On September 11th, 2012, the U.S. embassy in Benghazi was attacked and four American citizens were killed, including Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens. Here is a brief timeline of the events surrounding this travesty.
- The United States embassy in Benghazi saw security cuts prior to the attack.
The State Department scaled back U.S. security staff in Libya in the weeks and months before the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans, despite requests for additional personnel, former U.S. security officials told a politically charged congressional hearing.
- The embassy had ‘inappropriately low’ security at the Benghazi post.
From ABC News:
ABC News has learned that Eric Nordstrom, the former Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Libya, has told congressional investigators that security at the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, was “inappropriately low” – and believed that State Department officials stood in the way of his attempts to change that.
- The terrorists, on Facebook, warned of attacks on western targets in the run-up to September 11th. Intelligence missed these threats.
From the Daily Beast:
Jihadists twice set off explosives at the consulate prior to the incident that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, and announced threats on Facebook about escalating attacks on Western targets in the run-up to the 9/11 anniversary, according to whistleblowers reaching out to House Republicans.
- A Libyan embassy security official got no reply to requests for more security.
A U.S. security officer twice asked his State Department superiors for more security agents for the American mission in Benghazi months before an attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans, but he got no response.
- Security requests made by the Libyan mission were ‘denied’ by Washington officials.
From The Washington Times:
“Multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed … that, prior to the Sept. 11 attack, the U.S. mission in Libya made repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi. The mission in Libya, however, was denied these resources by officials in Washington,” Reps. Darrell E. Issa and Jason Chaffetz said in a letter…
- On September 11th, the United States embassy in Benghazi, Libya was attacked. The security at the embassy was easily breached, allowing what appeared to be an organized group of militants gain access.
From the New York Times:
Islamist militants armed with antiaircraft weapons and rocket-propelled grenades stormed a lightly defended United States diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, late Tuesday, killing the American ambassador and three members of his staff and raising questions about the radicalization of countries swept up in the Arab Spring.
- Though details of the attack were unknown, the Obama administration, the State Department and many members of the media immediately and confidently began blaming the attack on an amateur American movie trailer that appeared on YouTube that very few people even knew existed.
From Reuters on 9/11, the same day as the attack:
Egyptian protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy on Tuesday, tore down the American flag and burned it during a protest over what they said was a film being produced in the United States that insulted Prophet Mohammad.
- Just three days after the attack, a report came to light that showed that the State Department had credible information regarding a potential attack on American embassies 48 hours before the attack took place.
From the Independent:
According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and “lockdown”, under which movement is severely restricted.
- The administration and other US officials continued to blame the attack on a YouTube video although there was little evidence to support this claim. Rather, the evidence strongly suggested that the attack was indeed terrorist related and could have been prevented with the proper security. This general meme was even repeated by president Obama in front of the United Nations General Assembly.
- The United States begins running advertisements in Pakistan featuring President Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton apologizing for the film trailer they claim was responsible for the attack.
Marked by the U.S. Embassy seal, advertisements condemning an anti-Islam video appeared on Pakistani television on Thursday in an apparent attempt to undercut anger against the United States, where the film was produced.
- Fifteen days after the attack, a media report showed that United States intelligence officials had learned that the event was a planned terrorist attack by Al Qaeda affiliates and had nothing to do with a video.
From the Daily Beast:
Sources say intelligence agencies knew within a day that al Qaeda affiliates were behind the attacks in Benghazi, Libya—they even knew where one of the attackers lived…
Within 24 hours of the 9-11 anniversary attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, U.S. intelligence agencies had strong indications Al Qaeda–affiliated operatives were behind the attack, and had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers.
- Even though the State Department knew within 24 hours that the attack was terrorist related and all evidence suggested that the anti-Islam video had nothing to do with the attack, the video theory had already taken root in the American media. The maker of the film was arrested.
- The House Oversight Committee began investigating the events surrounding the attack. When State Department officials took the stand, they confirmed that security was lacking at the embassy, requests for more security were denied and that the attack was indeed terror related. Despite these admissions, State Department Security Chief Charlene Lamb claimed that there were the “correct number of [security] assets in Benghazi” at the time of the attack.
“Sir, we had the correct number of assets in Benghazi at the time of 9/11 for what had been agreed upon,” Lamb said.“My time is expired, to start off by saying that the correct number, and our ambassador and three other individuals are dead and people are in the hospital recovering because it only took moments to breach that facility, somehow doesn’t seem to ring true for the American people,” Issa said.
- With all this information, Stephanie Cutter, the deputy campaign manager for the Obama campaign says that Romney and Ryan are responsible for making this event a big story.
- Vice President Joe Biden, during the debate with Paul Ryan, claims that the Obama administration received no requests for added security in Benghazi. his claim is quickly repudiated in the media.
from CBS News:
“Now Biden wanted to obviously stop Romney’s momentum from last week and change the subject but he may have some clean up of his own to do today on Libya,” reports CBS’s Jan Crawford. “He said last night the administration didn’t know about additional security requests there in Benghazi. Of course, that was the subject of a House hearing this week where State Department officials said multiple requests for additional security were denied. So you can expect to hear a lot more about this today.”