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Ops Center Watch Logs From Night of Benghazi – Say, Who Was Running @StateDept?

Posted: 12:24 am EDT
Updated: 10:14 pm EDT

 

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[N]ewly disclosed documents, obtained by Veterans for a Strong America through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, include 24 pages of watch logs from the State Department operations center recording the logistics of the back-and-forth over the deadly assault in a sterile, just-the-facts manner.

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The watch logs do not show all the calls Clinton made that night, but a State spokesman said many calls are not routed through the operations center. The logs also do not appear to reflect an interagency secure video teleconference in which Clinton took part that evening.

A spokesman for the House Benghazi Committee said the panel had access to other State Department chronologies and call records but received copies of the watch logs only on Friday. That’s a week after they were released to the veterans group on Oct. 30.

Read the logs: Ops Center Watch Logs, Sept 11- 12, 2012.

While the logs may not present the complete chronology of events (if somebody made calls or sent emails outside the Watch, it would not be listed in the logs), this is probably the closest tick tock we could see on what occurred at HQ  on the night Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans were killed in Benghazi.

— At 5:38 p.m. , Sept 11, the Watch patched HRC with CIA Petraeus

— At 7:05 p.m., Sept 11, at the request of HRC, the Watched convened a conference call participated  by D/S Nides, U/S Kennedy (M), U/S Sherman (P), Counselor Mills, S/P Sullivan, PA Nuland, ExecSec Mull, NEA A/S Jones, Tripoli DCM Hicks with HRC

— At 10:27 p.m., Sept 11, the Watch patched President Obama with HRC

— Ambassador Stevens’ death appears to have been reported to the Ops Center at 2:55 a.m. on September 12.

— Secretary Clinton made no visit to the Watch, but called the Watch at 7:15 a.m. with a request, on September 12.

— At 7:31 a.m. the Watch patched WH Chief of Staff Jack Lew to HRC

— At 9:20 a.m., the Watch patched HRC to Embassy Tripoli

— D/S Burns was in Baghdad

— Counselor Mills makes multiple appearances on these logs, more than the Secretary.

— Ambassador T. Pickering makes a couple of appearances.

— Senators Kerry and Graham appears on the logs

— — Except for the mass alert from the Watch directed at multiple bureaus of the State Department, the Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell does not appear to make any appearance in these logs. Which is odd considering that DS A/S is apparently the main guy on State Department security. One exception is at 0320 (further to item 0255, concerning the death of Amb. Stevens, the Watch called multiple individuals in State’s top ranks, as well as OBO, FLO, MED, DGHR, PA. The name of the individual called on behalf of Diplomatic Security was REDACTED. There is a separate call where the Watch patched U/S Kennedy and Diplomatic Security’s Charlene Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary in charge of international programs.

We do not think that there was a conspiracy not to save our people under attack in Benghazi but we are curious on who was running the State Department as events unfolded in Benghazi.  And why was the main official handling diplomatic security not shown in these logs? Is that indicative of just how little influence diplomatic security professionals actually have in a crisis like this? No? What’s that? Yes, I do know that DS has its own command center.

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One response

  1. The Watch Log is only a partial record of calls and other actions done on a particular shift in the Operations Center. Calls to and from senior officials (i.e., Assistant Secretaries and above) are always logged, but calls to and from lower level officials (i.e., DASes and below) are usually not. For example, calls to and from working level counterparts the DS Command Center would not normally be logged. In addition, on certain shifts–for example, Shift III on September 11, 2012, as indicated by the log–a DS Representative joins the Watch and handles all communications between the Watch and the DS Command Center. So just because the Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security (or anyone else in DS) doesn’t appear in the Watch Log doesn’t mean they weren’t involved, or aren’t influential.

    In olden days, the Senior Watch Officer in the Operations Center was considered the senior official on duty at the State Department after hours. That’s changed with the advent of cable news, email, cell phones, and Blackberrys, and the Department’s 24 hour work culture. Judging from the log, quite a few 7th floor principals didn’t get much sleep that night, so asking who was running the State Department that night is a bit fatuous. The Secretary was running the Department–along with the two Deputy Secretaries, several Under Secretaries and Assistant Secretaries, the Executive Secretary, and every one else who is listed in the Watch log (along with many, many others who weren’t listed–see above.)

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