Saturday, October 20, 2012

Criminal Negligence: Benghazi Files Part 2

In the first part of this series, I looked at the first eight pages of those released by a pair of Republicans on Friday.

Those first 8 pages set the general stage for what was to come.  From virtually the beginning, the Benghazi office was under-protected, to the point that they had to curtail any activities outside their compound.

To continue...

The third document is a Report "Progress Elusive in Libya."  It is dated March 1, 2011.  It is split into sections.

The first section is simply titled, "Instability Continues."  It remarks on the fact that violent clashes were known to occur, and that many of these armed conflicts were targeting the Transitional National Council (TNC)- the group trying to form a new Libyan Government after the death of Muammar Qaddafi.  One highlight: "Clashes between the Tabou and Zwaya tribes erupted in southeaster Libya on February 12 and killed more than 100, according to the United Nations."

The next section is "A Confederation of Militias."  This details some of the problems with the militias and demonstrates the TNC's tenuous grasp on the country. Several times in this section the inability of the TNC to reign in the militias is mentioned.  One telling excerpt: "TNC efforts to centralize authority and incorporate militias under its control generally have failed thus far, highlighting the continued dominance of local militias and the fragmented nature of the national security profile."

I believe it is worth mentioning that these two paragraphs are bureaucrat-ese for "this place is FUBAR."  Don't let the clinical language fool you.  The words chosen are those attempting, through the veil of the bureaucratic language barriers, to inform someone's superiors of just how bad the situation is.

Then the third section: "Radical Islamists."  Let's just say it doesn't say, "Nope, didn't find any."  This section references December 2011.  Given that the report is dated March 2011, either the date on the document is wrong, or the date in this section is.  I cannot tell which.  Given the context of this section, I believe they mean December 2010.  Again, a single quote: "Until a stronger national army or guard force is developed, rural Libya will remain fertile territory for terrorist groups such as al-Qai'da in the Islamic Maghreb."

The final section of this document (which takes 2 pages- taking us to page 10 of 121) is "Implications for the Private Sector." This one, less germane to the overall picture as regards Benghazi on 9/11/2012, nevertheless helps us see the full picture.  In an act of understatement to rival "that's not optimal," the section begins: "The lack of an effective national government will continue to present a challenge for businesses operating in Libya."

So, again, we see a country in upheaval   One that was dangerous to its own citizens, let alone any foreigners.  Perhaps more important, we see a nation which is not a nation.  It cannot enforce its own will internally, let alone defend its actual sovereignty.  As such, anything less that the utmost security should have been seen as inadequate long before September of 2012.

Part 1
To Continue In Part 3

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