WASHINGTON -- American diplomats in Libya made repeated requests
for increased security for the consulate in Benghazi and were turned
down by officials in Washington, leaders of a House committee said
In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton,
Chairman Darrell Issa and Rep. Jason Chaffetz said their information
came from "individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya."
R-Calif. and Chaffetz, R-Utah said the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi that
killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans was the
latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in
Libya in the months before Sept. 11.
The lawmakers said they plan a
hearing on Oct. 10. They asked Clinton whether the State Department was
aware of the previous incidents, and whether the level of security that
was provided to the U.S. mission met the security threat, and how the
department responded to requests for more security.
the Sept. 11 attacks, the letter said, "It was clearly never, as
administration officials once insisted, the result of a popular
The State Department has declined to answer questions
about whether extra security was sought by officials in Benghazi ahead
of the Sept. 11 attack. Clinton did, however, discuss security on Sept.
18, when asked whether measures were appropriate.
"Let me assure
you that our security in Benghazi included a unit of host government
security forces, as well as a local guard force of the kind that we rely
on in many places around the world," she said.
"In addition to
the security outside the compound, we relied on a wall and a robust
security presence inside the compound. And with all of our missions
overseas, in advance of September 11th, as is done every year, we did an
evaluation on threat streams. And the Office of the Director of
National Intelligence has said we had no actionable intelligence that an
attack on our post in Benghazi was planned or imminent."
added that diplomats "engage in dangerous work, and it's the nature of
diplomacy in fragile societies and conflict zones to be aware of the
necessity for security but to also continue the important diplomatic
work that has to go on.
"There is risk inherent in what we do and
what these brave men and women representing the United States are up
against every single day," Clinton said, "and we do our very best to
limit that risk by ensuring that our security protocols reflect the
environments in which diplomats work and the threats that they are
The committee letter listed a dozen incidents
prior to Sept. 11 that Issa and Chaffetz said were indications of
deteriorating security. The incidents included:
before the attacks, the unarmed Libyan guards at the consulate, employed
by British contractor Blue Mountain Group, were warned by family
members to quit their jobs because there were rumors of an impending
--In April, a gun battle erupted about two miles from the
consulate between an unidentified armed group and forces loyal to the
transitional government. Also in April, two Libyans fired from a
contractor providing security at the consulate threw a small explosive
device over the consulate fence. There were no casualties.
June, a posting on a Facebook page mentioned Stevens' early morning runs
around Tripoli along with members of his security detail. The page
contained a threat against Stevens and a stock photo of him. Stevens
stopped the runs for about a week, but then resumed.
June, assailants placed an explosive device on a gate of the U.S.
consulate, which blew a hole in the security perimeter. That month,
there was a daylight attack on a two-car convoy carrying the British
ambassador to Libya.