NDTV reported Monday that United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a “strong warning” to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over the potential use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people.
The New York Times reported Monday that the Americans and Europeans had also sent warnings via intermediaries to the Syrian regime after detecting movement of chemical weapons by the Syrian military in recent days.
“The activity we are seeing suggests some potential chemical weapon preparation,” one US official told NDTV, adding that the activity set off a flurry of emergency communications among Western allies.
“This is a red line for the United States,” Clinton said after meeting Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg in Prague.
Fox News reported that President Barack Obama and Press Secretary Jay Carney issued similar “red line” warnings Monday afternoon.
While Obama made it “absolutely clear” that the use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable” — and that “there will be consequences” and that the Assad regime “will be held accountable” – his administrations admonitions seem as useless as Chicken Little’s warning that the sky was falling.
Where was his administration’s warning when American lives were in danger in Benghazi?
Where was the administration’s “red line” when the Regional Security Officer for the U.S. Embassy in Libya Erick Nordstrom sent a memo to his superiors at Clinton’s State Department warning that elements in the region posed a deadly threat to United States Ambassador Christopher Stevens?
In a document obtained by CBS News — Nordstrom outlined a list of 230 “security incidents” through July 2012 and ultimately concluded that “the risk of U.S. Mission personnel, private U.S. citizens, or business persons encountering an isolating event as a result of militia or political violence is HIGH.”
Forty-eight of those incidents occurred in Benghazi.
“No one wants to find out what happened more than I do,” The U.K. Daily Mail quoted Clinton saying Oct. 24. “We are holding ourselves accountable to the American people, because not only they, but our brave diplomats and development experts serving in dangerous places around the world, deserve no less.”
“Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do,” Obama told NBC’s 9News reporter Kyle Clark on Oct. 27.
“I take full responsibility for that fact,” Obama said on The Michael Smerconish Program Oct. 26. “I send these folks in harm’s way, I want to make sure they’re always safe and when that doesn’t happen, that we figure out what happened and make sure that doesn’t happen again. But my biggest priority now is bringing those folks to justice.”
“We are going to fix it,” CBS quoted Obama telling The Daily Show’s John Stewart Oct. 18, “all of it.”
And what happens during the course of a presidency, you know the government is a big operation at any given time, something screws up and you make sure you find out what’s broken and you fix it.
As reported Oct. 25 by Heritage.org, — Clinton also vowed to “take whatever measures are necessary to fix anything that needs to be fixed, and we will bring those to justice who committed these murders.”
“I’m not going to telegraph in any specifics what we would do in the event of credible evidence that the Assad regime has resorted to using chemical weapons against their own people,” Clinton said in Monday’s warning, “but suffice it to say that we’re certainly planning to take action if that eventuality were to occur.”
Clinton made similar obfuscations following the attack in Benghazi.
“We obviously never talk publicly about security at any of our missions for obvious reasons,” Clinton said ABC News quoted Clinton saying Sept. 20. “But that said, let me assure you that our security in Benghazi included a unit of host government security forces, as well as a local guard force of the kind that we rely on in many places around the world. In addition to the security outside the compound, we relied on a wall and a robust security presence inside the compound.”
But documents released Oct. 19 by the House Oversight Committee clearly confirm that “our security” in Benghazi was anything but “robust.”
“I’ve been placed in a very difficult spot when the Ambassador (Stevens) tells me that I need to support Benghazi but can’t direct MSD (Mobile Security Detachment) there and been advised that DS isn’t going to provide more than 3 DS agents over the long term,” wrote Regional Security Officer Eric A. Nordstrom in Tripoli in a Feb. 12 email to US Department of State Regional Director Near East Asia Bureau of Diplomatic Security DSS James P. Bacigalupo.
“I am surprised at your statement that ‘DS’ is hesitant to devote resources,” Bacigalupo replied “and as I (you) have indicated previously that has severely limited operations in Benghazi.”
Is there a plan for a closure of operations in Benghazi,” Nordstrom had asked Principal Officer at U.S. Mission Benghazi and Foreign Service Officer at U.S. Department of State Shawn Crowley Nov. 30, “or will we be at this level for some time?”
If we have such a small footprint, we could really utilize the armored vehicles that are there.
“Apologies for being a broken record,” Crowley responded Feb. 11., “but beginning tomorrow Benghazi will be down to two agents.”
We have no drivers and new local guard contract employees have no experience driving armored vehicles.
According to an Oct. 17 report by Reuters, the “local guard” was hired by the State Department through a “little known” British company called Blue Mountain Group, instead of the large firms it usually uses in overseas danger zones.
Blue Mountain hired about 20 Libyan men – including some who say they had minimal training – to screen visitors and help patrol the mission at Benghazi.
They were unarmed.
Stevens signed a three-page cable on Sept. 11 — labeled “sensitive” — in which he noted “growing problems with security” in Benghazi and characterized Libyan police and security forces as “too weak to keep the country secure.”
According to a memo obtained by Reuters Oct. 9, summarizing Nordstrom’s comments to a State Department official, Charlene Lamb informed him that the State Department wanted to keep the number of U.S. security personnel in Benghazi “artificially low.”
“It’s pretty obvious he did not have adequate security,” said Armed Services Committee Chairman and California Republican Rep. Buck McKeon according to the Oct. 19 CBS report. “Otherwise he would probably be here today.”
Had Clinton performed her duties as Obama’s secretary of state – ensuring “the protection of the U.S. Government to American citizens, property, and interests in foreign countries” – and had Obama bothered attending any of six presidential daily briefings prior to the attack, former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, and computer expert Sean Smith, might be alive today as well.
“The president was scheduled to hold the intelligence meeting at 10:50 a.m. Wednesday, the day after the attacks,” The Washington Post reported Sept. 13, “but it was canceled so that he could comfort grieving employees at the State Department.”
But instead of rescheduling the intelligence briefing for later in the day, Obama apparently chose to skip it altogether and attend a Las Vegas fundraiser for his re-election campaign.
In light of the administration’s lack of interest and ultimate failure in protecting the lives of four Americans in Benghazi — and their unfulfilled vows to bring the sky down upon their murderers — their current warnings to the Assad regime of “red line” consequences should they bring harm to the Syrian people will most likely prove equally useless.