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Homeland Security

US Congressmen: Requests For More Security in Libya Denied

RIA Novosti

00:56 03/10/2012 WASHINGTON, DC, October 2 (By Sasha Horne for RIA Novosti) - In a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, members of a US congressional committee asserted on Tuesday that American diplomats in Libya made repeated requests for increased security at the consulate in Benghazi before the deadly attack on Sept. 11, but were turned down by officials in Washington.

The letter from Chairman Darrell Issa and Rep. Jason Chaffetz of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, claims that in the five months leading up to the attack that killed US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, there were at least two bombings on the consulate and increasing security threats.

The letter also indicates that Stevens was specifically targeted.

In reference to the Sept. 11 attack, the letter stated, “It was clearly never, as Administration officials once insisted, the result of a popular protest,” wrote House Republicans Issa and Chaffetz, who say their information comes from “individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya.”

The letter, which was first reported by The Daily Beast, also claims several attacks on security contractors and American personnel at the US Embassy in Tripoli, and extremists’ threats on Facebook signaling further attacks on US Interests in the region.

The letter highlights a dozen incidents before Sept. 11 that Issa and Chaffetz said were examples of deteriorating security, including a Facebook posting in June mentioning Stevens’ early morning runs around Tripoli, a threat against the Ambassador and a stock photo of him. Stevens stopped the runs for about a week, but then started running again, according to the letter.

Issa and Chaffetz said they plan a hearing on Oct. 10 to ask Clinton specific questions surrounding the previous attacks and what precautions the State Department took in response to the threats and requests for security.

State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on Tuesday told reporters, “We want to get to the bottom of precisely what happened and learn any lessons that we need to learn from it. We’re talking this very, very seriously.”

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