Thursday, Apr 24, 2014

Benghazi failings again

Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 06:54 PM

It is, in my opinion, a colossal failure of this administration with regard to its action, or lack of action, concerning the attack on our embassy in Benghazi that resulted in the murder of our ambassador and three other Americans.

As each agency discloses information regarding the attack, the actions of the administration become murkier and more questionable.

In sworn testimony before a congressional committee, there were some shocking admissions of questionable actions by the State Department.

The former person responsible for security gave testimony that superiors had, in fact, worked against him as he requested more help to beef up the security personnel, which at one time was as high as 12 additional people.

Eric Nordstrom, who was the person in charge at the time, made the above statements and further said his request was turned down and he felt higher-ups specifically worked against him.

That was certainly shocking testimony that lay bare the failure of the administration to protect our embassy personnel.

Then there was testimony by the Assistant Secretary of State for International Programs, Charlene Lamb, who said that we "had the correct number of assets in Benghazi at the time."

Well, it is quite obvious that we didn't have enough assets to protect the embassy people; we lost four Americans and others are still hospitalized. This is the person (Lamb) who was watching in real time what was happening in Benghazi for seven hours and could not make a decision to send assistance to our beleaguered staff.

The president claims he gave orders to do what was necessary to assist those under attack. However, no written orders are available; no one seems to be able to find the president's order and, if it was in fact given, why it was not followed.

More important to the issues is why the administration did not make an effort to increase security, especially after what has been going on in North Africa for the last year. More to the point: Why not beef-up security for Sept. 11 when that is a flashpoint for the jihadists?

It is an indefensible position to say we had enough assets, but further, there is no way to defend the fact that the whole episode was being watched in real time and no military assistance was mobilized to provide help.

Even though we had assets in southern Italy that could have been deployed and reached our embassy in an hour, they were not deployed. There were assets in country that could have utilized, and perhaps we wouldn't have dead Americans if they had been utilized.

Len Tria, a regular columnist for Hernando Today, lives in Spring Hill and is a former Hernando County commissioner.

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