The Corner

What Happened in Benghazi?

The confusion and controversy over the attacks in Benghazi on the evening of September 11, who perpetrated the attacks, and how pre-meditated they were  continues, and we likely won’t know the true answers for a long time. This hasn’t been aided by the administration’s caginess and seemingly shifting positions, too. The Wall Street Journal has one account today, detailing the security measures taken (and not taken), and how it all went tragically wrong:

The deadly assault on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya on Sept. 11 was preceded by a succession of security lapses and misjudgments, compounded by fog-of-battle decisions, that raise questions about whether the scope of the tragedy could have been contained.

U.S. officials issued alerts and ordered security precautions in neighboring Egypt ahead of protests and violence on Sept. 11, but largely overlooked the possibility of trouble at other diplomatic postings in the region. . . .

The U.S. didn’t seriously consider sending in the military during the attack. It summoned rapid-response teams of Marines only after the U.S. ambassador was dead. State Department officials said they doubted the Pentagon could have mobilized a rescue force quickly enough to make a difference during the fighting. The Pentagon waited for guidance from State, which is responsible for diplomatic security, a senior military official said.

Adding a new dimension to the chain of events, the siege also engulfed what officials now describe as a secret safe house used by American officials and security personnel involved in sensitive government programs after last year’s Libyan revolution.

Even when that building, also known as the “annex,” came under attack, U.S. officials were reluctant to divulge its existence, and the secrecy complicated the Libyan response and the eventual American evacuation, according to Libyan security officials.

Read the whole thing for a more detailed explication, Here one can find an infographic giving one account of the events, and the Times has another tick-tock, which suggests that survivors of the attack on the consulate were later ambushed on their way to evacuate the “safe house.”

Patrick BrennanPatrick Brennan is a writer and policy analyst based in Washington, D.C. He was Director of Digital Content for Marco Rubio's presidential campaign, writing op-eds, policy content, and leading the ...


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