Benghazi Unsecured

About a month ago, when news broke that an FBI team was on the ground in Benghazi, I said the only real benefit in putting them there long after the crime scene had been compromised might be to secure the compound and sensitive material. I also expressed doubt that there would be much left to secure. I expected the site to be picked clean. I was wrong:

More than six weeks after the shocking assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi — and nearly a month after an FBI team arrived to collect evidence about the attack – the battle-scarred, fire-damaged compound where Ambassador Chris Stevens and another Foreign Service officer lost their lives on Sept. 11 still holds sensitive documents and other relics of that traumatic final day, including drafts of two letters worrying that the compound was under “troubling” surveillance and complaining that the Libyan government failed to fulfill requests for additional security.

You can see photos of those “sensitive” documents here. However, a counter-argument has surfaced:

The emphasis on security at the CIA annex was underscored the day after the attack. With all U.S. personnel evacuated, the CIA appears to have dispatched local Libyan agents to the annex to destroy any sensitive documents and equipment there, even as the consulate compound remained unguarded and exposed to looters and curiosity seekers for weeks, officials said. Documents, including the ambassador’s journal, were taken from the consulate site, and the site proved of little value when Federal Bureau of Investigation agents finally arrived weeks later to investigate.

U.S. officials said they prioritized securing the annex because many more people worked there and they were doing sensitive work, while the consulate, by design, had no classified documents. The American contractor said the top priority was destroying sensitive documents.

This prioritization makes sense but I think most Americans will still be disturbed by our inability to secure the consulate grounds or to find documents relevant to the investigation while journalists continue to pick through the rubble with relative ease.

Monitor developments in this story live with the Covert Contact Benghazi Monitor. Launch it with the big green button below.

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Hayden and Chertoff Blast the Obama Administration on Benghazi

bidenbeg Hayden and Chertoff Blast the Obama Administration on Benghazi

Mistakes can be forgiven but covering them up, especially when your excuse changes from day to day, points to a much larger problem:

Michael Hayden, former CIA director, and Michael Chertoff, who served as Homeland Security chief, hit out after Biden stunned many in the intelligence community by insisting that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi did not ask for additional security before it was attacked on September 11 – directly contradicting what security officials and diplomats have testified under oath.

The tough joint statement was issued via the Romney campaign. In it they added: ‘Blaming those who put their lives on the line is not the kind of leadership this country needs.’

‘During the Vice Presidential debate, we were disappointed to see Vice President Biden blame the intelligence community for the inconsistent and shifting response of the Obama Administration to the terrorist attacks in Benghazi,’ they said in the statement.

‘Given what has emerged publicly about the intelligence available before, during, and after the September 11 attack, it is clear that any failure was not on the part of the intelligence community, but on the part of White House decision-makers who should have listened to, and acted on, available intelligence. Blaming those who put their lives on the line is not the kind of leadership this country needs.’

There may be layers of failure contributing to this incident but the response from the White House is appalling. It’s not just that they have demonstrated the wrong kind of leadership. They haven’t demonstrated any leadership at all. And then there are the hints (I’m being generous) of ethical and moral failings permeating the entire affair. That is not forgivable.

Benghazi Attack Fallout and Congressional Hearings Monitor

benghazimon Benghazi Attack Fallout and Congressional Hearings Monitor

With the State Department backtracking on its story, disturbing and shameful background details on the security situation continuing to emerge, and hearings on “The Security Failures of Benghazi” being held today there is going to be a flood of commentary and information on Twitter.

Fortunately, I’ve created a monitor for these issues on Covert Contact. These monitors usually require a small subscription fee but this is a critical issue and I want to help as many people follow it as possible. Just click on the start button below to launch the monitor.

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