Benghazi-Gate Updates: Tunisians Arrested, U.S. Investigators Finally Reach Scene, Whistleblowers say security intentionally reduced at consulate prior to 9-11

Some explosive updates – Jason Chaffetz reveals the State Department intentionally withdrew security personell prior to Benghazi consulate attack.   Investigators finally reach scene three weeks post attack, and early reports say two Tunisian nationals have been arrested:

The Security Withdrawl - In the six months leading up to the assault on the United States consulate in Benghazi, the State Department reduced the number of trained Americans guarding U.S. facilities in Libya, according to a leading House Republican investigating the Sept. 11 anniversary attacks. The reduction in U.S. security personnel increased America’s reliance on local Libyan guards for the protection of its diplomats.

This is the latest charge from Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Utah Republican leading a House investigation on the Benghazi attacks, regarding alleged security defects in Benghazi. Chaffetz said the information comes from whistleblowers who have approached the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

The State Department on Wednesday didn’t respond to requests for comment. However, a senior State Department official said an independent review panel was examining the charge. This official said it was routine to reduce the number of U.S. personnel serving in new diplomatic posts such as Benghazi over time. When the U.S. established its official presence in Benghazi in 2011, it was the middle of a war, and even routine jobs such as drivers were handled by U.S. personnel, this official said.  (more)

Investigators Reach Compound – BENGHAZI, Libya — A team of US investigators visited Libya’s second city Benghazi on Thursday to examine the site where Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in an attack last month.

“An American investigative committee visited the site where the US ambassador was killed,” a defense ministry official in Benghazi told AFP, confirming that the team included FBI agents.

The dirt road which leads to the front gate of the US mission in Benghazi was sealed off in the morning by defence ministry vehicles mounted with weapons, an AFP correspondent reported.

“About 20 Americans dressed in civilian clothing came and we were asked to protect them until they leave Benghazi,” said a commander of the Libya Shield brigade, a former rebel unit under defence ministry command.

“They arrived in the early morning and worked for three hours collecting evidence,” added the commander, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

On Tuesday, Libyan authorities said they had approved an FBI visit to Benghazi to investigate the deadly September 11 attack on the consulate.  (more)

Two Suspects Arrested -  Two suspects in the Sept. 11 killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya American ambassador and three colleagues have been arrested at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, Kanal D television reported Thursday.

The suspects, identified as Tunisians, were detained late Wednesday as they attempted to enter the country with fake passports, Kanal D said.

Turkish police were questioning the suspects, it said. It was not clear whether the suspects might be extradited to Libya or the U.S., Kanal D said. The Turkish authorities were not available for comment.

The assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in which Ambassador Chris Stevens died coincided with a wave of protests in Muslim countries over an anti-Islam film made in the U.S. The Obama administration initially tied the attack to a mob action provoked by the film, then later characterized the incident as a terrorist attack.

The arrests came as FBI investigators spent a day examining the destroyed complex in the port city of Benghazi, CBS News reports.

A team of forensic specialists were escorted by a small U.S. military contingent that provided security, according to a U.S. official. The investigators spent several hours at the consulate and annex sites, the official estimated.

The team collected whatever evidence they could from the site to the extent possible, given the amount of damage the area sustained in the attack, according to a U.S. official.

The official wouldn’t tell CBS what was recovered from the scenes, describing the work as a
general effort to collect and document potential evidence.

Meanwhile, CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reported that, according to a House committee, a State Department officer told panel members there were 13 threats made against the consulate during the six months before the attack on
the facility on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The officer told committee members that the U.S. mission had made repeated requests
for increased security.  (read more)

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20 Responses to Benghazi-Gate Updates: Tunisians Arrested, U.S. Investigators Finally Reach Scene, Whistleblowers say security intentionally reduced at consulate prior to 9-11

  1. jordan2222 says:

    These people can change sides on a dime. They do it all of the time. How would we ever know who the bad guys really are?

    Sorry but I suspect they will pick out a few scapegoats in order to whitewash the entire affair.

  2. lovemygirl says:

    If only Benghazi-gate could reach a crescendo in the media just before the foreign policy debate the race might be assured.

  3. sybiljx1 says:

    (NOTE: Chris Steven’s brother, Thomas Edward, is a Assistant U.S. Attorney with USDOJ.)

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/us-investigators-visit-libya-compound-where-ambassador-was-killed/article4590343/

    “An American team has been visiting the compound,” one Libyan security source said. Another security source said: “They have been assessing the damage, collecting evidence.”

    The FBI team was on the ground in Benghazi for about 13 hours looking at the crime scene before leaving, two U.S. government sources said on condition of anonymity.

    In Washington, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder suggested the probe had been active despite the weeks-long delay in getting FBI agents to Benghazi.

    “You should not assume that all that we could do or have been doing is restricted solely to Benghazi. There are a variety of other places, in-country and outside the country, where relevant things could be done and have been done,” Attorney Gen. Holder said at a news conference.

    “This is a matter that’s been under active investigation almost since the time of the incident, and I’m satisfied with the progress that we have made,” he said.

    • Thanks Sibilj…. with everything going on I am short on time and long on desire… It’s frustrating that I cannot dedicate the resources to this singular story. I honestly think it is the biggest domestic story (with a foreign slant) since 9-11… yet the election and other optics are distracting our masses…..

      Clinton is VERY fortunate there are other stories pulling away attention. Very fortunate. If this were held up to the brightest sunlight both her and Bill would be buying a home out of country for a long while……

      Thanks again for your links to the latest developments. Muchly appreciated.

      • sybiljx1 says:

        I understand. This Libyan situation is HUGE, and a reason I’ve pulled myself off the GZ case, while we’re in a holding pattern.

        Something is seriously wrong here. I’m keeping my eyes and ears open. I’ve even pondered if BHO tanked the debate to deflect coverage from the terror attack.

        (BTW, Chris’ father, Jan S., is a retired Yolo County Superior Court judge, Davis city councilman and California Assistant Attorney General.)

        • I have pondered the exact same thing. It was actually my first thought after the debate last night, but sometimes I worry about appearing all conspiratorial and stuff :( But seriously, the very first thought I had was something BIG is in the am headlines about Benghazi and The Chicago Machine -who know better than any others how to distract- were plundering the debate on purpose, exactly as you pondered. Obama might not even recognize they did it to him….

          Having really watched this administration close, including the Sunsteins, Jarretts, Powers’s of radical academic influence, it is obvious there is something really huge right below the surface of this incident.

          Combine that with the alumni media, and how they intentionally contort their distractions and yeah, yeah,…. Clinton is DEEP in the doo-doo pile. I’ll bet you ANYTHING Hillary, Samantha, Valerie, and Susan thought it was reflective of their brilliance to be able to retract top level security from the US interests ALL around Libya. The girls have been spiking this football for over a year…. just not as visible as the POTUS.

          The girls have been trying to poke the intelligence community ever since they forcibly pulled Obama’s finger on the cannon aimed at Libya under the guise of NATO. Libya is all Hillary, and has been from the beginning…. I’d give a donut to be able to talk to the mid level State Dept Management “off the record”.

          • ctdar says:

            Where is Chris Steven’s autopsy report?? If I was his parent I would be screaming at the top of the Capitol Steps demanding a speedy investigation wanting to know where the justice is for my son and the others. 3 weeks to get boots on the ground at the Consulate claiming it was too dangerous (why were the 4 there than?) is not acceptable.
            Justice for my son and the others would be my lot in life for the rest of my days.

          • sybiljx1 says:

            We may have two competing WH camps at play here. I don’t believe HRC, Valerie, Susan, Obama, FBI, USDOJ, CIA are all on the same page. It’s hard to tell who’s with whom. And, I don’t think Bill forgets what Obama did to HRC in 2008, makes for strange campaign bedfellows.

            BTW, where’s Donilon been?

            http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/24/us/politics/tom-donilon-a-manager-of-overseas-crises.html?pagewanted=all

            A longtime political operative, Mr. Donilon has methodically reinvented himself as a maestro of international affairs, consolidating control of the national security apparatus in a corner West Wing office stacked with classified briefing books as thick as a fist. He oversaw support for the Libya war that toppled Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. He made sure surge troops left Afghanistan as scheduled. He is a champion of Mr. Obama’s so-called pivot to Asia.

            Good Chicago Machine dot-connecting here:

            http://www.themoralliberal.com/2012/10/03/can-it-all-be-coincidence/

  4. Tuduri says:

    Holder’s assertions that investigations have been on-going ever since the incident should not distract us from the fact that Steven’s was left essentially unprotected despite Steven’s own worries and his requests for more protection./ this despite the fact that there had been over a dozen prior attacks on the embassy which would have warranted beefing up security. Clinton and Obama should be held responsible for this. This should illustrate how incompetent they both are.

    • akathesob says:

      Makes me mad as hell. Clinton and Company have far too much Blood on their hands for this to just be totally white washed. Some one needs to atone for this…

      • This is exactly correctly stated. Those within the circle of Hillary and her crew must be held to account. Atonement indeed.

        I smite them. Really I do…. I’m not prone to targeted anger most of the time, but this one is so far beyond wrong…. the light from where wrong begins could not reach this place for a year.

        • akathesob says:

          Very right so, perhaps two years even.

        • jordan2222 says:

          My concern is that we will apprehend some scapegoats and sweep this under the rug. I think they have already done that with some guys in Turkey.

          Do you know if Stevens identified any of the bad guys before he died.. maybe in his journal or otherwise?

          Surely, he knew something if he had been requesting help before this happened.

  5. boricuafudd says:

    To this day I don’t understand why if the rapid response marines had arrived at Tripoli within 48 hours, some or all were not dispatch to the consulate to safeguard the grounds, intel and any evidence of the attack. Forget that, I know why, it was political, it would be an admission of a terrorist attack, and Clinton and Obama could not run the risk of another fire fight getting started, which they could not hide.

  6. jordan2222 says:

    First it was Fast and Furious and now this.. both of which will be out of the sunlight as most folks focus on the election. Don’t be surprised to see yet another distraction and one way or the other, Obama, Hillary and team will figure out a “solution” to this crisis BEFORE the foreign policy debate.

  7. sybiljx1 says:

    http://www.sunherald.com/2012/10/04/4226052/state-department-delay-cited-in.html

    State Department delay cited in seeking Pentagon protection for FBI agents in Libya

    …Benghazi remains perilous. The Islamist militants blamed in the attack have returned to the city after being driven out by tens of thousands of demonstrators in the days after the consulate assault, and they have attacked police and soldiers in recent days.

    The senior U.S. official said that “U.S. military assets” were moved into the Libya region “very soon after the attack” to support “whatever other U.S. agency” sought assistance, but the State Department didn’t make its request to the Pentagon for protection for the FBI investigators until recently.

    Those assets included two U.S. destroyers and U.S. troops with Operation Juniper Spear, a counterterrorism effort against al Qaida in the Maghreb, or AQIM, according to the person familiar with the matter. AQIM is an al Qaida affiliate that has seized control of the northern half of Mali and is branching out into other parts of North Africa.

    The senior U.S. official and the person familiar with the matter requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue and the frictions that it has created between the State and Defense departments.

  8. gretchenone says:

    As others have mentioned, this was a Fast and Furious-type CIA operation in Libya. It went down badly and Americans were murdered. Wasn’t there a report early on that the former Seals were trying to recover unused weapons from the Libya uprising? A fools’ errand, and it seems to me they weren’t supported properly. I just can’t understand why, knowing the dangerous situation for our countrymen, knowing the denied requests for additional security, knowing the date (Sept. 11), that the ambassador traveled to Benghazi on that day.

    • gretchenone says:

      Here is a bit more info from this article: http://freebeacon.com/revolt-of-the-spooks/

      “The administration, in particular, wants to keep hidden solid intelligence showing that the terrorist group behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans is now flourishing under the Muslim Brotherhood regime of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.”

  9. sybiljx1 says:

    abc jumping on the bandwagon…

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/10/email-shows-state-department-rejecting-request-of-security-team-at-us-embassy-in-libya/

    Email Shows State Department Rejecting Request of Security Team at US Embassy in Libya

    ABC News has obtained an internal State Department email from May 3, 2012, indicating that the State Department denied a request from the security team at the Embassy of Libya to retain a DC-3 airplane in the country to better conduct their duties.

    Copied on the email was U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in a terrorist attack on the diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, Sept. 11, 2012, along with three other Americans. That attack has prompted questions about whether the diplomatic personnel in that country were provided with adequate security support.

    No one has yet to argue that the DC-3 would have definitively made a difference for the four Americans killed that night. The security team in question, after all, left Libya in August.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2012/10/04/Exclusive-former-CIA-official-Obama-october-surprise-attack-libya-criminal?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BreitbartFeed+%28Breitbart+Feed%29

    Exclusive: Former CIA Official: Obama ‘October Surprise’ Airstrike in Libya ‘Would Be Criminal’

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