Pains me to admit it, but a major portion of the blame for the debacle and loss of our Ambassador and “Consulate” in Benghazi lies at the feet of Hillary Clinton. As Secretary of State she has the ultimate say over the security measures in place at our embassies and consulates and missions.
Prior to passage of the Diplomatic Security Act of 1985, security was a haphazard, hit-or-miss proposition at the State Department. That Act set up a professional cadre of security officers; provided funding to start hardening US facilities overseas by either building new structures or installing new systems; and providing training to foreign police, who would have the primary mission of protecting our diplomats and the facilities housing them. The 1985 Act was a reaction to two consecutive bombings of the US Embassy in Lebanon in 1983 and 1984.
I am shocked by the number of people who believe, INCORRECTLY, that Ambassador Stevens was responsible for his security. Utter nonsense. The average Ambassador has trouble figuring out how to lock and unlock their bathroom door. They are not security professionals nor are they capable of deciding what is and is not appropriate for security. Just as the President of the United States must defer to the Secret Service, who decides what is and is not appropriate security, the Ambassador relies on Diplomatic Security.
Here is the problem Secretary Clinton.
There is a memo from Diplomatic Security to the Office of the Secretary detailing recommendations for handling security in Libya, especially Benghazi. These recommendations were rejected and Ambassador Stevens was left with virtually no security. He paid the price for the political decision in Washington to not give him the same protection enjoyed by our Ambassadors in Baghdad, Kabul, Bogota and Sanaa.
In addition, it appears there also is an “Eyes Only” cable from Ambassador Stevens to the Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs (NEA), which included P and S on the distribution, warning of the deteriorating security situation.
Once these messages become public it will be clear that Secretary Clinton failed miserably in making sure that appropriate, necessary security measures were in place for the Consulate in Benghazi and Ambassador Stevens. While she may have delegated this decision to someone else under her, the blame will be placed squarely on her shoulders.
The only thing that could save her is if Diplomatic Security advised against doing anything. I am reliably informed that DS did not do that. To the contrary, DS had pressed for more security and was told to stand down. This story will come out.