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Embassy Security Funds Transfer Act of 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, as a cosponsor of this important legislation, I am pleased the Senate will pass this bill and once again provide for stronger security at our diplomatic facilities.

Numerous reports have documented the security failures that resulted in the tragic deaths of four Americans at the consulate in Benghazi. Both the Administrative Review Board and the report of the Senate Homeland Security Committee found that inexcusable failures of judgment led State Department decisionmakers to ignore the rising threat levels in Benghazi and the repeated requests for enhanced security at the site. Marine Security Guards were not on site to protect our consulate in one of the most dangerous and unstable regions in the world. The failures of management that led to these decisions are reprehensible; the lapses in judgment indefensible. It is beyond my comprehension why the individuals whose poor decisionmaking directly resulted in the deaths of four Americans remain employed by the State Department, and compensated by the U.S. taxpayers.

One of the most troubling aspects of the Benghazi attack is the complete disregard that State Department leadership gave to the repeated requests for enhanced security from Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Should funding have been an issue, the State Department always has the option available to come to Congress for approval to transfer funds within accounts. In fact, this is what S. 227 accomplishes--it provides the State Department transfer authority to prioritize diplomatic security in our embassies around the world. It is a sad, but necessary postscript to this tragic event--and a step that, if taken earlier by the State Department, may have saved the lives lost in Benghazi.

It is my hope that the Senate takes into consideration my repeated calls for increased Marine security at our embassies in high threat areas of the world. In the two budgets I have authored during my Senate tenure, I not only called for increased funding for military protection, but also for reducing the presence of embassies in the most dangerous areas of the globe. The safety of our men and women in diplomatic service must be prioritized. This means placing more emphasis on involvement in security by the Defense Department, but it also means assessing whether our diplomacy in the most dangerous areas of the world is better done from afar.

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