U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanding more details regarding the increasing threats and security concerns that preceded the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the death of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.
The senators' letter comes in the wake of conflicting reports from the Administration about the events leading up to the attacks, as well as recent news reports that Ambassador Stevens kept a diary chronicling his concerns over the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi prior to the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks.
Specifically, Isakson and Corker request in the letter that the State Department promptly provide the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with all communication relevant to the security situation in Benghazi between the U.S. Mission to Libya and the State Department leading up to the attacks, including any cables sent from Ambassador Stevens.
The full text of the letter from Isakson and Corker is below.
The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Secretary Clinton:
We write today to request additional information regarding the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. While we appreciate your participation in the briefing to the U.S. Senate last week, we are extremely concerned about conflicting reports over the events leading up to the attacks. Specifically, we are concerned over the apparent lack of security preparations made despite a demonstrable increase in risks to U.S. officials and facilities in Benghazi in the period leading up to the attacks.
As you know, multiple attacks against Western diplomats and aid workers this year raised serious concerns over the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi. On June 6, 2012, an IED attack damaged the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, prompting State Department officials to request a temporary increase in security cooperation with Libyan forces. On June 11, 2012, an RPG attack against the British ambassador's convoy led to the closure of the British consulate in Benghazi, and on August 5, 2012, the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Benghazi was also attacked by militants with RPGs.
Libyan officials claim that that they met with U.S. officials regarding rising threats against Western officials in the days leading up to the attacks, and CNN reports that Ambassador Stevens was increasingly concerned over the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi and rising levels of Islamist extremism. Despite these warnings, the State Department sought and received a waiver from the standard security requirements for the consulate.
As required by U.S. law, the State Department has established an Accountability Review Board (ARB) to investigate the attacks and the security posture of the consulate at the time of the attacks. The ARB's report is due later this year, and we look forward to reviewing its findings. While we appreciate the sensitivities associated with this ongoing investigation, we must insist on more timely information regarding the attacks and the events leading up to the attacks. To that end, we request that you transmit to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee all communications between the U.S. Mission to Libya and the State Department relevant to the security situation in Benghazi in the period leading up to the attacks, including, but not limited to, cables sent from Ambassador Stevens.
We thank you for your timely and personal attention to this request.
United States Senator
United States Senator