This is also indefensible, considering ample warning of the terrorist threat even before President Obama committed U.S. forces to intervene in Libya.
A report from ABC News cited Defense Department records from 2007 indicating that nearly one-fifth of al Qaeda’s foreign fighters in Iraq came from Libya, making Libya “far and away” the largest provider of foreign fighters per capita to the terror group’s operations in Iraq.
Furthermore, “almost all of the Libyan fighters hailed from the east — cities like Benghazi.”
I cited these facts in April 2011 during the debate over President Obama’s unconstitutional Libya action, and the intelligence community and State Department certainly should have considered militia activity a prime factor in security decisions in Benghazi.
Given the known militia presence and well-documented series of attacks leading up to Sept. 11, 2012, it is all the more implausible that the Obama administration ever really believed the attack was carried out by a disorganized mob protesting a video.
Even prior to the Accountability Review Board study, e-mail records indicated that the White House knew within two hours that the attack was the work of organized terrorists.
Now we have a review board report that definitively states that “there was no protest prior to the attacks.”
Under mounting pressure after the scathing report, four State Department officials have resigned.
This is appropriate, and it is encouraging that the State Department has begun implementing some of the review board’s 29 recommendations, including increasing the number of Marine guards stationed at diplomatic missions.
Yet the most senior officials continue to avoid full accountability.
Outgoing Secretary of State Clinton has remained conspicuously and conveniently absent from the discussion, sending a letter to Capitol Hill in lieu of testifying in congressional hearings.
Secretary Clinton has previously claimed that she accepts “full responsibility” for the Benghazi failures, and that should include testifying before Congress when her health permits.
Congress remains committed to full disclosure and accountability in the Benghazi attack to ensure the safety of the thousands of foreign service workers serving in harm’s way around the world.
Tom Cole represents the 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.