Two Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today demanded more details about the Sept. 11 attack on the Benghazi consulate that left four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens dead.
“While we appreciate your participation in the briefing to the U.S. Senate last week, we are extremely concerned about conflicting reports over the events leading up to the attacks,” Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today. “Specifically, we are concerned over the apparent lack of security preparations made despite a demonstrable increase in risks to U.S. officials and facilities in Benghazi in the period leading up to the attacks.”
The senators noted June and August attacks on Westerners in Benghazi that should have served as warning.
“Libyan officials claim that that they met with U.S. officials regarding rising threats against Western officials in the days leading up to the attacks, and CNN reports that Ambassador Stevens was increasingly concerned over the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi and rising levels of Islamist extremism,” Isakson and Corker wrote. “Despite these warnings, the State Department sought and received a waiver from the standard security requirements for the consulate.”
The State Department’s Accountability Review Board investigating the attacks and the U.S. security posture is expected to deliver its report later this year.
“While we appreciate the sensitivities associated with this ongoing investigation, we must insist on more timely information regarding the attacks and the events leading up to the attacks,” the senators wrote. “To that end, we request that you transmit to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee all communications between the U.S. Mission to Libya and the State Department relevant to the security situation in Benghazi in the period leading up to the attacks, including, but not limited to, cables sent from Ambassador Stevens.”