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Tipsheet

Always Clarifying: Biden Speaks for Himself, Not Administration on Libya

Vice President Joe Biden is still in hot water today after saying last night during the vice presidential debate in Danville that State Department officials in Benghazi didn't request more consulate security. As previously reported, the facts, backed up by documents, cables and Congressional testimony, show officials in Benghazi requesting more security in early 2012. After the debate, Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter said she "didn't catch" Biden's remarks about Libya and today, the White House is saying Biden doesn't speak for the entire administration when it comes to Libya and was speaking about his personal knowledge about the situation.

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Vice President Joseph Biden speaks only for himself and President Barack Obama, and neither man was aware that U.S. officials in Libya had asked the State Department for more security before the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, a top White House official told The Cable.

 The Cable asked Deputy National Security Advisor for Communications Ben Rhodes whether Biden was speaking for the entire Obama administration, including the State Department, which acknowledged receiving multiple requests for more Libya security in the months before the attacks. Rhodes said that Biden speaks only for himself and the president and neither of them knew about the requests at the time.

The State Department security officials who testified before House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa's panel Wednesday never said they had made their requests to the president, Rhodes pointed out. That would be natural because the State Department is responsible for diplomatic security, not the White House, he said. Rhodes also pointed out that the officials were requesting more security in Tripoli, not Benghazi.

"All of us at post were in sync that we wanted these resources," the top regional security officer in Libya over the summer, Eric Nordstrom, testified. "In those conversations, I was specifically told [by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charlene Lamb] ‘You cannot request an SST [Site Security Team] extension.' I determined I was told that because there would be too much political cost. We went ahead and requested it anyway.

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Got that? Joe Biden wasn't personally told about requests for more security in Libya and therefore, the adminstration isn't responsible for the 9/11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Let's go back to what Rep. Jason Chaffetz said yesterday after the debate.

"I found it shocking the Vice President claims he doesn't know that more assets were required in Libya. He's supposed to be the foreign policy expert, if he doesn't know that, especially after yesterday's hearing. Where in the world is he," Chaffetz told Townhall. "Every day begs more questions from this administration. We had four people confirm under sworn testimony that yes, the security officials on the ground were asking for more assets and did not get them."

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