House GOP wants State Dept. to answer for Libya security
October 2nd, 2012
01:37 PM ET
2 years ago

House GOP wants State Dept. to answer for Libya security

(CNN) – The State Department's rejection of "repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi" came amid "a clear pattern of security threats" in the five months leading up to the attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Libya, a Tuesday letter from House Republicans obtained by CNN reads.

"The attack that claimed the Ambassador's life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to September 11, 2012," the letter from Reps. Darrell Issa and Jason Chaffetz to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reads.

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The Republicans demanded answers to several questions and testimony at a hearing next Wednesday - the only hearing on any matter scheduled so far in the 35 days remaining until Election Day.

"Multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed to the Committee that, prior to the September 11 [2012] attack, the U.S. mission in Libya made repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi," the letter continued. "The mission in Libya, however, was denied these resources by officials in Washington."

Clinton wrote a letter in response on Tuesday, explaining that she had created a review panel and looks "forward to working with the Congress and your Committee as you proceed with your own review."

The secretary of state did not directly respond to the questions posed in the letter, but said an additional response would be coming.

"We will also address the specific questions in your letter and the document requests in Congressman Chaffetz's letter as expeditiously as possible, while taking into account any necessary measures to protect classified information," she wrote.

Earlier in the day, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the department "will send folks to their hearing."

Issa is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, and Chaffetz oversees the national security subcommittee. Chaffetz is also a top surrogate for the Romney campaign.

The September attacks claimed the lives of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others.

The day after the incident, Clinton described the Benghazi attack and a protest in Cairo, Egypt "as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet," referencing a controversial film trailer mocking the Muslim faith which was posted online.

Some Republicans, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, have said the administration left out important details in their description of the incident. Sen. John McCain said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that the Obama administration's response was based on "either willful ignorance or abysmal intelligence."

Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod defended the response, saying it was based on "original information that that was given to us."

The letter demands information on the Benghazi post's security situation, communications between U.S. officials in Libya and Washington, as well as testimony next week from State Department officials.

Among the questions for the State Department to answer are any requests for increased security from the U.S. operation in Libya, "whether in general or in light of specific attacks," as well as whether the State Department was aware of prior security threats and its response.

The letter outlines "a clear pattern of security threats that could only be reasonably interpreted to justify increased security for U.S. personnel and facilities in Benghazi."

"Weeks before" the attack, "the unarmed Libyan guards… were being warned by their family members to quit their jobs guarding Consulate Benghazi because there were rumors in the community of an impending attack," the letter reads.

It also notes previous attacks and threats against the International Committee of the Red Cross, British diplomats, U.S. posts, and the U.S. ambassador. In addition to Benghazi, the letter notes events in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

Asked Tuesday morning whether Clinton should testify if asked by Republicans, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said, "I think that it would be appropriate for the Republicans, if they have important work to do, to call the House back into session and come here and deal with the full array of questions - domestically and internationally."

While most lawmakers are out of town campaigning for reelection, the House is in "pro forma" session and no votes are expected until mid-November.

"I think it kind of curious that they want the House to be functioning, but they don't want it to be in order," Pelosi said. "Functioning when they want to challenge the administration, but not in order to do the work of the American people."

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer acknowledged that some legitimate questions had been raised about security issues but whether or not Clinton should testify was up to her.

"I think the leader said it well," he said. "We ought to be doing business here, not just selectively for political aims, but for the American people, not the politics."


Filed under: 2012 • Hillary Clinton • Libya • State Department
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Ancient Texan

    Peace- Ask Hillary, Bill, John Kerry...they all swore that Iraq had WMDS and Kerry went so far as to say, "if you don't believe they are there, don't vote for me".

    October 2, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  2. Dan5404

    The House GOP spends most of their time passing their own extremist bills, knowing they won't get passed by the Senate or will be vetoed, or searching every haystack for something they can launch an investigation into Democrats about. They have done virtually nothing to help the country for four years because their leaders agreed before Obama was inaugurated that they would do nothing but try to make Obama fail through obstruction and hundreds of filibusters. Hardly a reason to pay them for four years of congressional welfare.

    October 2, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. Bill from GA

    And further, after 9/11, our FIRST, knee-jerk response was to blame Saddam Husein, and later invade his country. cheney probably STILL thinks saddam was behind 9/11.

    Be glad we now have a government that gets facts before launching wars.

    October 2, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. V

    Oh how I wish it were December and Romney was at home playing with his car elevator . . . I am sick and tired of the Republicans pointing fingers when in reality, they are the ones who should be investigated. Could it be that their failure to pass anything in the last four years could have something to do with funding for extra security abroad? Yes, the Ambassador's death was tragic and those responsible should and will be held accountable. But how is dragging State Department employees in to the chambers going to make it any better? Just another Republican ploy to try and paint our President and his Administration as unqualified. I learned a long time ago, that when people call you names, those same names usually apply to them. . . Republican's please grow up or go home! We don't need your kind of governing.

    Part of the 47% – who happens to have a degree and a job!! OBAMA\BIDEN 2012!!

    October 2, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. Bill from GA

    To 'usa': 9/11 happened on, oh, em, 9 11, not 2 11. It was not the beginning of the cheney/bush term. cheney/bush quit the attacks on al quaida; bush remarked, in spring of 2001, that he was not going to waste million dollar cruise missiles blowing up tents in the desert. referring to Clinton's war on bin Laden.

    You say bush should not be accountable for events 7 plus months into his term, yet conservatives blame Obama for all jobs lost since January of 09, and the deficits incurred since September of 08. You repugs like to have it both ways.

    The Libya case was a disaster for the USA, and unlike the disaster on 9/11, our Leader is dealing with it, with NO help from repugs, only more attacks.

    And further, after 9/11, our FIRST, knee-jerk response was to blame Saddam Husein, and later invade his country. cheney probably STILL thinks Saddam was behind 9/11.

    Be glad we now have a government that gets facts before launching wars.

    October 2, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  6. Tom

    So this is what CNN has to offer for an audience/support group? Pretty pathetic! I doubt that Mr. Stevens' family is much worried about what Bush did or did not do. I'd presume they would be more interested in why this administration failed to protect our diplomats.

    October 2, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  7. Thomas

    It's about time for the GOP and Darrell Edward Issa to start a new kiddie comity !

    October 2, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  8. Expat American

    You would think that the GOP can not sink any lower into their self-imposed 'Fecal Values' sewer. Yet, time and time again, they dig even deeper, because in the sewer is where they feel most at home. Using this tragedy for political gain. How very REPUBLICAN.

    October 2, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. DumbasRocks [R]s

    House GOPers had better be worried about their jobs, instead of armchair-quarterbacking a national security incident for purely political purposes. They had better, but they won't....and so the [R] traveling clown show will embarrass themselves once again in public - YAWN!!!....seems like a weekly occurrance now.

    After this, it'll be back to more silly bills about Planned Parenthood and prayers in school.....and what of jobs? Yes JOBS. Jobs are those things that [R]s seem to think they were sent to Washington to destroy, so their party can claim Obama is a failure. If you are a GOPer you are 100% behind "party first". You are also a genetic bit-flip from regressing to the neaderthal state.

    October 2, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. Sally

    Not toma, that is not what CNN has to offer. They are not pathetic, now you apologize to them, NOW.

    October 2, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  11. Telling

    90% of the responses to this article are critical of the GOP, while completely ignoring the content of the article. The partisans are more upset that it might be revealed that the administration is lying, than they are about the fact that the administration might be lying. And we accuse Congress of being dysfunctional ...

    October 2, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  12. Wyobob

    I seem to remember that georgie bush jr was informed about the saudi bin laden and the saudi hijackers when he took over the presidency. What did he do? Kept being buddies with the saudi royalty.
    Hmmmmmmm

    October 2, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  13. ghostriter

    Wow.....didn't know they could hold hearings while they aren't in session. Pelosi, as not too bright as she is, has a point. NO point in voting on bills. But let's get this hearing in before we get an investigation.

    As I said before, this does bare looking into. However, republicans have very little right to complain after their indifference to the 9/11 reports. Benghazi is something to investigate. 9/11 was something that happened on OUR SOIL. Not thousands of miles away.

    I dunno about you other Americans, but this American is more concerned about attacks over here.

    October 2, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  14. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    Clinton has blood on her hands and will have to answer to it.

    October 2, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  15. usa

    We all know what Clinton was doing in the White House instead of his job – he missed many red flags – the plotting of 9/11 by the terrorists happened on our soil during the Clinton administration. It was in place long before Bush began his term. Bush kept our country safe during his presidency – which is what a good Commander-in-Chief does. The current administration is sitting back while our flags are being burned in 20-plus countries, and lying to us about the ambassador that was abused and murdered. This adminstration is corrupt – and does not have America's safety as top priority. We need and deserve better !!

    October 2, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  16. jake

    witch-hunt by issa and chaffetz – where are the "lazer focus" jobs bills?

    October 2, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  17. ghostriter

    Zach, you are more than biased and it has little to do with your location.

    The administration made several comments, most of them revisions after more info came in. Romney himself thought this was due to the video, as he claimed the comments coming from the embassy were "weak". The fact that they requested additional security and had warning signs is of interest and should be investigated. That will hardly conclude before the election. Especially when congress is on vacation right now.

    Take into account that after all the hearings and investigations the republicans have held the past 4 years and you can understand why some folks might be immune to the cries of "wolf" by now.

    October 2, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. Wake up People!

    If Willard hadn't shot his mouth off so fast, maybe the administration would have time to gather all the facts first before even issuing a statement. Whether it was a terrorist attack or because of a movie doesn't matter. What matters is it happened and the protesters were screaming about the movie. It's sad when people use a tragedy to try and score political points. We're all supposed to be Americans but the last 4 years have shown me the true nature of many. Sad.

    October 2, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  19. Dave

    NOW the GOP wants soldiers in Libya. Not when they were revolting against Quaddafi, but now that the smoke is clearing. What a pack of obstructionist idiots.

    October 2, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  20. w l jones

    Some people have problem respecting the right of a countries and it government when they have an interm problem like the one in Libya. Hold your cool so they can get to problem first and foremost after all it theirs country period.

    October 2, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  21. Darrell

    What a bunch of phoneys. Most of the posts here are talking about Bush. That pin cushion is full dopers. Sorry folks, this president broke Libya, he owns it. If the consulate asked for more security and was denied, then someone at the State Department or White House should step up and say who denied it and why. If the story is bogus then say so.

    October 2, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  22. rosco

    @wirepal, Its clear that Obammy knew it was comming, Hows cali doing with pelosi??? how many cities now have bankrupt??? hows the jobs??? how are the gas prices??? how are the illegals??? why dont you just shut your ugly
    ignorant pie hole, typical another point and blamer total loser. your just another obambam sissy

    October 2, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  23. rosco

    @lonlon still whinie ??? go kiss your obammy poster, suck up

    October 2, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  24. Donkey Party

    Is it a prerequisite to be a complete idiot if you're a Republican? Silly question, of course it is. You right-wingers are so ignorant, it defies belief. And just so you know, the attack in Libya was on a Consulate, not an Embassy, which would have been fortified to withstand attacks (see Cairo). And let's look at the bigger picture, our guys lost their lives trying to promote democracy in Libya. Here in the states, the GOP is trying to take a huge dump on democracy by using voter suppression and voter fraud. I despise the America-hating GOP, and all you right-wing fools who support them, and I pray for your hasty extinction.

    October 2, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  25. ghostriter

    Telling, if this were an investigation into what happened, then fine. No one is afraid that the president might be lying. We heard what went on. Everyone thought it was related to the video. Even Romney did. It's bad enough these death might have been able to be averted. It's worse that republicans are simply accusing the president without any shred of evidence simply for political reasons.

    October 2, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
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