Cable Shows Benghazi Consulate Not Prepared for Coordinated Attack

Katie Pavlich

11/1/2012 7:32:00 AM - Katie Pavlich

Fox News is reporting today about a newly obtained cable showing even more damning information about the situation in Benghazi, Libya just ahead of the terrorist attack on 9/11 which left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead. The cable shows there was a clear concern for safety and the developing dangers of al Qaeda in the city just before the attack occurred. An emergency meeting to discuss al Qaeda's growing presence in Benghazi was held a month before the attack and it was determined the U.S. consulate could not withstand a coordinated attack should one occur. The emergency meeting came months after multiple security requests were made and denied by the State Department.

Summarizing an Aug. 15 emergency meeting convened by the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, the Aug. 16 cable marked “SECRET” said that the State Department’s senior security officer, also known as the RSO, did not believe the consulate could be protected.

“RSO (Regional Security Officer) expressed concerns with the ability to defend Post in the event of a coordinated attack due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support, and the overall size of the compound,” the cable said.

According to a review of the cable addressed to the Office of the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Emergency Action Committee was also briefed "on the location of approximately ten Islamist militias and AQ training camps within Benghazi … these groups ran the spectrum from Islamist militias, such as the QRF Brigade and Ansar al-Sharia, to ‘Takfirist thugs.’” Each U.S. mission has a so-called Emergency Action Committee that is responsible for security measures and emergency planning.

The details in the cable seemed to foreshadow the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. compound, which was a coordinated, commando-style assault using direct and indirect fire. Al Qaeda in North Africa and Ansar al-Sharia, both mentioned in the cable, have since been implicated in the consulate attack.

In addition to describing the security situation in Benghazi as “trending negatively,” the cable said explicitly that the mission would ask for more help. “In light of the uncertain security environment, US Mission Benghazi will submit specific requests to US Embassy Tripoli for additional physical security upgrades and staffing needs by separate cover.”

One thing is very clear: The State Department knew their personnel was in imminent danger from al Qaeda and they did nothing to protect them. The cable further dismantles the administration's bogus YouTube video argument.

While the administration’s public statements have suggested that the attack came without warning, the Aug. 16 cable seems to undercut those claims. It was a direct warning to the State Department that the Benghazi consulate was vulnerable to attack, that it could not be defended and that the presence of anti-U.S. militias and Al Qaeda was well-known to the U.S. intelligence community.

In a three-page cable on Sept 11, the day Stevens and the three other Americans were killed, Stevens wrote about “growing problems with security” in Benghazi and “growing frustration” with the security forces and Libyan police. The ambassador saw both as “too weak to keep the country secure.”

Our men were left there to die.