At Wednesday’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Chairman Darrell Issa’s questioning made one thing certain: The Obama administration’s initial explanation — that the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were directly related to Islamic rage over a YouTube video — becomes more troubling with each passing day.
Before questioning began, Army Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, former head of a Special Forces site security team who was closely involved with operational planning for security in the region, testified to the increasing attacks on Western interests in the months preceding the Benghazi attack. He traveled to Benghazi after a successful attack on the British ambassador’s convoy, and was aware of online threats made against Mr. Stevens. And yet, months later, Stevens would die attempting to exit an escape hatch in a smoke-filled room. His would-be rescuers would then perish in a mortar barrage.
Referencing a July 9 cable from Mr. Stevens provided by State Department whistleblowers, Rep. Issa showed that Mr. Stevens requested additional security support but was denied by Charlene Lamb, deputy assistant secretary of state for international programs, ostensibly because it wasn’t a formal request. Ms. Lamb maintained Wednesday that the U.S. Consulate had the “correct” amount of security on the day of the attack, even though, as Mr. Issa pointed out, the compound was overrun within minutes.