Quickie: Former FSO Richard Jackson on Missing the Point on Benghazi

Richard Jackson, former Foreign Service Officer, State Dept. director for Egypt and North Africa and president emeritus of Anatolia College writes in The Hill’s Congress blog about Missing the point on Benghazi:

The questions to ask, beyond finger-pointing and cover-ups, are therefore:

  • How, as a special CIA listening post for radical militias and al Qaida not yet re-designated as a consulate, the large Agency cohort in Benghazi was totally blind-sided by the 9/11 attack?
  • What circumstances could justify Amb. Stevens’ travel into a completely unprotectable situation on 9/11?
  • Given requests for additional security resources from posts throughout the region, including Libya, and worldwide, how under continuing resolutions could the Congress justify cutting from the President’s proposed budget the two major security accounts for the State Department, Embassy Security and the World Security Protection (WSP) program, by significant amounts in each of the past three fiscal years? It should be noted that a third, three-month rotation for a 16-person U.S. Army security team in Libya was turned down in mid-August, just weeks before the tragedy, because of the high cost of reimbursement to the Pentagon.
  • Finally, so that this is not just a rhetorical exercise and that we learn from the loss of four American lives, what will be the impact of this sad episode on the future operations of U.S. embassies and consulates, given that the presence of American diplomats on the ground is more important today than ever and that it would be prohibitive and probably impossible to safeguard our 285 worldwide installations against an Ansar al Sharia-style assault?

Read in full here.

– DS




SFRC Clears Cretz, Malac, Wharton, Laskaris, Ries, Koenig, Kirby, Armbruster, Holtz

The Hill reports that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) on Thursday unanimously approved the following nominees for ambassadorships, setting up their possible approval by the full Senate before the August recess.

  • The Honorable Gene Allan Cretz, of New York, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Ghana
  • Ms. Deborah Ruth Malac, of Virginia, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Liberia
  • Mr. David Bruce Wharton, of Virginia, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Zimbabwe
  • Mr. Alexander Mark Laskaris, of Maryland, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Guinea
  • The Honorable Marcie B. Ries, of the District of Columbia, to be an Ambassador to the Republic of Bulgaria
  • Mr. John M. Koenig, of Washington, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Cyprus
  • The Honorable Michael David Kirby, of Virginia, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Serbia
  • Mr. Thomas Hart Armbruster, of New York, to be Ambassador to the Republic of the Marshall Islands
  • Ms. Greta Christine Holtz, of Maryland, to be Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman

The nine nominees will now join Carlos Pascual in the wait for the confirmation of the full senate. Mr. Pascual who was nominated to be the State Department’s first Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources was cleared by the SFRC in March 2012.

Domani Spero