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Posts Tagged ‘Embassy Tripoli’

Myth:  Hillary Clinton said the attack on the Benghazi installation was an outgrowth of a demonstration against an anti-Islamist video on the internet.

Not exactly.  Here are her words on September 12, 2012.

We are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault. Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet.

There were demonstrations against such a video at many U.S. embassies world-wide and in the region,  however.

Sep 11, 2012

Cairo protesters scale U.S. Embassy wall, remove flag

Egyptian demonstrators climbed the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo today and pulled down the American flag to protest a film they say is insulting to the prophet Mohammad.

This Wikipedia entry gives a pretty complete treatment.  All of these embassies were under the oversight of the State Department.  The American School in Tunisia was destroyed.  Secretary Clinton, just back from a tour that ended in Vladivostok,  did have her hands full, but she did not blame this attack on the video.

Myth: She blamed the attack on the video at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony at Andrews AFB on the 14th.  Nope again.  She referred to the demonstrations above, but she did not say they caused the attack. Speaking of Ambassador Chris Stevens she said this.

The President of the Palestinian Authority, who worked closely with Chris when he served in Jerusalem, sent me a letter remembering his energy and integrity, and deploring – and I quote – “an act of ugly terror.” Many others from across the Middle East and North Africa have offered similar sentiments.

This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with.

Spin: “What difference does it make?”  First of all, those are not her exact words.  Second,  the exasperated remark came in the course of an exchange during Hillary Clinton’s testimony at the House Foreign Affairs Committee on January 23.  The focus of that exchange was whether Secretary Clinton had spoken to any individual on the ground in Benghazi on the night of September 11.  Thanks to Tom Kertscher at PolitiFact we have the transcript (there is more at this link.)

Clinton: Senator, you know, when you’re in these positions, the last thing you want to do is interfere with any other process going on, number one—

Johnson: I realize that’s a good excuse.

Clinton: Well, no, it’s the fact. Number two, I would recommend highly you read both what the ARB said about it and the classified ARB because, even today, there are questions being raised. Now, we have no doubt they were terrorists, they were militants, they attacked us, they killed our people. But what was going on and why they were doing what they were doing is still unknown —

Johnson: No, again, we were misled that there were supposedly protests and that something sprang out of that — an assault sprang out of that — and that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact, and the American people could have known that within days and they didn’t know that.

Clinton: With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime.

Johnson: OK. Thank you, Madame Secretary.

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Spin: Nordstrom, understandably distressed,  keeps returning like the Ancient Mariner saying Hillary Clinton refused additional security requested in March 2012.   The body that properly should be called upon to address the reason for the reduction of available security resources is the House Appropriations Committee that cut the diplomatic security budget by hundreds of millions of dollars  two years in a row. (Oh!  Hi there Jason Chaffetz of the teary eyes and choked up throat!)

Spin: Gregory Hicks, demoted for speaking out. Leaving aside for the moment that you chose to speak to a Congress person without a lawyer present as that terrible witch Cheryl Mills pointed out to be State Department protocol, let’s look at what you did do.  Left in charge of Embassy Tripoli on September 11 with four special forces in place, contacted by Ambassador Stevens (who had the other six special forces assigned to Embassy Tripoli with him in Benghazi), and told the installation was under attack, you thought it would be a great idea to send the last four special forces in Tripoli 400 miles away.

This,  while embassies across the region and beyond were subject to rather aggressive demonstrations. Let’s also leave aside the logistics of getting those forces to Benghazi in time to do anything to help.  There were two things that were unknown.  First,  was the Benghazi attack a distractor and precursor to a bigger attack on Embassy Tripoli (of which you were in charge)?  Second, is there another attack coming in Benghazi?  The second happened to be the case.  But Hicks decided it made the best sense to send the last remaining forces out of Tripoli.

“I’m in charge” echoes from the grave of Alexander Haig aside, I have never seen a less responsible decision.  Hicks was second in command and in charge of Embassy Tripoli that night.  He was responsible for all embassy personnel and all classified material and electronics inside the embassy.  This was his decision – to strip away all special forces on the ground there -yes, in the fog of an attack hundreds of miles away.  We appreciate your service, but, questioning your judgment,  understand why you were assigned a “desk job.”

Is this who should be chief of any mission?  Or second in command?  If you have ever been in charge of anything,  you know the answer to this question.  If you are a mom, you know the answer.

Happy Mother’s Day to our cherished and wise Madame Secretary!  Great mom and great SOS!

01-31-13-Y-01

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The Chargé d”Affairs, who will fill in temporarily in the absence of an Ambassador at Embassy Tripoli is a retired Foreign Service officer with a stellar resumé.

U.S. Charge d Affairs to Libya

Press Statement

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 11, 2012

Laurence Pope has arrived in Tripoli as U.S. Chargé d’ Affairs to Libya. Mr. Pope’s selection as Chargé d’ Affairs emphasizes the commitment of the United States to the relationship between our two countries and to the people of Libya as they move forward in their transition to a democratic government. We will continue to assist as Libya builds democratic institutions and broad respect for the rule of law – the goals that Ambassador Stevens worked hard to achieve.

Chargé Pope looks forward to working with the Libyan Government and the Libyan people during this historic and challenging time, as we build strong economic, social, political, and educational bridges between our two people.

Pope served as a Foreign Service Officer from 1969-2000, retiring at the rank of Minister Counselor after having held a number of senior posts in the Department of State. He was the Director for Northern Gulf Affairs (1987–1990), Associate Director for Counter-Terrorism (1991–1993), U.S. Ambassador to Chad (1993–1996), and Political Advisor to the Commander-in-Chief of United States Central Command (1997–2000). In 2000, President Clinton nominated him as Ambassador to Kuwait.

Laurence Pope retired from the U.S. Foreign Service on October 2, 2000 after 31 years of service. He continues to consult with various institutions and is a respected author.

A graduate of Bowdoin College, Chargé Pope also had advanced studies at Princeton University and is a graduate of the U.S. Department of State Senior Seminar, and is a Senior Fellow at the Armed Forces Staff College. He speaks Arabic and French, and resides in Portland, Maine.

Sadly, the morning news brought word of the murder of yet another embassy staff member, this time  in Sana’a Yemen.

Death of Qassim M. Aklan

Press Statement

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 11, 2012

We are deeply saddened by the killing of Qassim M. Aklan, a longtime employee of the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a. We condemn this vicious act in the strongest terms possible and extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time. Mr. Aklan, a Yemeni citizen, worked as a Foreign Service National Investigator at the Embassy for the last 11 years. He was a dedicated professional who will be greatly missed. We are coordinating closely with the Yemeni authorities to investigate this attack and to help bring those responsible to justice.

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