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HomeNewsPoliticsState’s Handling Of Benghazi Security Incompetent At Best, New Docs Show

State’s Handling Of Benghazi Security Incompetent At Best, New Docs Show

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Newly released documents obtained by the government watchdog group Judicial Watch show the State Department’s handing of the Benghazi security situation was incompetent, at best. The September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya resulted in the death of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

The documents were obtained through a court order in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v U.S. Department of State (No. 13-00243)), and show State Department officials completely bungled a $783,284.79 security contract with U.K.-based Blue Mountain Group (BMG), a group that did not have a license to operate in Libya at the time of the attack due to a business dispute with its partner in Libya, XPAND Corporation.

“These documents took years to see the light of day and show the Obama administration had a security emergency on the day of the Benghazi terrorist attack,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “And the documents indicate the administration specifically withheld this pertinent information from both Congress and the American people. It seems an odd coincidence the Middle East firm providing security for the Benghazi facility desperately wanted out two days before the terrorist attack.”

Despite recognizing the “emergency situation” at the Benghazi diplomatic outpost, when notified of the dispute by BMG on June 6, 2012, State Department Contracting Officer Jan Visintainer didn’t respond for over a month and, when he did, Visintainer took a hands-off approach to say the least.

On July 10, 2012, Visintainer responded by telling the company that the department, “is not required to mediate any disagreements between the two parties of the Blue Mountain Libya partnership,” and further stated the obvious, which was that “it is in the best interests of both of the 50/50 partners to resolve their differences and successfully complete this contract.”

But the security firms, for reasons not yet completely understood, didn’t “resolve their differences” and the situation further spun out of control.

An agreement dated August 20, 2012, outlined the decision by Blue Mountain Group and XPAND Corporation to dissolve their partnership. Yet, it wasn’t until September 9, 2012 – which was just two days before the Benghazi terrorist attack – that an unidentified partner at the law firm representing XPAND wrote to Visintainer explaining that they, “hereby bar and prohibit BMUK [Blue Mountain U.K.] from utilizing such license.”

“I have never experienced anything like this in business before,” wrote an unnamed BMG official to Visintainer in response to XPAND’s letter. “The agreement was signed and we were to operate under the [Blue Mountain Libya] license and confirmation of this was due through from [sic] the partners. However, they have had a change of mind and now this. I will call you very shortly.”

The email was dated the morning of the September 11 attacks, and by that point it was already too late.

Despite repeated requests for a comment, the State Department has refused to explain to PPD why the security contract was even awarded to BMG in the first place. After a week of research, PPD cannot find a single government contract previously awarded to the firm, and considering the documents show State Department officials had other options, it appears unexplainable repeated requests for additional security from Ambassador Chris Stevens went unanswered or flat-out denied.

According to an email dated February 1, 2012, State Department contractor Neil Kern named two other security firms bidding on the contract, including Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions. Torres is not only a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, which according to federal regulation should have enjoyed a preference advantage over BMG, but a well-experienced and capable security firm. They have nearly $70 million in won contracts with the State Department under their belt, including contracts to provide security guard services in Pakistan, Iraq, and Jordan.

The new documents come as a new FOX Poll shows — by a 58-38 percent margin — voters want Congress to continue investigating the Obama administration, who 6 in 10 say are covering up on Benghazi (60 percent). That includes nearly 4 in 10 Democrats who say Congress should continue digging into Benghazi (38 percent), which in total, is more than twice the number that believes the White House is being “open and transparent” (28 percent).

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) seemed content with the already-established committees investigating Benghazi until Judicial Watch released emails showing a senior White House advisor played a direct and pivotal role in prepping former U.N. ambassador Susan Rice for her now-infamous Sunday show appearances.

Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against the Department of State (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-00951)), and obtained more than 100 pages of documents, many of which contained information and emails that the White House either intentionally hid from Congress or excessively redacted in order to conceal the information we now know.

That was the final blow for Speaker Boehner.

The Republican-controlled House voted 232-186 on May 8 to establish a select committee on Benghazi, which will be headed up by former prosecutor-turned Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), marking the official launch of a serious congressional investigation into the administration’s coverup of the Benghazi attack.

Written by

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

Latest comments

  • dffhdh

  • torres is not capable of such job, at least not with that magnitude!

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