In Washington, a leading House Republican challenged on Tuesday the administration’s version of events on the chaotic night of Sept. 11, suggesting that the attack was planned and that congressional investigators have been told that requests for increased security at the U.S. diplomatic outpost had been turned down.
In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.) listed incidents dating to April that he said created a pattern of threats.
Some of the incidents had been disclosed earlier, but others appeared to be new revelations. In one case, he said, Libyans working as private security guards at the U.S. compound were warned by family members in the weeks before the assault to quit their jobs because of rumors of an impending attack. He did not specify where the information originated.
“These events indicated a clear pattern of security threats that could only be reasonably interpreted to justify increased security for U.S. personnel and facilities in Benghazi,” Issa and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) wrote to Clinton.
Clinton assured Issa in a reply released by the State Department that the department would “work collaboratively with you to achieve the result we both want: a full and accurate accounting of the events and a path forward to prevent them from happening again.”
She said the department’s investigation will begin this week.
Meanwhile, an FBI team flown into Libya remains in Tripoli, hundreds of miles from Benghazi. A Libyan official involved in the inquiry said Tuesday that he was aware of only three suspects in custody. Meanwhile, members of the militant group suspected of playing a primary role in the attack have gone underground, apparently taking their weapons with them.
Faraj said he wondered whether anyone was trying to find out what happened the evening that U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was killed along with three other Americans.
“Since that day, nobody has called, nobody cared,” said Faraj, 28, who lost a tooth in the attack and whose legs are peppered with small wounds from the firefight. “How is it the Americans didn’t anticipate anything?”
Witnesses are scattered across Benghazi, a port town where the uprising that toppled Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi began. But many say they haven’t heard from investigators.
The U.S. and Libyan governments have not finalized a deal to allow American investigators to collaborate with Libyans in Benghazi, said Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdel Aziz following a meeting in Tripoli with Elizabeth Jones, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, Reuters reported.