Terry Jeffrey
When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a brief self-congratulatory trip to Tripoli, Libya, in October 2011 -- with U.S. military assets lurking offshore in case they needed to rescue her -- she joked, in the presence of then-Ambassador Gene Cretz and Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman, that they had not-so-long-ago been worried that the ambassador might end up the target of a murderous Libyan assault.

"As Gene and Assistant Secretary Feltman and I were walking through here, they were talking about how the last time Jeff was here was when we were very worried that Gadhafi and [Libyan intelligence chief] Senussi were going to kill you," Clinton said in a speech to the staff at the U.S. Embassy.

"Yeah," said Cretz.

The State Department transcript notes there was "laughter" at this.

"I am very pleased to have this chance to thank each and every one of you, and to return as secretary of state to a free Libya," said Clinton. "And what an amazing experience."

Seven months before Clinton made this trip to Tripoli, President Obama announced in Brazil that he was ordering the U.S. military to intervene in Libya because "the writ of the international community must be enforced."

Within eight months of Clinton's trip, the Defense Department and CIA were producing repeated reports warning that Libya -- particularly eastern Libya -- was becoming a safe haven for terrorists, including al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists.

Thanks to a report released last week by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence we now know some of the substance of these DOD and CIA warnings.

They demonstrate how Obama's intervention in Libya's civil war backfired and how the inexplicable negligence of Hillary Clinton's State Department put Americans unnecessarily at risk in Benghazi.

On June 12, 2012, according to the intelligence committee's report, the Defense Intelligence Agency authored a report entitled: "Libya: Terrorists Now Targeting U.S. and Western Interests."

As characterized by the committee -- chaired by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California -- this DIA report noted "growing ties between al-Qaida regional nodes and Libya-based terrorists."

The DIA said: "We expect more anti-U.S. terrorist attacks in eastern Libya [redacted], due to the terrorists greater presence there."

Six days later, according to the committee report, the Pentagon's Joint Staff daily intelligence report included a slide entitled: "Terrorism: Conditions Ripe for More Attacks, Terrorist Safe Haven in Libya."

Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

Be the first to read Terence Jeffrey's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.

©Creators Syndicate