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
Add to Briefcase
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 »
DEMOCRATS STILL INSISTING ON DACA
Wednesday Meeting May Be Last Chance to Avoid Shutdown
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Chances of a government shutdown grew Monday as Republicans concluded that they would be unable to reach a long-term spending accord by the Friday deadline. GOP leaders are now turning to a short-term funding measure in hopes of keeping agencies open while talks continue, but Democratic leaders say they are unlikely to support any deal that does not protect young illegal immigrants. Aides to key negotiators from both parties planned to meet Tuesday in an effort to rekindle budget talks, setting up a Wednesday meeting of the leaders themselves. If they cannot agree, the government would shut down at midnight Friday for the first time since 2013."

Source:
SAYS HE CAN NO LONGER SERVE UNDER TRUMP
Amb. to Panama John Feeley Resigns
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

“'As a junior foreign service officer, I signed an oath to serve faithfully the president and his administration in an apolitical fashion, even when I might not agree with certain policies. My instructors made clear that if I believed I could not do that, I would be honor bound to resign. That time has come,' Feeley said, according to an excerpt of his resignation letter read to Reuters."

Source:
SPEAKS TO MEDIA IN WAKE OF TRUMP’S DENIAL
Durbin Confirms President’s Remarks
3 days ago
THE LATEST
WYDEN AND PAUL WANT CHANGES TO BILL
Senators Vow FISA Filibuster
3 days ago
THE LATEST

Sens. Ron Wyden and Rand Paul said they will oppose reauthorization of FISA's Section 702 unless the bill contains added "protections for Americans' privacy rights. The powers granted by Section 702 are only supposed to be used against foreigners on foreign soil. But an American's communications can get swept up in the NSA's surveillance dragnet if they communicate with people overseas." More robust privacy protections were voted down by the House this week when it approved the authorization, but without them, Paul and Wyden say they'll filibuster.

Source:
USED “TOUGH LANGUAGE”
Trump: I Didn’t Use a Vulgarity
3 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login