Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Criminal Negligence: Benghazi Files Part 9

The ninth, and penultimate, entry in the Benghazi Files- the documents dropped on Friday, October 19th.

By rights, the next document I should review is U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual Volume 12 - Diplomatic Security.  I am not for a couple of reasons.  First- it bores me.  If it bores me, it would probably put many, if not most, of my readers to sleep.  Second, I don't know enough about the contents to digest them.  I'll leave my "review" of that document to this, then:  It starts on page 59 and continues through page 66.  The most important thing it says is that any of the requirements contained therein must be waived by the Secretary of State.  Since we can be fairly certain that some of those standards were not met, we must assume, then, that Hilary Clinton directly signed off on those choices.  It is unbelievable that the disposition of the delegation to a country Barack Obama had been hailing as a foreign policy success would not have been discussed with him.  In short: he and Hillary both knew the precise dangers to the Libyan detachment, both in Tripoli and Benghazi.

The next document I will review is perhaps the most depressing.  It is a litany of the "Security Incidents Since June 2011."  It begins on page 67 of the documents and continues through 117.  Obviously, just reviewing this document could be the subject of several posts.  I'll just take some highlights.  These will focus on events in Benghazi, or US Embassy staff directly.

June 1, 2011 - Car bomb in Benghazi.  Blamed on "former regime officials."
Sept 23, 2011 - Pipe bomb thrown at NTC forces "approximate 500 meters west of the temporary U.S. Embassy residential buildings."
Sept 27, 2011 - Protests in downtown Benghazi over holdovers from old regime.  (I note this only because it is not called a "peaceful protest" and others in the document are.  Which, if consistency is assumed, means this one was not. -DT)
Oct. 8, 2011 - Celebratory Gunfire Hits U.S. Mission Mission compound; USG Vehicle damaged.
Oct. 12, 2011 - Celebratory Gunfire Hits Mission Compound.  " approximately 2200 local time, heavy celebratory gunfire, including some heavy weapons fire and substantial amounts of tracer fire, erupted throughout Tripoli, Libya to include from properties and personnel adjacent to the Embassy Residential Compound."
Oct. 14, 2011 - Armed Robbery of ORE Staff:
 "...a member of the Mission's local official residences (ROE) staff, a citizen of Pakistan, was robbed by three males at knife point of his cellular telephone and approximately 200 LYD while walking to a taxi stand.  The incident occurred in daylight hours in the Burg al Fateh area of Tripoli.  The victim went immediately to a nearby police station to report the incident and was told by the police that they could do nothing since Libya was 'without a government or laws'."
Oct. 14, 2011 - Qadhafi Spokesperson Dr. Moussa Ibrahim reportedly calls for supporters to rise up and attack the US, French, and Italian Embassies in Tripoli.
Oct. 26, 2011 - Hand grenade recovered from Mission property lawn - Disarmed and Disposed without injury.
Oct. 28, 2011 - Diplomatic Vehicle Stolen.
Nov. 3, 2011 - Attempted Car-jacking of LES
Nov. 3, 2011 - hand grenade recovered from Mission property - Disarmed and Disposed without injury.
Nov. 24 - 27, 2011 - Student Protests hinder resumption of classes at the Benghazi University
Nov. 27, 2011 - Vandalism of Vehicle at US Embassy
Nov. 28, 2011 - Vandalism of Vehicle at US Embassy
Nov. 29, 2011 - Raid of farm house; Recover of 180 Assault Rifles near Mission compound
Dec. 1, 2011 - (Benghazi) Four injured in Tebu-Arab clashes in Kufra
Dec. 1, 2011 - Detention of U.S. Citizen NGO Representative
Dec. 12, 2011 - (Benghazi) Protests and Counter-Protests in the East
Dec. 16 - 17, 2011- youth Protests Continue
Dec. 18, 2011 - Break-In and Theft form LES vehicle at US Embassy "This is the third incident since 11/27 involving vandalism and/or theft of a Mission employee's vehicle at the interim Embassy compound.
Dec. 20, 2011 - (Benghazi & Tripoli) Protective Security Forces foil an attempt dubbed (Papa Noel) or Santa Claus targeting Embassies and Oil Fields in Libya during Christmas and New Year Eve holidays.
Jan. 10, 2012 - Embassy LES Vehicle Break-In; Theft
Jan. 12, 2012 - Female Political Activist beaten in Benghazi.
Jan. 19, 2012 - (Benghazi) Protesters rough up NTC Vice President
Jan. 20, 2012 - (Tripoli & Benghazi) Mutli City Protests
Jan. 21, 2012 - Protests Storm TNC HQ in Benghazi
Feb. 10, 2012 - Alleged Terror Cell Arrested in Airport Area (Not directly involving US Embassy in Tripoli, or Benghazi area, the fact it was specifically a terror cell makes it germane -DT).
Feb. 14, 2012 - Embassy Security Team member grazed by celebratory small arms fire.
Feb. 19, 2012 - US Mission Personnel Detained "U.S. Mission personnel ere detained by militia personnel after they drove through a previously unknown and hastily created checkpoint in Benghazi"
Mar. 3, 2012 - Local driver threatens Embassy security officers after vehicles scrape in traffic.
Mar. 6, 2012 - (Tripoli & Benghazi) Semi-Autonomy Demonstrations
Mar. 8, 2012 - (Benghazi) Explosions near US Mission Compound
Mar. 16, 2012 - (Benghazi) Pro-Autonomy Demonstrators clash
Mar. 18, 2012 - (Benghazi) Armed robbery of British school personnel
Mar. 22, 2012 - (Benghazi) Militia Members searching for a suspect fire weapons near and attempt to enter U.S. Mission compound. "The local guard on duty fled the gate area when the individuals began firing their weapons in the air."
Mar. 23, 2012 - (Benghazi) Protests by policemen and soldiers
Mar. 23, 2012 - (Benghazi) Armed militia blocks coastal road in Benghazi demanding pay
Apr. 2, 2012 - (Benghazi) UK Diplomatic Armored Vehicle attacked by protesters
Apr. 6, 2012 - (Benghazi) Crude IED thrown over wall of US mission; 2 contract guards arrested as suspects.
Apr. 10, 2012 - Demonstrators storm PM office; Embassy employees evacuated from site.
Apr. 10, 2012 - (Benghazi) Crude IED thrown at UN convoy and Supreme Security Council building
Apr. 11 - 12, 2012 - (Benghazi) MoI Facility attacked by unknown gunmen
Apr. 12, 2012 - (Benghazi) Inter-Militia Clashes
Apr. 23 - May 9, 2012 - (Benghazi) Protests at oil company
Apr. 25, 2012 - US Embassy Local Security Office detained; radio seized
Apr. 26. 2012 - (Benghazi) Fight at International Medical University; US Diplomat evacuated from site
Apr. 27, 2012 - (Benghazi) Failed prison break
Apr. 27, 2012 - (Benghazi) Courthouse bombed
Apr. 27, 2012 - (Benghazi) Expatriot demining/weapons abatement staff detained, question, and released
Apr. 28, 2012 - (Benghazi) Airport closed due to protests.
May 1, 2012 - Deputy LGF Commander detained, assaulted, and US Embassy LGF vehicle stolen by armed individuals at an impromptu check-point near Post's GSO Warehouse
May 2 - 10, 2012 - (Benghazi) Workers strike at Libyan cement company
May 6, 2012 - Three killed and two injured in an armed robbery of bank vehicle; 2 million LYD taken; thieves part of brigade hired to protect Libyan Central Bank in Benghazi.

(Sick of it yet?  This isn't even half the incidents reported -DT)

May 15, 2012 - Military Police Headquarters in Benghazi target of grenade attack
May 15, 2012 - Director of Benghazi's medical center injured in shooting
May 16, 2012 - (Nationwide) Bank employees staged demonstrations following murder of colleagues in armed robbery
May 17, 2012 - TNC Members attacked at Benghazi Airport
May 18, 2012 - (Benghazi) Peaceful demonstration at UNHCR
May 22, 2012 - (Benghazi) ICRC Building and Bank struck by RPGs
June 6, 2012 - (Benghazi) US Mission Target of IED
June 11, 2012 - (Benghazi) RPG Attack on UK Ambassador's convoy; 2 security officers injured
June 13, 2012 - (Benghazi) Individual killed in car bomb assassination
June 21, 2012 - Benghazi Judge linked to Younis's death assassinated
June 23, 2012 - (Benghazi) Armed Robery of UK citizen by local taxi driver
July 1, 2012 - (Benghazi) HNEC Offices stormed; election materials and ballots burned
July 4, 2012 - Border security officer assassinated in Benghazi.
July 6, 2012 - Libyan Airforce helicopter struck by gunfire; one HNEC employee killed
July 7, 2012 - (Benghazi) Armed individuals storm three polling stations
July 19, 2012 - Benghazi Planning Office closed by protesters over salary dispute

As can be seen just from this small selection, the Libyan government couldn't even pay it's security and other personnel.  It couldn't even protect itself or its own citizens.  No matter how well meaning the Libyan government was, they could not provide security for our staff, and local citizens were often worse, not better.  There was absolutely no excuse to have the Benghazi office so lightly defended.

The report ends with a "General Assessment on the Security Environment."  What it says has been discussed in previous posts; I won't rehash all of it here.  However, there is one paragraph (recall, this is from the end of July, still plenty of time to have obtained more security) that I believe needs publication (Emphasis in original):

The risk of U.S. Mission personnel, private U.S. citizens, and business persons encountering an isolating event as a result of militia or political violence is HIGH.  The Government of Libya does not yet have the ability to effectively respond to and manage the rising criminal and militia related violence, which could result in an isolating event.

I'll summarize my thoughts in the final post of this series.

To Finish in Part 10

Part 1Part 5
Part 2Part 6
Part 3Part 7
Part 4Part 8


  1. Nice work, Allen! That's a long slog, but this was definitely the money post.

    Oh, and new post at my place.

    Not really.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, EoJ. Looking forward to your next bourbon-cast.