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Thursday, October 4

The Magic Words and named State Dept. official confirms 13 threats against Benghazi consulate and repeated denials of requests for better protection

Like a slowly widening pool of blood, information about the circumstances surrounding the attack on the Benghazi consulate has been seeping out almost daily in news reports. The information greatly contradicts explanations that Obama administration officials gave the Congress, news media and public about the attack.

What is key about the following report, which repeats allegations reported on October 2 by the New York Times, is that the name of one State official who briefed a House panel about the security situation in Libya has now been made public, and another official set to give testimony has also been named.
House panel: State Dept. confirmed Libya threats
By Sharyl Attkisson, CBS News Investigative Correspondent
CBS News
October 4, 2012, 2:28 AM ET

(WASHINGTON) A House committee says a State Department officer told panel members there were 13 threats made against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya during the six months before the Sept. 11 attack on the facility.

The assault left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

The panel adds that the officer told it the U.S. mission had made repeated requests for increased security.

A spokesman for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is holding a hearing on the controversy next week, says its source is Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom, who was stationed in Libya from September 2011 to June 2012.

According to the panel, Nordstrom has already given a private briefing to members and will be called to testify at the session next Wednesday.

The committee has also requested testimony from a second State Department official, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs Charlene Lamb, who is involved in reviewing security requests. [...]
The Magic Words

So now it's time to review the October 2 New York Times report (published in print on October 3), and keep on the lookout for Magic Words -- those words an official utters in an attempt to quash a line of questioning by members of Congress or the press or both, and which produce the magical effect of escalating a situation into a showdown:
[...] In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, committee leaders listed more than a dozen episodes, several of them violent, in the past six months that they said formed the basis for repeated requests by the diplomatic mission in Libya for more security resources.

Representatives Darrell Issa of California, the committee’s chairman, and Jason Chaffetz of Utah, chairman of the subcommittee on foreign operations, said in the letter that officials, whose names they did not reveal, had told them of the requests. They asked for details and a briefing before a hearing that they have scheduled for Oct. 10.

The State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said the administration would cooperate fully with the committee, but it was not yet ready to answer its specific questions or comment on its assertions. [...]
Ding ding ding ding! Magic Words found! Not yet ready to answer specific questions.

"The last Western flag flying in Benghazi"

Moving along:
“Based on information provided to the committee by individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya, the attack that claimed the ambassador’s life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to Sept. 11, 2012,” the letter said.

“Multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed to the committee that, prior to the Sept. 11 attack, the U.S. mission in Libya made repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi,” it said.

“The mission in Libya, however, was denied these resources by officials in Washington.”

In June, the letter asserted, Mr. Stevens was threatened in a posting on a Facebook page supporting the old government in Libya.

Other episodes it cited included harassment, beatings, unsuccessful bombing attempts, gunfights and attacks with rocket-propelled grenades, directed not only at Americans but also at other international representatives and the new Libyan authorities.

“Put together, these events indicated a clear pattern of security threats that could only be reasonably interpreted to justify increased security for U.S. personnel and facilities in Benghazi,” the letter said.
Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, raising parallel concerns about security in Benghazi, have also asked Mrs. Clinton for the relevant cables.

One episode cited by the House committee was the firing in May of rocket-propelled grenades at a Red Cross office less than a mile from the United States diplomatic office in Benghazi, an early-morning attack that caused no casualties.

A Facebook posting that claimed responsibility said, “We announce that Libya is an Islamic state,” adding, “Now we are preparing a message for the Americans for disturbing the skies over Derna,” a port city.

In early June, a two-vehicle convoy carrying the British ambassador came under rocket-propelled-grenade attack, which the letter called, “an important escalation.”

In late June, the Red Cross was attacked again, and the organization pulled out, leaving the American compound with “the last Western flag flying in Benghazi, making it an ideal target for militants,” the letter said.

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