Yesterday CNN.com reported that they had obtained a summary of Eric Nordstrom’s, former chief security officer for U.S. diplomats in Libya, interview with House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Democrats detailing that multiple cables had been sent to the State Department headquarters requesting extra security at the Benghazi consulate where United States Libyan Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three American citizens were victims of a deadly attack nearly one month ago.
According to the article, in the interview Nordstrom alleges that he sent two requests in March 2012 and July 2012 but his pleas were ignored by State Department. Nordstrom went on to say that Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs, Charlene Lamb, insisted that the number of U.S. security personnel in Benghazi stay artificially low. Nordstrom said Lamb did not believe it was necessary to station diplomatic security special agents because Benghazi had a residential safe haven to fall back to in case of an emergency. The interview summary goes on to state that Nordstrom stated that in December 2011 Patrick Kennedy, Undersecretary of State for Management, had issued a memo requiring five agents be stationed at the Benghazi consulate. However, Lamb was quoted saying that she believed the “best course of action was to assign three agents.”
In an article by the Associated Press, Lt. Col., Andrew Wood, a member of the Utah National Guard, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today in a written testimony, “The security in Benghazi was a struggle and remained a struggle throughout my time there. The situation remained uncertain and reports from some Libyans indicated it was getting worse. Diplomatic security remained weak. In April there was only one U.S. diplomatic security agent stationed there,” he went on to say, “The RSO (regional security officer) struggled to obtain additional personnel there but was never able to attain the numbers he felt comfortable with.”
Eric Nordstrom is on record stating, “You will note that there were a number of incidents that targeted diplomatic missions and underscored the GoL’s (government of Libya) inability to secure and protect diplomatic missions. This was a significant part of (the diplomatic) post’s and my argument for maintaining continued DS (diplomatic security) and DOD (Department of Defense) security assets into Sept./Oct. 2012; the GoL was overwhelmed and could not guarantee our protection. Sadly, that point was reaffirmed on September 11, 2012, in Benghazi.”
The first Congressional hearings investigating the attacks in Benghazi is currently in session.