Sunday, October 21, 2012

Criminal Negligence: Benghazi Files Part 3

The ongoing review of the Benghazi documents continues with a Memo from Eric Nordstrom to "DS/DSS/TIA/OSAC" with the subject: "OSAC Crime and Safety Report."  It begins on page 11 and continues through page 22.  I think we used to call that a "Report" not a "Memorandum" but that's irrelevant.

This document is another that sets up the scene for what would eventually occur.  Dated February 1, 2012, it gives overviews of several areas.  It's too long to quote portions of every section, let alone vast swaths of the document, but some pieces bear repeating.

The first section is simply labeled "Crime."  All of its five paragraphs either center on, or mention, the general instability in Libya, and the fact that it has no effective central government.  Several times the Libyan Ministry of Interior is referred to as "ineffective" or some variation thereon.

Reading the document sounds like the set-up for a Mad Max movie.  Private entities  including citizens, foreigners, and institutions such as international corporations, must rely on themselves for protection.  Crime was rising.  Such security as existed was scattered, poorly concerted, and largely ineffective.

In the first paragraph of the section "Regional Terrorism and Organized Crime," we find this little gem of a quote:

"However, extremist groups and persons affiliated with extremist groups participated in the fighting against the Ghaddafi regime.  Al-Qaida affiliated groups, including Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and other violent extremist groups are likely to take advantage of the ongoing political turmoil in Libya."

It is obvious that terror groups were well known to operate in Libya.  Their presence, and that they still wanted to kill Americans should hardly have been a surprise.  Given the ineffectiveness of the Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC), it should also have been realized that no security could be guaranteed by that agency.

Worse, several times the document refers to low police presence, long response times from police, and the heterogeneous nature of security- that is, that most areas were controlled by one militia or another.  The picture it paints of Libya is one of the Wild West of the movies, not the relatively genteel Frontier West of the real world.

The next document, included in this part because of its close correlation with the previous, is a report labeled "Annual Crime Evaluation Questionairre (ACEQ) 2012"  It was dated February 20, 2012- just under 3 weeks later.  It begins on page 23 and continues through page 35 of the document release.

If the previous document painted a bleak picture in broad strokes, this document fills in the details.  It provides 13 pages of specific problems in Libya.  I will simply provide snapshots.

Note that, as early as November 15 of 2011, US personnel, in this case an International (US Based) NGO, were the specific targets of attacks.

That exact wording is found in "Justification" sections throughout the document.  It is usually preceded by "Police or neighbor assn. are partially effective..."

As has been shown, as far back as November 2011 Libya was known to be highly dangerous.  By the latter half of February 2012 that still had not improved.  Yet no moves were made to make the Benghazi office any more secure.

Particularly disturbing is the blunt language on the question of "Professionalism of Police."  By that description, they were effectively not police at all.

To Continue in Part 4

Part 1
Part 2

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