House Armed Services Chair Blocked from Getting Answers from Military about Threat Warnings Prior to Benghazi Consulate Attack
October 22, 2012
The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee is demanding answers from four senior United States military officers about whether there was advance warning of terrorist threats and the need for greater security prior to last month's terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
However, an aide to the chairman, Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, (R., Calif.), said the office of secretary of defense Leon Panetta blocked the senior officers from providing the answers last night.
"The chairman is disappointed that the administration won't respond to this basic request for information," the aide said.
"It is nearly unprecedented that the office of the secretary of defense would prohibit a member of the uniformed military from answering direct questions posed by the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee."
Pentagon spokesman George Little told the Free Beacon: "We received the letters last night and are working expeditiously to provide a response."
The chairman's letters are dated Thursday. They were sent to Gen. Carter F. Ham, commander of the U.S. Africa Command, which is responsible for military activities in Africa; Adm. William H. McRaven, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command; Vice Adm. Kurt W. Tidd, director for operations at the Pentagon's Joint Staff; and Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
McKeon asked the officers to provide answers to questions about security threats by the close of business Friday.
The questions reveal that there may be information within the military revealing warnings about terrorist threats and the need to increase security that were ignored by the State Department or other civilians within the Obama administration.
McKeon asked each of the four officers in separate letters whether prior to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi anyone under their command had notified the State Department or other agencies about growing dangers in Libya.
"Given the steadily deteriorating threat environment in Libya prior to Sept. 11, 2012, did you or anyone in your command advise, formally or informally, that the Department of State or any other agency take action to increase security for U.S. personnel in Libya?" McKeon asked.
He also wants to know if there were any requests to increase security in Libya for U.S. personnel.