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 »
WHO PLAYED THE DONALD?
Longtime Clinton Aide Played Trump in Mock Debates
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

After keeping the information private for most of the lead-up to the debate on Monday, it has been revealed that longtime Clinton aide Philippe Reines has been playing the role of Donald Trump in her debate prep. Reines knows Clinton better than most, able to identify both her strengths and weaknesses, and his selection for a sparring partner shows that Clinton is preparing for the brash and confrontational Donald Trump many have come to expect.

Source:
WEEKEND POLLING ROUNDUP
New Polls Still Show Razor-Thin Margins
1 hours ago
THE LATEST
  • A national Washington Post/ABC News poll shows Clinton leading Trump by just two points among likely voters, 46% to 44%.
  • A national Bloomberg poll out Monday morning by Selzer & Co. has Clinton and Trump tied at 46% in a two-way race, and Trump ahead 43% to 41% in a four-way race.
  • A CNN/ORC poll in Colorado shows likely voters’ support for Trump at 42%, 41% for Clinton, and a CNN/ORC poll in Pennsylvania has Clinton at 45% and Trump at 44%.
  • A Portland Press Herald/UNH survey in Maine has Clinton leading Trump in ME-01 and Trump ahead in ME-02.
THE QUESTION
How Many Times Has the Trump Campaign Emailed Ted Cruz’s Supporters?
2 hours ago
THE ANSWER

More than 30 times, in the case of some donors. Long before Cruz endorsed Trump—and before he even snubbed the nominee at the Republican National Convention—"the senator quietly began renting his vast donor email file to his former rival, pocketing at least tens of thousands of dollars, and more likely hundreds of thousands, that can be used to bankroll the Texan’s own political future."

Source:
STAKES ARE HIGH
Debate Could Sway One-Third of Voters
14 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 34% of registered voters think the three presidential debates would be extremely or quite important in helping them decide whom to support for president. About 11% of voters are considered 'debate persuadables'—that is, they think the debates are important and are either third-party voters or only loosely committed to either major-party candidate."

Source:
YOU DON’T BRING ME FLOWERS ANYMORE
Gennifer Flowers May Not Appear After All
14 hours ago
THE LATEST

Will he or won't he? That's the question surrounding Donald Trump and his on-again, off-again threats to bring onetime Bill Clinton paramour Gennifer Flowers to the debate as his guest. An assistant to flowers initially said she'd be there, but Trump campaign chief Kellyanne Conway "said on ABC’s 'This Week' that the Trump campaign had not invited Flowers to the debate, but she didn’t rule out the possibility of Flowers being in the audience."

Source:
×