House GOP wants State Dept. to answer for Libya security
October 2nd, 2012
01:37 PM ET
10 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. DumbasRocks [R]s

    darrell..."If the story is bogus then say so." Its bogus.

    Obama "broke Libya"? Just what are those local drugs that you are using from whatever planet that you are on? Just HOW did Obama break Libya? Recall that Obama did NOT preemptively invade Libya based on a partisan fairytale, he did not kill 100s of thousands of Libyans. You seem to be getting American administrations confused.

    The dumbing down of today's [R] party by the neo-Teatards is just pathetic.

    October 2, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  2. truth hurts

    The incompetence and lawlessness of the Obama administration has gotten THOUSANDS killed, not just our ambassador.

    1. U.S. Border patrol officer Brian Terry
    2. Hundreds if not thousands of Mexican citizens
    3. Chris Stevens, Ambassador to Libya
    4. Three others killed with Stevens
    5. Syrian citizens
    6. U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan that he sent there while declaring a withdrawal date.

    Given another term, the incompetence and lawlessness of the Obama administration will kill many, many more.

    October 2, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  3. wyoming21

    why were US personnel allowed to remain in Lybia without armed security.. The FBI who are armed still have not gone to that country to run their investigation. WHY, cause there is nothing to learn. It was a TERRORIST attack, plain and simple, yet Obama can not still to this day, bring himself to say that word......Two weeks ago a French magazine ran anti muslim cartoons, and not one protest.......THEY don't like the US, you, me. Obama. Nothing as changed since Bin Laden died. The beat goes on.......Obama (the emperor ) HAS NO CLOTHES............

    October 2, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  4. DumbasRocks [R]s

    Hey Zach and usa. How does it smell up there where you have your empty heads burried?

    October 2, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. ghostriter

    No, Darrell. People (myself included) are simply pointing out the hypocrisy of these very same republicans who stood by Bush even when it was reported by none other than Condi Rice that Bush KNEW as early as July that an attack was imminent. There was no investigation then and not one republican cared.

    So don't be all upset now.

    October 2, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  6. bryes

    Why is CNN highlighting this story on their front page? Could it be that they hope few people hear about it after the elections? Apparently the CNN / Obama re-election committee doesn't want us to know about this administration's poor foreign relations policies.

    October 2, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  7. bryes

    Sorry, but the first line in my post should have read, "Why is CNN "NOT" highlighting this story on their front page?

    October 2, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  8. Mike Texoma

    I'm afraid that as soon as I read Darrell Issa had something to do with this "investigation" it lost all credibility with me.

    October 2, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  9. RealityBites

    "HOUSE GOP" in a place most suited for "THE AMERICAN PEOPLE"?
    Another blantant attempt at distraction from the O-Media team?? One just never knows here...

    October 2, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  10. harvey 60

    Darrell Issa, who would not have the right to vote if he didn't plead down two felony indictments to misdemeanors? Darrell Issa, who pushed through $6 million of federal funds in improvements to freeway access ramps in his district so the office buildings that he owns would be worth more money?
    Darrell Issa, who cheated investors in his company when he sold it and took a windfall profit for himself?
    Darrell Issa, just another crooked Republican Congressman, brought to you by the Party of Nixon, Agnew, Mitchell, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Meese et al.

    October 2, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. Bob Ramos

    Issa wasted millions going after the AG and now he is wasting the House's time going after Clinton. If such a hearing is actually held, it was just be going through the motions with Issa absent, Clinton absent and no real details. Issa will have a deputy presiding and Clinton will send over a flunky. All of this is really political in nature and nothing more.

    October 2, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. Calif Conservative

    Actually LACK OF SECURITY.

    How about explaining why you blatantly LIED Hussein Obama?

    October 2, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  13. Bill from GA

    "We all know what Clinton was doing in the White House". He was fighting a senseless impeachment trial. Yet he still found time to defend our Country. All the repugs can so is attack dems, who are elected by our Democratic Process to govern. Still at it; that's all they have to offer.

    October 2, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. Calif Conservative

    Democrats scream jobs when they've literally ignored them since Obama took office.

    Democrats = parasites.

    October 2, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  15. KC

    Let show the "tea party" republicans how much we appreciate their hard work for the past two years with a long
    vacation from washington, never to return.

    October 2, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  16. usa

    Bill from GA – the facts are – our flags and embassies were being burned and our ambassador being abused and murdered in real time – while our sitting president was in Las Vegas campaigning ! And then came the lies.... Is that factual enough for you? It was all over the media – there is no denying what happened.

    October 2, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  17. Bill from GA

    Darrell – " this president broke Libya "


    Our country supplied AIR SUPPORT for the rebels who, with the backing of the Arab League and NATO, were overthrowing a dictator.
    Where do you get your news, the Cartoon Channel? ( I guess fox propaganda network is more likely.)

    October 2, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  18. Lisa P


    Mud? Slander? people, we are talking about a US EMBASSY that was attacked and an administration who tried to cover it up for two whole weeks. they still do not have their stories straight about what did, or di not happen...

    October 2, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm
    Well, first off we are talking about a U.S. consulate, not an embassy. Second, it was front page news from practically the moment it happened - the BBC was covering it as it was going on. So how exactly was the administration trying to "cover it up for two whole weeks"? More likely they were trying to figure out exactly what went on instead of shooting off their mouths, Fox News-style, alienating new potential allies and generally making a volatile situation far worse.

    The BBC and the New York Times have both done excellent work in reporting on the what happened during the attack from multiple viewpoints. It was not a simple situation, and the Ambassador's death seems to have been more a result of bad planning and, perhaps, too much fire power rather than too little - it was just a demonstration until someone (no one seems to know who) began shooting, and someone returned fire, and everyone went home for their RPGs. Of course, the two U.S. security personnel who died in the attack on the safe house are a different matter - that was, clearly, an attack. But by then the whole situation had gone south. The anti-Western militias may have seized an opening. Is that civil war or is it terrorism? The problem with the word "terrorism" in diplomatic circles is that it means a specific thing and it demands (or allows) a specific response. Maybe not the message to send to a fledgling government still trying to consolidate enough power to get on its' feet.

    In the meantime, Fox News has been trying to drum the whole thing into another "Fast & Furious" - and I suspect even you heard the "thud!" when the truth about *that* scandal of phony outrage came out. If you want to be fooled again that's your choice, but remember what people say about that: this time the shame's all on you.

    October 2, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  19. Elizabeth

    This is going to end up the same way that the fast and furious hearings ended. Republicans wasting American's time and money, and President Obama being cleared.

    October 2, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  20. Calif Conservative

    This administration supported the muslim brotherhood and Al-Qaeda in Lybia and elsewhere in the middle east yet allowed our political citizens in that country die.

    This administration obviously can not be trusted.

    October 2, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  21. Candy Taylor

    God will it ever end? How much money will the GOP spend this time on another senseless witch hunt? Vote these idiots out! Hey by the way WHERE ARE THE JOBS BILLS?

    October 2, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. Fay

    Another 2 US border patrol agents killed. Done with Obama, Holder, Rice and Clinton!
    Consequences for not doing a good job protecting americans – Mr. Stevens, 3 US Navy Seals (Libya) and 3 border patrols.

    October 2, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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