the building? Or was there actually … no protest at all? Because if it’s the latter, that puts a big hole in Susan Rice’s claim yesterday that Benghazi was all about local demonstrations over a movie that got out of hand.
Update: A commendable bit of reporting here from NBC Nightly News. Yesterday Rice cited the two American contractors killed in the Benghazi attack as proof that Stevens and his staff did have some security. But NBC says she was wrong: The contractors weren’t part of the consulate’s regulate security detail. Apparently Stevens had nothing except a security supervisor and a local militia. Why?