Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Criminal Negligence: Benghazi Files Part 7

Part 7 in an ongoing review of the Benghazi Documents starts on page 52 of the document dump.  This request, directed to the Secretary of State and "WASHDC" (probably the White House) is dated August 2, 2012.  Most of the document is too poorly scanned to read, but the beginning is enough- and is chilling enough.  The document is a "corrected copy" correcting the Subject of a prior document.  The (corrected) title is "Request to add LES Ambassador Protective Detail Bodyguard Positions in US Embassy Tripoli.

Ambassador Stevens requested an additional 11 bodyguards to assist with security, to replace TDY Security personnel who would be leaving.  A line in this document, which has been seen in prior documents is this: "Post appreciates ongoing efforts by DS to meet and fulfill our security standards."  Translated from Bureaucrat, that says, "What the hell is going on over there?  We need additional security, ASAP."

As with other documents, this refers to the deteriorating situation on the ground:
The security condition in Libya remains unpredictable, volatile, and violent.  Though certain goals have been successfully met... violent security incidents continue to take place due to the lack of coherent national Libyan security force and the strength of local militias and large numbers of armed groups. 
Post has made several procedural security and physical upgrades to the interim US Embassy Compounds.  However, host nation security support is lacking and cannot be depended on to provide a safe and secure environment for the diplomatic mission of outreach performed by FSO and other USG personnel on the ground.

Once again, we're told of a "volatile and violent" situation on the ground.  Once again, we're told that the Libyan government is unable to guarantee security.

The next document, begins on page 54.  It is another "weekly report."  Unlike the others, this does not merely provide "scene" for what would happen later, but is another cry for additional security.

The fourth section of the document (page 55) is a report of a "Security Dialogue."  A Women's rights activist in Benghazi had been detained by a militia.  Afterwards, she told the Embassy staff "for the first time since the revolution, I am scared."  That section finishes thus:
She asked in exasperation, "How can we be the commercial capital if we can't keep our streets safe?"  Bugaighis is particularly concerned by the lack of public remorse over the killings of former regime officials, which she sees as a reflection of concern that the government is too weak to bring them to justice.

Again, a report of a weak central government.  This time, instead of it being from US Staff, it is from a native with a stake in the future of the country far above what the Embassy staff would have had.

The fifth and final section of the document is a simple list of "Security Incidents."  Among those items:
* UN officials believe the Supreme Security Council is "fading away," unwilling to take on "anyone with powerful patrons or from powerful tribes."
* Incidents continue in this security vacuum, including a grenade attack on Army Colonel Abdullah el-Shaafi on August 14 and the reported storming of the al-Bilad newspaper by unidentified armed men on August 16.

The one "positive" is almost pathetic, in light of previous information- namely that government officials would promise things which would then not be delivered.
* On a positive note, the local police did respond informally to acknowledge receipt of our request for a permanent presence in Benghazi; we will follow up with them in the days ahead.  Also of note, the war veterans who had been occupying the Tibesti hotel lobby have departed and the hotel is said to be preparing to reopen on August 22.

Their "positive note" was that local police had responded informally that they had received a request.  Not a formal response.  Not an affirmation that permission would be granted.  No, an informal response that they'd received the request.

To Continue in Part 8

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

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