If this doesn't sink Obama ....America is sunk.
Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, in a diplomatic cable from Libya last June, cited the apparent rise of “Islamic extremism” and the spotting of “the Al Qaeda flag” over buildings outside the city of Benghazi, where he and three other Americans were ultimately killed in an attack on Sept. 11.
The previously classified cable is among 166 pages of documents made public Friday by Rep. Darryl E. Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, who says they expose an egregious shortage of security around the U.S. diplomatic missions in Libya during the period leading up to last month’s attack.
Mr. Issa sent the documents to the White House Friday with a letter calling on the administration to explain why “repeated warnings about a worsening security situation appear to have been ignored” in Libya. The committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, described the move as an “undeniably partisan” attempt to politicize the incident ahead of Monday’s foreign policy debate between Mitt Romney and President Obama.
The documents include a June 25 cable in which Mr. Stevens cited an uptick in attacks occurring in Libya “targeting international organizations and foreign interests.” He went on to point out a June attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, which involved the explosion of an improvised bomb.
Little has previously been reported about the incident, which occurred just three months before the attack that ultimately lead to Mr. Stevens‘ death. In the cable, he said responsibility for June’s attack had been claimed by “an Islamic extremist group, ‘the Imprisoned Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman Brigade.’ “
The infamous “Blind Sheikh,” Abdel-Rahman is presently serving a life sentence in the United States, convicted of plots to blow up the United Nations headquarters along with major bridges and tunnels in New York.
Mr. Stevens made no reference of any American attempt to investigate the June incident.
“Libyan security officials purport to have launched investigations,” he wrote, adding that a Libyan security official had “shared his private opinion that the attacks were the work of extremists who are opposed to western influence in Libya.”
“A number of local contacts agreed, noting that Islamic extremism appears to be on the rise in eastern Libya and that the Al Qaeda flag has been spotted several times flying over government buildings and training facilities” in a small Libyan city about 100 miles east of Benghazi, Mr. Stevens wrote. He added, however, that other contacts said the June attack could also have simply been the work of loyalists to ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Other cables cite ongoing concerns about security. In one on Aug. 8, under the title “The Guns of August: Security in eastern Libya,” Mr. Stevens asserted that the “absence of significant deterrence” had “contributed to a security vacuum.”
In another, on Sept. 11, just hours before he was killed, Mr. Stevens noted a local Libyan commander in Benghazi had “expressed growing frustration with police and security forces (who were too weak to keep the country secure) …”
Other documents shed light on ongoing exchanges between State Department personnel over security.
One from February 2012 features an email in which Foreign Service Officer Shawn P. Crowley wrote to others, including Eric A. Nordstrom, the then-chief security officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, about the “lack of security” at the consulate in Benghazi.
“Apologies for being a broken record, but beginning tomorrow, Benghazi will be down two agents,” Mr. Crowley wrote, noting that “we have no drivers and new local guard contract employees have no experience driving armored vehicles.”