New State Department Budget Hopes to Right Benghazi Wrongs

The administration wants an additional $600 million next year to increase security at its overseas facilities.

This photo taken on September 11, 2012 shows a vehicle and surrounding buildings smoldering after they were set on fire inside the US mission compound in Benghazi.
National Journal
Jordain Carney
March 12, 2014, 9:19 a.m.

The State De­part­ment is ask­ing Con­gress for $4.6 bil­lion to boost se­cur­ity at its em­bassies and con­su­lates, a re­quest that fol­lows 2012’s deadly at­tack on the de­part­ment’s fa­cil­ity in Benghazi, Libya.

The fund­ing would be used, State’s fisc­al 2015 budget plan says, for se­cur­ity staff and up­grades to in­fra­struc­ture, and for new em­bassies or con­su­late com­pounds. That’s $600 mil­lion more than the $4 bil­lion re­ques­ted for se­cur­ity up­grades last year.

A hand­ful of re­cent con­gres­sion­al re­ports have ques­tioned, if not out­right blamed, the de­part­ment for its lack of re­spons­ive­ness lead­ing up the 2012 at­tack that killed four Amer­ic­ans: Am­bas­sad­or to Libya Chris Stevens, U.S. For­eign Ser­vice In­form­a­tion Of­ficer Sean Smith, and em­bassy se­cur­ity per­son­nel Glen Do­herty and Tyr­one Woods.

Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry said in a let­ter sub­mit­ted with the budget re­quest that the ex­tra fund­ing would help “reg­u­lar­ize se­cur­ity en­hance­ments made” since a 2012 Benghazi Ac­count­ab­il­ity Re­view Board found that se­cur­ity in Benghazi was “grossly in­ad­equate” to with­stand the at­tack.

Kerry is go­ing to Con­gress this week to ex­plain his de­part­ment’s re­quest. Al­though the at­tack happened while Hil­lary Clin­ton headed the State De­part­ment, staffers say Kerry will face scru­tiny over State’s se­cur­ity prac­tices and if, or how, they’ve been im­proved in the roughly 18 months since Benghazi.

“The fail­ures of Benghazi can be summed up this way: The Amer­ic­ans serving in Libya were vul­ner­able; the State De­part­ment knew they were vul­ner­able; and no one in the ad­min­is­tra­tion really did any­thing about it,” ac­cord­ing to a 2014 re­port by the Sen­ate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee.

Fol­low­ing up on a re­com­mend­a­tion from the re­view board re­port, the de­part­ment’s budget backs an in­ter­agency ef­fort to provide $2.2 bil­lion for cap­it­al se­cur­ity con­struc­tion.

What We're Following See More »
LAST PLACE
Trump Still Struggling for Endorsements
1 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
AT ISSUE: VENEZUELA SANCTIONS
Deal Struck to Confirm Ambassador to Mexico
3 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"The United States is finally about to get an ambassador to Mexico. Senate Republicans who have been negotiating a way to confirm Roberta Jacobson as the nation’s top diplomat to Mexico have reached the contours of an agreement that would allow Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)—Jacobson’s chief obstacle—to secure renewed sanctions against Venezuela in exchange for lifting his objections."

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Much Is Cleveland Paying for ‘Protest Insurance’ for the GOP Convention?
3 hours ago
THE ANSWER

Ten million dollars, plus another $1.5 million for the broker who will "develop and obtain" the policy. The concern: mass protests could lead to mass arrests, which could then lead to civil rights claims against the city.

Source:
MORE INDEPENDENTS, FEWER SUPERDELEGATES
Sanders Could Force Changes to Nominating Process
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

There are not "ongoing, direct conversations between" the Bernie Sanders camp and the Hillary Clinton camp regarding "the platform or rules changes," but Sanders "is already making his opening arguments" about those issues on the stump. Sanders is putting "complaints about closed primaries" atop his stump speeches lately, and figures to start a "conversation about the role of superdelegates in the nominating process." He said, “Our goal, whether we win or we do not win, is to transform the Democratic Party."

Source:
‘LUCIFER IN THE FLESH’
Boehner Says He Wouldn’t Vote for Cruz
5 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Well, this is unsubtle. Former Speaker John Boehner called Ted Cruz "lucifer in the flesh," adding that he "never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life." Boehner has endorsed John Kasich, but he said he'd vote for Donald Trump over Cruz. He also praised Bernie Sanders, calling him the most honest politician in the race, and predicted that Joe Biden may yet have a role to play in the Democratic contest, especially if Hillary Clinton runs into legal trouble over her emails.

Source:
×