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House Committee: Washington Denied 'Repeated' Requests for Increased Security in Libya

"The attack that claimed the ambassador’s life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to September 11, 2012"

(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

(TheBlaze/AP) -- Leaders of a House committee said Tuesday that U.S. diplomats in Libya made repeated requests for increased security for the consulate in Benghazi, but were turned down by officials in Washington.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chairman Darrell Issa and Rep. Jason Chaffetz wrote:

“Based on information provided to the Committee by individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya, the attack that claimed the ambassador’s life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to September 11, 2012.  It was clearly never, as Administration officials once insisted, the result of a popular protest... In addition, multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed to the Committee that, prior to the September 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.” [Emphasis added]

Issa, R-Calif. and Chaffetz, R-Utah cite 13 attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the 6 months before Sept. 11 that could justify increased security.  Most notably, the letter cites an attempt to assassinate the British ambassador.

“Put together, these events indicated a clear pattern of security threats that could only be reasonably interpreted to justify increased security for U.S. personnel and facilities in Benghazi,” the chairmen continue.

The lawmakers say they plan a hearing for Oct. 10, asking Clinton whether the State Department was aware of the previous incidents, 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 State Department declined to answer questions about whether extra security was sought ahead of the Sept. 11 attack, but Clinton touched on the subject on Sept. 18.

Fox News has analysis:

"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 remarked.

Clinton 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 important diplomatic work that has to go on."

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also declined to comment.

“I’m not going to get into a situation under review by the State Department and the FBI,” he remarked.

Click here for Chairman Issa and Rep. Chaffetz’s entire letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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