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Biden Unraveled On Libya

- October 12, 2012

Biden Contradicted The State Department On Security Needs In Benghazi

BIDEN CLAIMED THE WHITE HOUSE DIDN'T KNOW THE LIBYAN EMBASSY WANTED MORE SECURITY

Biden: "We Weren't Told They Wanted More Security. We Did Not Know They Wanted More Security There." (Vice Presidential Debate, Danville, KY, 10/11/12)

Was Biden The Last To Know?

"Biden Appeared To Contradict Other American Officials When He Declared That The Administration Did Not Know About Requests For More Security In Libya." "Mr. Biden defended the administration's handling of the episode, saying it was disclosing information provided to it by the intelligence agencies. He placed the responsibility for the changing narrative squarely on those agencies. But Mr. Biden appeared to contradict other American officials when he declared that the administration did not know about requests for more security in Libya. On Wednesday, two former security officials in Libya testified before a House committee that they repeatedly requested more security, but that the requests were denied by the State Department." (Mark Landler, "On Foreign Policy, Rivals Differing In Style But Often Similar In Substance," The New York Times, 10/12/12)

"The State Department Has Made Clear" That They Were Aware Of Diplomat's Calls For More Security. "Biden was soaring along on foreign policy at the start of the debate, making a clear argument in response to a question about what happened in Benghazi … until he said that the administration didn't know that diplomats there had wanted more security. In fact, the State Department has made clear they did, which is among the many issues at play in the investigation into what happened in the violence that left four Americans dead." (Maggie Haberman, "7 Takeaways From The Danville Debate," Politico, 10/12/12)

Biden's Claim "Was Contradicted By State Department Officials Just This Week, In Testimony Before A Congressional Panel And In Unclassified Cables Released By A Congressional Committee." "But this was contradicted by State Department officials just this week, in testimony before a congressional panel and in unclassified cables released by a congressional committee. 'All of us at post were in sync that we wanted these resources,' said Eric Nordstrom, the top regional security officer in Libya earlier this year. A Utah national guardsman who led a security team, Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, said: 'We felt great frustration that those requests were ignored or just never met.'" (Glenn Kessler, "Fact Check: State Department Contradicts Biden," The Washington Post's The Fact Checker, 10/11/12)

  • Biden's "Assertion Runs Counter To Evidence And Testimonies That Were Presented At A House Oversight Committee Hearing Wednesday." "That assertion runs counter to evidence and testimonies that were presented at a House Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday, where the committee released five memos requesting additional security, and witnesses from the State Department confirmed that those requests had been denied." (Rebecca Berg, "Biden Contradicts Evidence On Benghazi Security Requests," BuzzFeed, 10/12/12)

Biden Contradicted "Three State Department Officials And The Former Head Of Diplomatic Security In Libya." "Vice President Joe Biden claimed that the administration wasn't aware of requests for more security in Libya before the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi during Thursday night's debate, contradicting two State Department officials and the former head of diplomatic security in Libya. 'We weren't told they wanted more security. We did not know they wanted more security there,' Biden said." (Josh Rogin, "Biden Contradicts State Department On Benghazi Security," Foreign Policy 's The Cable, 10/11/12)

  • "Two Security Officials Who Worked For The State Department In Libya ... Repeatedly Requested More Security And Two State Department Officials Admitted They Had Denied Those Requests." "In fact, two security officials who worked for the State Department in Libya at the time testified Thursday that they repeatedly requested more security and two State Department officials admitted they had denied those requests." (Josh Rogin, "Biden Contradicts State Department On Benghazi Security," Foreign Policy 's The Cable, 10/11/12)
  • "Charlene R. Lamb, A Deputy Assistant Secretary For Diplomatic Security, Told Lawmakers She Refused Requests For More Security In Benghazi." "Ryan is right, judging by testimony from Obama administration officials at a congressional hearing this week. Charlene R. Lamb, a deputy assistant secretary for diplomatic security, told lawmakers she refused requests for more security in Benghazi, saying the department wanted to train Libyans to protect the consulate. 'Yes, sir, I said personally I would not support it,' she said." (Calvin Woodward, "FACT CHECK: Slips On Libya, Syria, Auto Bailout," The Associated Press, 10/11/12)
  • "Eric Nordstrom, Who Was The Top Security Official In Libya Earlier This Year, Testified He Was Criticized For Seeking More Security." "Eric Nordstrom, who was the top security official in Libya earlier this year, testified he was criticized for seeking more security. He said conversations he had with people in Washington led him to believe that it was 'abundantly clear we were not going to get resources until the aftermath of an incident. How thin does the ice have to get before someone falls through?'" (Calvin Woodward, "FACT CHECK: Slips On Libya, Syria, Auto Bailout," The Associated Press, 10/11/12)

U.S. Security Officials Repeatedly Warned The State Department That "More Not Less" U.S. Security Personnel Were Needed In Libya. "The former head of a Special Forces 'Site Security Team' in Libya tells CBS News that in spite of multiple pleas from himself and other U.S. security officials on the ground for 'more not less' security personnel, the State Department removed as many as 34 people from the country in the six months before a terrorist attack in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others. Lt. Col. Andy Wood will appear this week at a House Oversight Committee hearing that will examine security decisions leading up to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi. Speaking to CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson, Wood said when he found out that his own 16-member team and a six-member State Department elite force were being pulled from Tripoli in August - about a month before the assault in Benghazi - he felt, 'like we were being asked to play the piano with two fingers. There was concern amongst the entire embassy staff.' He said other staffers approached him with their concerns when the reduction in security personnel was announced." ("Ex-U.S. Security Team Leader In Libya: 'We Needed More Not Less' Security Staff," CBS News, 10/8/12)

  • "U.S. Ambassador To Libya Chris Stevens Wanted A Security Support Team, Made Up Of 16 Special Operations Soldiers, To Stay With Him In Libya After Their Deployment Was Scheduled To End In August." "U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens wanted a Security Support Team, made up of 16 special operations soldiers, to stay with him in Libya after their deployment was scheduled to end in August, the commander of that security team told ABC News. The embassy staff's "first choice was for us to stay," Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, 55, told ABC News in an interview. 'That would have been the choice of the embassy people in Tripoli.'" (Jake Tapper, "Security Team Commander Says Ambassador Stevens Wanted His Team To Stay In Libya Past August," ABC News, 10/8/12)
  • Former Head Of Regional Security In Libya: "The Security In Benghazi Was A Struggle And Remained A Struggle Throughout My Time There." "'The security in Benghazi was a struggle and remained a struggle throughout my time there,' Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood told the committee. 'The situation remained uncertain and reports from some Libyans indicated it was getting worse. Diplomatic security remained weak. In April there was only one U.S. diplomatic security agent stationed there,' he said." (Susan Cornwell and Tabassum Zakaria, "U.S. Security At Benghazi Mission Called 'Weak,'" Reuters, 10/10/12)
  • Describing The Bureaucratic Opposition He Encountered When In Libya, Former Embassy Security Officer Eric Nordstrom Said, "For Me, The Taliban Is On The Inside Of The Building." REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): "Lieutenant-colonel Were you pulling your hair out? Were you just flabbergasted? What can we do? What can we say? What can we put in writing? What can we say on the phone, what can we -- what else can we do? Was that your sense, an attitude, when you got the answers from Washington that you did?" LIEUTENANT COLONEL ANDREW WOOD: "We were fighting a losing battle. We couldn't even keep what we had. We were not even allowed to keep what we had." REGIONAL SECURITY OFFICER ERIC NORDSTROM: "If I could add to that. I told the same regional director in a telephone call in Benghazi after he contacted me when I asked for 12 agents. His response to that was, you're asking for the sun, moon, and the stars. And my response to him, his name's Jim, I said Jim, you know what makes it the most frustrating in this assignment? It's not the hardships, it's not the gun fire, it's not the threats. It's dealing and fighting against the people, programs and personnel who are supposed to be supporting me. And I added it by saying, for me, the Taliban is on the inside of the building." (U.S. House Of Representatives, Oversight And Government Reform Committee, Hearing, 10/10/12)

The Washington Post 's Fact Checker: "Biden's Bold Statement Was Directly Contradicted By State Department Officials Just This Week…Maybe Biden Was Too Busy In Debate Prep To Watch ?" "Biden's bold statement was directly contradicted by State Department officials just this week, in testimony before a congressional panel and in unclassified cables released by a congressional committee. 'All of us at post were in sync that we wanted these resources,' said Eric Nordstrom, the top regional security officer in Libya earlier this year. A Utah national guardsman who led a security team, Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, said: 'We felt great frustration that those requests were ignored or just never met.' Maybe Biden was too busy in debate prep to watch?" (Glenn Kessler, "Fact Checking The Vice Presidential Debate," The Washington Post 's The Fact Checker, 10/12/12)

Biden's False Statement Been Widely Refuted By The Media

MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell: "The State Department Did Know In Real Time From Videos That Requests For More Security Resources Had Been Made And Were Turned Down. A State Department Official Acknowledged That Testifying On Capitol Hill Only Yesterday." MSNBC's ANDREA MITCHELL: "Vice President Biden called the death a tragedy but he then claimed that the Obama administration did not know that Ambassador Stevens and other personnel on the ground had been asking for more security help." BIDEN: "We weren't told they wanted more security. We did not know they wanted more security again. And by the way, at the time we were told exactly -- we said exactly what the intelligence community told us that they knew. That was the assessment." MITCHELL: "It was an assessment but the State Department did know in real time from video that requests from security sources had been made and were turned down. A State Department official acknowledged testifying on Capitol Hill only yesterday." (NBC's " Fact Check, 10/11/12)

TIME's Mark Halperin: Biden's Benghazi Answer Is "Going To Cause Problems For The Administration." TIME's MARK HALPERIN: "Just to go back to the Libya thing and to also disagree with Governor Dean, you know these fights over Medicare, fights over taxes, these have been adjudicated and fought over for months. This Libya story is still evolving. There's still real questions. Governor Romney hit it very hard last night, didn't get a lot of attention because of the debate. And the press is continuing to pursue this story. So if there's anything out of the debate that I think could have resonance and be a moving target going forward, it's the topic of Benghazi, and I think the vice president may have put down some marks there that are going to cause problems for the administration going forward." (MSNBC's " Morning Joe," 10/12/12)

CBS' Jan Crawford: Biden Will Have Some Cleaning Up To Do On Libya. CBS' JAN CRAWFORD: "Now Biden wanted to obviously stop Romney's momentum from last week and change the subject but he may have some clean up of his own to do today on Libya. He said last night the administration didn't know about additional security requests there in Benghazi. Of course that was the subject of a House hearing this week where State Department officials said multiple requests for additional security were denied. So you can hear you can expect to hear a lot more about this today, Charlie, Norah." (CBS' "This Morning," 10/12/12)


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