• Libya Just Gets Uglier and Sleazier

    October 10, 2012

    Tags: , , , , ,
    Posted in: Embassy/State

    The evidence that State knew of the security issues in Benghazi, and ignored them, continues to accumulate.

    Word is that inside Foggy Bottom everyone is rushing around getting their ducks in line so that someone else takes the symbolic fall for the screw-ups. They’ve got time– the Accountability Review Board will certainly not release anything before the election. Look for a news dump maybe the Friday after Thanksgiving? 2015? The truth will be happily buried, but in reality should be something like this: heavy security cost too much, plus it would make the Clinton narrative that limited-scale intervention in Libya worked look really bad right when her boss is struggling in the campaign. Admitting failure in Libya would also limit options in Syria. So, try and blame it on some video, then on al Qaeda (damn, that always used to work, too) and then find some mid-level person at State to hang.

    It Was the Other Guy

    One person not allowing himself to be the sacrificial lamb is the former State security officer for Libya, Eric Nordstrom, who is running around Washington telling pretty much everyone who will listen that it was State Department official Charlene Lamb who wanted to keep the number of U.S. security personnel in Benghazi “artificially low,” according to a memo summarizing his comments to a congressional committee that was obtained by Reuters. Nordstrom has also implicated State Department management robot Pat Kennedy in the bloody decision-making. Such plain speaking will otherwise end Nordstrom’s State Department career, and so we welcome him here into liberated We Meant Well territory. Call us for recommendations for lawyers Eric.

    Kudos no doubt inside State for Susan Rice being willing to take a bullet in the early days to try and save her boss. Bot now even State is doing a little pointless damage control saying there never was a video-related protest in Benghazi. So Susan, what’s being thrown under the bus feel like?

    Whither Diplomatic Security?

    Meanwhile, attention once again focuses on State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the bully boys who seem much better at hassling diplomats for extra-marital sex than protecting them from terror.

    Bureau of Diplomatic Security saw its budget expand about tenfold in the decade after the deadly 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Contributing to that growth were the U.S.-launched wars in Afghanistan and Iraq after the September 11 attacks.

    So where’d all that money go to if not into protecting places like Benghazi? Former FSO Bill answers:

    Don’t be fooled into thinking that the increased budget went to increased personnel and better security. Most of the increased funding is dedicated to Special Agent pensions under Public Law 105-382, which establishes age 57 as the mandatory retirement age for Special Agents, and computes their annuity at 2.5% of high 3 average salary times number of years. This is far more generous, and far more expensive than pension benefits for other State employees. In the late 90s, both State and ICE scrambled to get their officers designated as Special Agents, a designation previously limited to fewer agencies. While it was a prestige and morale issue for both agencies, it has had a major impact on budget expenditures. Those who complain that military pensions are too generous should note that DS uses the same formula as the military, but DS average salaries are much higher than military salaries. Once they retire with a really good pension, they can come right back as contractors, who don’t have any requirement to retire at age 57. That’s where the money goes.


    And Hillary?

    On Wednesday, the House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing “The Security Failures of Benghazi,” featuring Pat “Blood on his Hands” Kennedy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Programs Charlene “It Wasn’t Me” Lamb, Eric Nordstrom and Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, who lead the security team in Libya until August. Be sure to set your bullshit detectors to stun.

    Expect Kennedy to say something like “who could have anticipated this?” Well, Pat old chum, in a country where you are paying staff 30% additional danger pay, it seems real to expect things.

    But where is Hillary? Turns out her last public statement on the Libya fiasco was October 3, a week ago, another empty promise that “the men and women who serve this country as diplomats deserve no less than a full, accurate accounting.”

    Despite her usual lofty rhetoric, Hillary has had nothing more to say and won’t testify before the House. As soon as the real scrutiny begins, Hillary dummies up.

    Looking ahead to the Hillary Clinton presidential run in 2016, opposition researchers, please bookmark this page.

    BONUS Editorial

    State needs to make a decision. If State wishes to populate diplomatic establishments in active war zones, it must a) wait to create a permanent secure facility; b) pay for what is needed to create an appropriate temporary facility; or c) simply accept that diplomats will die for these political decisions.

    State instead wants to fulfill the short-term political suck up goal of staffing hot spots without paying the cost of proper security. As such, it is just a matter of time and chance that more places are not overrun.

    State is trying to treat Benghazi as some grand exception/accident when in fact it is just the first of many possibles. Post 9/11 very little has changed in the internal architecture of Diplomatic Security. They are still using the pre-9/11 model of relatively low-key civilian security, host country support and on-the-cheap local guard hires.

    Instead, the nasty truth is that the new model is Baghdad– an armed camp inside hostile territory wholly independent of host government assistance, ’cause there ain’t gonna be none.

    Of course the other idea would be to abandon the wet dream that State needs to staff active war zones. What’s the point anyway? Prior to the Iraq war porn fantasy, diplomats were withdrawn until a country stabilized.




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  • Recent Comments

    • MattieB said...

      1

      Serious, honest question: Why would State be responsible for security at a temporary, rented Agency and DIA facility? Wouldn’t those two agencies handle the security?
      Might that be the reason Benghazi was not listed on the State or Embassy Tripoli websites as a Consulate? Might that be the reason that Blue Mountain is not listed as a State Dept. security contractor?
      Your anger at your treatment by the State Department is justified. But piling on here along with Rep. Darrell “grand theft auto” Issa is a little beneath you, and beneath the candor and integrity of your book.

      ps: “extra-martial sex” is a funny typo.

      10/10/12 2:03 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...

      2

      I have explored the question of whether the Benghazi facility was largely just a CIA station here: http://wemeantwell.com/blog/2012/09/26/ambassador-stevens-in-libya-just-wrong-cia-place-wrong-time/ , including the Blue Mountain issue.

      But, at the end of the day, State was at least nominally in charge of security and State is the one taking the hits and it was State’s ambassador killed. State needs to provide the answers at this point.

      As for the martial aspect of marital, I guess we all call them as we see them 🙂

      10/10/12 4:02 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      3

      Bwhahahahahahahahaaha!!!

      note to self…file under

      “…well what the fuck did you expect..the truth?”

      One more example of the totally lying schmucks who work for the Federal Government. After all..take a look at the other Issa Oversight Committee scandal..aka Fast and Furious. What a crock.. same ole..same ole. Eric Holder should be behind bars right now. But whatta ya expect..the truth?? yea..riiiiiiiiight. These fuckers couldn’t tell the truth if their kids life depended on it. And that’s what our Federal Government is now…ONE BIG FUCKING LIE AFTER ANOTHER. Pathetic.

      10/10/12 8:07 PM | Comment Link

    • The Diplomad said...

      4

      Good stuff. I have been covering State’s disgraceful performance over at my blog from the beginning.

      10/11/12 4:17 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      5

      “Who could have foreseen?” — the Benghazi edition

      Director of National “Intelligence” James Clapper told a conference in Florida on Tuesday that there was no advanced warning about the Libya attack. (then explain why others did get out of Benghazi)

      He scoffed at media portrayals of him as “hapless and hopeless” for acknowledging on September 28 a shift in the intelligence assessment of the Benghazi assault, calling it a deliberate terrorist attack instead of an event stemming from spontaneous protest, as initially thought.

      Clapper suggested it was unrealistic for anyone to expect the U.S. intelligence community to have a “a God’s eye, God’s ear certitude” right after an attack like the one in Libya.

      Such Clap-trap should get this clown and any other ignorant State official who deems this a satisfactory excuse a ticket to the unemployment as they pose a clear and present danger to national security.

      10/11/12 8:20 PM | Comment Link

    • Consul-At-Arms said...

      6

      Remember: there are never any failures of either policy nor operations.

      Failures, if any, must always be attributed to intelligence.

      (That is all.)

      10/11/12 9:10 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      7

      Leading a Lamb to the slaughter (WAPO editorial aka State’s Pravda)

      “GOP House investigators have helped make clear that the Benghazi attack should have come as no surprise to the U.S. mission — and that it was preceded by terrible decisions about security. Though extremist militants were known to be operating in the Benghazi area, only a tiny force protected the U.S. compound; the State Department denied a request by the regional security officer to extend the term of a 16-member military squad that had been protecting the embassy in Tripoli. An assertion at the hearing by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charlene Lamb that “we had the correct number of assets in Benghazi at the time of 9/11” was patently absurd; the White House quickly repudiated it.

      In an interview with ABC News on Wednesday, Mr. Obama acknowledged that “the information may not have always been right the first time.” He added that “the “bottom line is . . . I want us to get the folks who did it, and I want us to figure out what are the lessons learned.”

      10/12/12 9:57 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      8

      10/12/12 10:27 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      9

      My speculation is that the Obama administration demanded a ballet slipper security toeprint in Benghazi to maintain the spin that the overthrow of Gaddafi turned out wonderfully instead of the disaster it is today. Lamb may have voluntarily fallen on her sword (for later very large rewards of course).

      10/13/12 6:03 PM | Comment Link

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