Thursday, May 29, 2014

Excerpts on Barbara Boxer Story Accusing GOP for Benghazi

Barbara Boxer
Okay, I know I am bit behind the curve on this one. It often takes me awhile to sift through all my G+ and Facebook notifications in a timely manner. I just read a comment made on G+ pertaining to the post “Benghazigate Matters!” I made that post on May 10 and commenter Eric Garrett posted his excerpted comment on May 11. Here we are now on May 29.

Eric points to a link to “Barbara Boxer’s claim that GOP budgets hampered Benghazi security” which is currently dated May 16. I can’t explain the link disparity except to guess. Perhaps Eric read this link and it was updated to May 16 or G+ software messed up on dating Eric’s comment. OR I am having difficulty with the G+ comment system and the thoughts are really JR Smith’s. Whatever happened, Eric’s thoughts are quite informative.

JRH 5/29/14
Excerpts on Barbara Boxer Story Accusing GOP for Benghazi

By Eric Garrett (or maybe JR Smith)
May 11, 2014 2:16 AM

[EXCERPT]: "Moreover, while Boxer claims that Republicans “cut” the budget, she is only comparing it to what the Obama administration proposed. The reality is that funding for embassy security has increased significantly in recent years.
“The Department of State’s base requests for security funding have increased by 38 percent since Fiscal Year (FY) 2007, and base budget appropriations have increased by 27 percent in the same time period,” said the bipartisan Senate Homeland Security Committee report on the Benghazi attack.

The report added that baseline funding requests have not been fully funded since fiscal year 2010, but noted that Congress had been responsive in providing “Overseas Contingency Operations” funds to the State Department in response to emergent security-driven requests, mainly for Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“However, there was no supplemental or OCO request made by the President for additional diplomatic security enhancements in FY 2010 or FY 2011,” the report pointedly noted. “Neither the Department of State nor Congress made a point of providing additional funds in a supplemental request for Libya, or more specifically, Benghazi.”

Meanwhile, while the Accountability Review Board investigation into the attack lamented the failure of Congress to provide necessary resources — and called for “a more serious and sustained commitment from Congress to support State Department needs” — it fixed the blame for the lack of security squarely on State Department officials.

One huge problem was that the facility was deemed temporary — as we have noted, most of the officials there were working for the CIA, not State — and thus it could not be funded with standard overseas building funds. (Despite persistent news media reports, this was not a “consulate”—far from it.) After the fact, the ARB report recommended allowing for greater flexibility in use of such funds and requiring minimum security standards for such temporary facilities.

(A side note: Given that the U.S. effort in Benghazi was basically a CIA operation, State Department funding issues may be largely irrelevant. Unfortunately, we don’t have access to the classified version of the ARB report. But it is worth remembering that the CIA was responsible for security at the “annex”—where most of the Americans in Benghazi were housed.)

A key finding in the ARB report was: “Security in Benghazi was not recognized and implemented as a ‘shared responsibility’ by the bureaus in Washington charged with supporting the post, resulting in stove-piped discussions and decisions on policy and security. That said, Embassy Tripoli did not demonstrate strong and sustained advocacy with Washington for increased security for Special Mission Benghazi.”

During hearings into the attack last fall and this month, State Department officials were specifically asked if a lack of financial resources played a role in the attack. The answer was no."
Edited by John R. Houk

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