ForexTV NewsDesk | October 11 2012 12:06 EDT
ForexTV.com (New York) by R. Rode
The hearing held yesterday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee over the failed security measures at the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya has the Republican Party issuing another talking point for the upcoming Presidential Debate.
On the eleventh anniversary of September 11th, heavily armed men equipped with AK-47’s and Rocket Propelled Grenades set ablaze the U.S. Embassy killing four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens and two former Navy SEALS.
Early reports from the White House on the eve of September 11th had Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stating that the actions in Benghazi were stirred from an anti-Islam video and did not mention terrorism as the end result.
"Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet," Clinton said on the night of the attack. "The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind."
Days later the Obama administration and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said that at the time of the murders, she was issuing the best information made possible and that the attacked stemmed from a protest that became violent.
"As information came in, information was put out, the information may not have always been right the first time," President Obama said. "These are people I know, and if there is something to be fixed, it will get fixed."
Foreign Policy will be a main topic in next week’s Town Hall debate held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York and Republican lawmakers are refusing to accept the Obama Administrations’ explanation at the hearing that adequate protection was given to the embassy and its officials. They are also refusing to accept the slow response to terrorism as the end result, not an anti-Islam video.
The blame game shifted during the hearing with Democrats accusing the Republicans for cutting more than $300 million in diplomatic security funds worldwide.
"The fact is that, since 2011, the House has cut embassy security by hundreds of millions of dollars below the amounts requested by the president," said Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the committee's senior Democrat.
Charlene Lamb, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs at the State Department's Bureau of Diplomat Security and the official in charge of protecting U.S. embassies and consulates, told the committee, "We had the correct number of assets in Benghazi at the time of 9/11."
"We were training local Libyans and army men" she said to provide security, a policy in force at U.S. diplomatic facilities around the world.
Eric Nordstrom, who was the top security official in Libya earlier this year, testified he was criticized for seeking more security. "There was no plan and it was hoped it would get better," he said.
Nordstrom told the committee those conversations he had with people in Washington led him to believe that it was "abundantly clear we were not going to get resources until the aftermath of an incident. How thin does the ice have to get before someone falls through?"
He said he was so exasperated at one point he told a colleague that "for me the Taliban is on the inside of the building."
Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, who headed a 16-member military force in Libya, disputed State Department officials who said the special operations troops were replaced by people with the same skill sets.
The skills of his troops were "way above the skill level of local (forces) armed with a pistol," Wood said, adding he was he was frustrated that pleas for more security were not met.
"We were fighting a losing battle, we weren't even allowed to keep what we had," he testified.
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