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tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  October 10, 2012 1:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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after numerous attempts, they found mr. smith, unfortunately, he was already deceased. they still cannot find the ambassador. the quick reaction security team arrived with 40 members of the libyan february 17 brigade. that all continue the search for the ambassador. at the libyans insisted that they needed to evacuate the site. there was a final search for the ambassador before leaving the and next in an armored vehicle. they took heavy fire as they pulled away from the main building and on the street outside the compound. they were able to make their way to the annex. >> the gentlelady will suspend. >> i am concern we are getting into classified issues that
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would be totally inappropriate in an open forum such as this. ms. lamb, is it your intent to declassify any and all material in the statement? >> the information we are presented in open session is entirely on classified. >> mr. chairman, i totally object to the use of that photo. the gentleman will state his reasons. >> i believe it to be classified information that should be not -- should not be disseminated in a public forum such as we have here today. >> breaking member, i was just wondering -- these are people from the state -- ranking member, these are people from the state department. i would assume they would not come here unless it was cleared. >> i appreciate the gentleman's
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comments. are these now declassified or are you declassifying them at this hearing? is that correct? is this clear through your channels to be given here today? >> this information is available for public dissemination. >> ok. the gentleman's point of order, although noted, it is the prerogative of the executive branch to determine what is not classified. the one thing i would note, my able staff has compared the opening statement of ms. lamb. it appears her opening statement is the one that should have been given to us last night since it is the one that was given to the press. >> i was told specifically that while i was in libya, i should not and could not talk about what you are showing here today.
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>> mr. chairman, if i might, this is commercial digital imagery from a commercial satellite source, sir. >> i appreciate that. ultimately, i will side with the ministration they have a right to show it. we were shown documents this morning in camera that work on classified, but were not turned over to the committee. if you have anything else you intend to use, if it has not been provided to the committee, i shall suggest those materials be provided at this time. it is your prerogative to declassify, but it is not your brought in to tell a member of congress there is something that is classified and come to an open hearing and say it is not. mr. chaffetz this is it with your people. i ask that you rectify this in
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the future. >> is there question? point of order. we do not want any misconceptions. ambassador, can we get that on google? >> this is not a point of order. thank you. please reset to 8 minutes. if you can finish in two minutes , we two minutes-- to 2 minutes. if you can finish in two minutes, we appreciate it. >> the annex started taking mortar fire. it was during this mortar attack that tyron woods and glen doughterty were killed. security officers arrived and
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exported the arm -- remaining americans to the airport. the ambassador's body was that the benghazi general hospital. the department coordinated the transfer of his remains to the airport. before i close, i would like to say that the men and women who risked their lives in the service of our country are heroes. i have served with many of our security professionals around the world. they are my friends and my colleagues. i trust them with my life. thank you. >> thank you. i would direct that the chart the taken down. upon further reflection, although commercially available, in this hearing room, we are not going to point out details of what may still be a facility of the united states government for more facilities. you may continue. i respect your right to deliver
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what you want. but i will caution you that that which is told to us on a classified spaces needs to remain that way. you cannot have it one day in a classified briefing, which i attended yesterday, and the same material be presented on classified the next day. the ambassador is recognized. >> thank you very much. distinguished members of the committee. i'd like to share a few words with you. libyan space significant challenges as they make the transition from an oppressive dictatorship to a stable and prosperous democracy. it will be an extraordinary honor to represent the united states during this historic period of transition in your -- in libya. we understand why christopher stevens went to libya, his
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passion for the country and his mission. he believes no talent is too big our too hard in our national security or value is at stake. that is what is in stake at the best at stake in libya. we will do our best to answer your -- that is what is at stake in libya. we will do our best to answer your questions. there may be information that is classified and can only be dealt with in classified sessions. as secretary clinton has said. the american people expect that the family who lost loved ones -- families who lost loved ones deserve an accurate accounting. we lost friends and colleagues, a cross section of those who put their lives on the line every day. in the inherently dangerous work of diplomatic service to our nation. the secretary has already appointed a review board and is
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working to determine if our security systems and procedures where appropriate in light of the threat environment and whether they were properly implemented. the secretary has asked us to work as quickly and transparency as pot -- transparently as possible. this is a complicated review that will take time. we will be better able to assess the information we have. until then, it is an incomplete picture and, as a result, our answers today will be incomplete. we have always made clear we were given the best information we had at the time. for example, if any administration official, including any career official, were on television sunday, september 16, they would have said what ambassador rice said. the information she had at that point from the intelligence
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committee was the same that i had at that point. clearly, we know more today than we did after the attack. but we will continue consulting with you throughout this process. i would like to address the broader question that may be on your mind. why is the united states in benghazi when there are real dangers there? this question goes to the heart of america's role in the world. ambassador stevens arrived in benghazi at the height of the revolution. the rebels were fighting for their lives. it was dangerous. a bomb exploded in the parking lot of his hotel. the transitional authority struggled to provide basic security. extremists tried to exploit their agenda. i military cannot -- they are our -- there are no other
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bullets on the ground. he understood a new libya was being born in benghazi and it was critical that we have an active presence there. that is why ambassador stevens stayed in benghazi during those difficult days. he knew his mission was vital to our interests and values and it was an investment that would pay off in a strong partnership with a free libya. after the september 11 attack, the libyan people showed how right he was. thousands marched in the streets of benghazi morning there france same -- mourning their friend saying, chris stevens is a friend to all libyans. the united states is better off because he went to benghazi. we must review the security procedures in place and improve them, asking ourselves if our people have with a needed and how we can reduce the risk of
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this happening again. one thing is not up for debate today or any other day. those who risk their lives in the service of our country are heroes and we must support them, particularly those who provide security in and insecure and climate. diplomacy must be practiced in dangerous places. the united states since people in more than 2165 diplomatic posts. we do this because when america -- in more than 265 diplomatic posts. we do this because when america is absent, our interests suffer and our security is threatened. that is how we protect this country and sustain its global leadership. we can and will reduce the risk of those who served. no one can eliminate it. our facilities must be protected. we regularly to assess risks and resources allocation, a process
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involving the considered judgment of experienced professionals on the ground and in washington using the best available information. the assaults that occurred on the evening of september 11, was an unprecedented assault by dozens of heavily armed men. we must continue to deploy our men to dangerous places like benghazi. we will not retreat. we will keep leading and we will stay engaged everywhere in the world. all of us in the state department will honor our fallen colleagues by continuing their work with the same purpose and resolve they demonstrated. mr. chairman, thank you again for this opportunity. the congress is a crucial partner in providing diplomatic security. i look forward to working with you and the members of this committee to continue to carry out this important work. thank you. >> thank you.
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ambassador kennedy, yesterday you make a significant press announcement. this morning, and only this morning, our staff was shown a binder in camera. the documents in that book indicates that it is unclassified. are you prepared to deliver those documents to us at this time? >> mr. chairman, my understanding is that we made information available to the committee last night and this morning. we have the material still here. we would be glad to meet with the committee or committees that afterwards. >> no. we want it for this hearing. the information when looked at in camera, was on classified, but perhaps embarrassing. will you make that information available at this time so i can distributed to all the members on the dais? >> the information must be
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considered restricted and the context is all important. >> i agree with you. with that, i now move that the u.n. classified document of september 11, 2012 appearing above the signature of the ambassador be placed in the record. without objection, so ordered. the staff will distribute it. additionally, i move that the documents of march 28, 2012 we place in the record. without objection, so ordered. additionally -- and these will have to be printed -- the document of august 2, 2012 and of july 9, 2012 be placed in the record. without objection, so ordered.
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>> mr. chairman, to be clear, we already have the documents? >> in real time, a whistleblower has provided these documents. we confirm these documents are identical to the documents being withheld. it is the determination of the chair that these documents were responsive, on classified, and appropriate for discovery. >> i was just asking if we already had the documents. >> if you notice, i am looking at one on an ipad. we have some and others. they will be circulated to bauxites. they are now -- they will be circulated to both sides. they are now part of the hearing. ambassador, i do not like doing this. ultimately, the cooperation we have received has caused individuals to say things that are consistent with these documents that are being withheld. since the documents are on
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classified, we can reach no other conclusion but that they are inappropriate. after my years in the military and my years on the hill and my years on the select intelligence committee, to say that a broader array of a classified documents are classified is to make everything you do unavailable to the congress. mr. nordstrom, you have got a lot of things i appreciate in communication. you send an e-mail and you have that e-mail read in an opening statement. do you stand by that statement? >> i do. that was a follow-up to our meeting on the same day. we discussed a number of documents you were interested in getting, specifically the list of incidents we had discussed. >> in the statement, what you were saying was that there was not sufficient resources
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provided considering the coming together of what could have and turned out to be a catastrophic attack. would that be a fair representation of what you said? >> that was the main reason i continue to ask for those resources, yes. >> we had an informal, bipartisan meeting with you. in that, you relate something that i think is important. i ask you about the masses stevens, a skilled career -- i ask you about ambassador stevens, a skills career diplomat. he told me that when there was a perceived threat in is running, he ceased running. when you are able to come up with an acceptable way for him to run, he ran again, but only under your authority and recommendation. is that correct?
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>> yes, mr. chairman. >> did he do what you saw when you recommended it. did he chafe over what you thought was best for his security? >> at no time did i have concerns raised to me by ambassador stevens. the senior member of the mobile security deployment team routinely met with him and discussed general threats and specific concerns we might have about his schedule, his routine, and his meetings. as i noted in that informal hearing, one of the specific threats we have received, which was reference this morning, was a threat posted to facebook. we came across that threat as a result of senator mccain coming out to review the elections that were held in early july. my point of it is, he was
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absolutely responsive and he deferred to what our concerns were. >> thank you. mr. lamb, yesterday you told us in testimony that you received, from mr. nordstrom, a recommendation, but not a request, for more security. he said that if you submitted a request, you would not support it. is that correct? >> at the time of our meeting last night, i went back -- >> first answer the question. did you say that he would not support it if he gave you the request? >> under the current conditions, yes. >> after last night, you discovered what? >> i reviewed the cable and that was not in that cable. >> we have a july 9 cable. it is one of the ones that i put
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in the record. it has the words request. it does not meet your standard of what you would call a formal request. it does request more assets. if you looked at the july 9, 2012 cable -- and this is less than 60 days beforehand -- it says summary and action request, support for an additional 60 days. yesterday, you told us under penalty of perjury, that it was not a request. it was a recommendation. does the word requests made request? are you prepared to say today that they requested assets above what they had on september 11 or that they recommended it? >> that cable was a detailed and complex cable outlining --
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we have read that cable and, you are right. it is detailed. the september 11 cable from the ambassador expresses current concerns on that day. repeatedly in the cables that were denied to us, we see that people are telling you that al qaeda-type organizations are coming together. the problem i have is that the state department is saying mr. nordstrom was not doing his job, he did not make a formal request and the ambassador did not make a formal case. that is what you are saying today. a compound owned by us and serving like a consulate was breached less than 60 days before, approximately 60 days before the murder of the ambassador in that facility.
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is that true? >> sir, we have the correct number of assets in benghazi at the time of 9/11 for what has been agreed upon. >> my time has expired. to start off by saying you had the correct number and our ambassador and three other individuals are dead and people are recovering because it only took moments to reach that facility does not ring true to the american people. with that, i recognize the ranking member. have you received a copy of the cables yet? >> yes. mr. nordstrom, your testimony here today paints a different picture of what has been portrayed in the press. you said you were impressed with the plans that we send our team into libya, a massive show of well organize resources. you further explain that the
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department of state diplomatic security service and mission libya officers conducted themselves and were paying attention to managing people and budgets that reflected the gravity of that task. did you say that? >> yes, i did. he said -- >> you say the vast number of your resources were considered by ds and the department. did you say that? >> absolutely. >> did you mean that? >> absolutely. >> all that is helpful in putting it into context concerns you have raised about staffing numbers. you told the committee you thought there should be 5
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diplomatic security special agents stationed in benghazi and that you sent two cables, one in march and one in july, making that request. is that correct? >> yes. if i can add to that report on the back that point, it was not my idea to add five to -- if i can add to that report, it was not my idea to add five to benghazi. that cable was trapped in the department. i had, at no time, an opportunity to add or comment on that. the principal officer in benghazi had an opportunity to comment on that. it was the number 5 that ds had committed to and which we continue to ask them to meet during my time there. >> the cable states further, they anticipate supporting the operation in benghazi what --
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with at least 1 iso, with a rest -- would request continued support in benghazi. that would be a total of four. is that correct? >> yes. >> i understand you left libya before the attacks. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> ambassador, let me turn to you. there were five special agents in benghazi at the time of the attack. can you verify there were five special agents in benghazi on the night of the attack? were there additional armed guards at the compound on that night? can you answer those though she questions, please? >> there were five diplomatic security special agents on the compound on the evening of september 11. there were three additional armed security personnel provided by the government of
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libya. >> agent lamb, how do you respond to concerns that you fail to provide additional security in benghazi? that is a serious charge. >> yes, sir. we have decided that with eric nordstrom and a senior rso who spent time there as well. i asked them to do a serious assessment of the numbers needed them. when mr. nordstrom distrust of the duties of the agents in benghazi -- discussed the duties of the ages in benghazi, we were using an agent to -- agents in benghazi, we were using an agent to monitor classified communications. these are not normally duties assigned to a ds agent.
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i asked him to review that. when another rso went to benghazi, that rso was asked to review the numbers. a driver was hired, trained and the driver took the place of what the ds agent was doing. they came up through technical security means around the need to half the 24-7 coverage. >> one last question. when the ambassador to travel to benghazi before the attack, could bthe security team in tripoli send additional security with him if it was necessary? >> absolutely. >> or any of those five ds agents with the ambassador in tripoli come down from benghazi?
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>> yes. >> that is not the same as by being in benghazi ordinarily. the still would have been two more coming down with the ambassador for a total of 7. >> we agreed that three was a sufficient number to have on the ground. one question. -- >> the cable we talked about as four agents, not five. is that right? >> which cable? >> the july cable. ask for four not 5. >> it asks for a minimum of three. at the time, we had three full- time permanently assigned agents in libya -- myself and two assistance. cut there were five on the night of the attack, is that correct? >> that is mine understanding. -- my understanding.
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>> mr. kennedy, right after the september 11 attack, you were up here on capitol hill giving a briefing to aides. you said this appeared to be a terrorist attack. do you stand by that? >> what i said, mr. chairman -- former chairman. >> once a chairman, always a chairman. >> the question i recall being asked was was this a premeditated attack. i responded to that, that i am not prepared to render a formal opinion on whether or not it was premeditated. i thought it involves a degree of complexity that was significant. >> according to people who were there, you called it a terrorist attack. but in a separate statement.
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>> that is all i wanted to know. today, as i listen to people, ms. lamb, you have described these attackers in a number of ways. he did not mention terrorist -- you do not mention terrorists. the embassy had been attacked before. they used grenades at all kinds >> sir i have just presented the facts as they've come across. i am not making any judgments on my own. >> let me ask you a couple of other questions. there were 16 troops that were there at that compound. and they requested them to be kept there.
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and they sent a suggestion to you that they be kept there and then you responded saying that if that was presented to you, you would not accept that. was that your sole decision? >> sir they were not in benghazi, they were in tripoli. >> i understand. >> and when the cable came in where mr. nordstrom laid out all of his staffing requirements and needs, i asked our desk officer to go back and sit down with him or through e-mails and telephone conversations to work out all the details and line up exactly how many security personnel, armed security personnel did he need. >> you did not agree with that assessment that they needed those there? >> no, sir. we had been training local libyans -- >> i just want to know did you
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not say if that was presented to you, you would not accept it? >> he was -- >> did you or did you not say? >> yes, sir, i said that personally i would not support it. >> why is that? you knew about all these other attacks that had taken place. >> we had been training local libyans and arming them for almost a year. >> let me disrupt, the local libyan militia that was there knew there was going to be an attack on that compound so many of them left. they didn't want to be involved in the attack. so i don't understand why you would say that out of hand that you don't think those 16 troops should be there. >> sir with due respect they were in tripoli, not in
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benghazi and it would not have made any difference in benghazi. >> mr. nordstrom, do you care to comment on this? >> beginning in about january, february time frame, i had a number of conversations with lamb, with the regional director and also the desk officer for libya itself. and a lot of those discussions were specific to determining what exactly our personnel needs were, looking at metrix and the duties would be that these personnel would be doing. be it d.o.d. sourced or department sourced. the number that we continued to come up with and it is generally the same number that was requested in march in my first request was approximately 12 armed security, with an additional six persons that would be focused on training that local guard unit.
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>> would the gentleman yield? >> i'll be happy to yield. >> isn't it true we had this in testimony yesterday they'd have as much as 30% turnover per month in the people you were training. you weren't getting good career people coming in and had high turned over in the unarmed and armed portion of the training? >> we had -- just for clarification, the guard force was somewhat confusing. in tripoli the guards that we employed were directly hired by the embassy. >> i'm only speaking of benghazi. >> those were subcontracted. the decision to go with the subcontractor was largely based on how long we would be in benghazi. we were concern fd we brought on board full-time employees,
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then we would have to find positions for them if that post went away. so yes there was very high turnover with those people. in terms of the guard that were there in february, they were there for the duration. >> if you want to finish up, that will be fine. >> they did go to benghazi on two different occasions to bolster the security that was there. she made trips and they were needed there for the extra -- just the extra movement she had and to guard the compound and provide a quick reaction for us if necessary. we did that on like i said, two separate occasiones to provide that extra support. the s.s.t. alone to the security force, what goes above
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and beyond normal law enforcement oriented security. these individuals were familiar and cared larger caliber better weapons and the tactics they employed would be the counter military style attack. >> thank you. >> ambassador kennedy, i want to make sure i clarify one of the most controversial parts of this matter and that is how the public first learned of the first reason given for the disturbances in benghazi. now i understand that the state department did not take any position, including the position taken by ambassador
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rice, so i think it's important to trace how the ambassador came poth conclusions that she reported on television. she said that her information was that the benghazi matters were similar to the protests that had arisen in cairo and she refered to extremist elements, tunistic elements taking advantage of that protest. now the director of the office of national intelligence issued a statement that indicated thatted the been the source of the ambassador's statement. and i'd like to read what the
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national intelligence director said. in the immediate after math there was information that led to us astheas the attack began spontaneously following protest later that day at our embassy in cairo. we provided that information to congress who used that information to discuss the attack publicly and to provide updates as they became available. throughout our investigation we continued to emphasize that information gathered was preliminary and evolving. i note by the way that mr. nordstrom, you say in your testimony, i'm looking at page two, that the very rossty and intense of the attack was nothing we had seen in libya or i had seen in my entire time in diplomatic service indicating
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this was something of a surprise attack. and i might say suggesting maybe we should be rethinking about how we can protect our outpost. but what i read as the statement ambassador kennedy, could i ask you if you have any reason to doult that ambassador rice relied on that information from the national intelligence director? >> no, ms. norton, when i came up to give a briefing earlier that week, followed a day or two later by ambassador rice, both of us were relying on the same information. i said in my oral statement that if i or any other senior administration official, career or noncareer would have been on that television show, other
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than susan rice, we would have said the same thing because we were drawing on the intelligence information that was then available to us. this has been a very much evolving situation. what we knew that first week has evolved over time so we know much more now than we knew then. >> the national director issued a statementton 28th and he said as we learned more about the attack, we revised our initial assessment indicating it was a deliberate terrorist attack cared out by extremist. so we see the evolving nature of it. look, i have to ask you the biplomats who were stationed in cairo who were accused by governor mitt romney of sympathizing with the attackers , i'd like to know how these
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dip plomats, these personnel in ky oh row -- cairo reacted to that criticism? >> i don't know. i've not had any conversations with them. but lide like to assure you just from my general knowledge there is not a foreign service officer or foreign service professional in our service who sympathizes or grease with terrorists. >> we now go to the gentleman from ohio. >> let's understand what you're saying here today is that one piece of intell got you guys, yourself and secretary rice or ambassador rice to make a wrong statement five or six days later and still be making it. because sunday is a long time
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after tuesday. so you're saying you got it wrong, it stayed wrong and you didn't know any better between the 11th and the 16th, is that right? >> the information that was available to both myself -- >> ambassador, you're a great witness historically. i asked you did you have any contrary knowledge over those five days? >> no, sir. >> you don't know any better is your testimony. thank you, sir. >> may i ask we give mr. jordan his full five minutes? >> be honest -- >> i ask yuan mouse consent the member have 15 seconds. >> objection. mr. chairman, with all due respect. you just allowed mr. burton to go over by two minutes and
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you're giving mr. -- >> i'm sure it's going to balance tout time. >> we have gone over and i'm going to pull it back into five minutes. >> before we get to your part of the day we will get there. >> without objection, the ranking member is given equal time to ask a question, please. >> i want to go back to you ambassador. i think that was a very critical question. mr. norton talked about the five days. can you explain that to us that during that period, five days or whatever it was, not having the information contrary to what ms. rice may have said. i understand it was based on intelligence. but can you explain how that could happen to the public? in other words, were you all still gathering information,
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what was going on there, do you know? >> mr. comings, we were gathering information from the intelligence community. we wanted to know what was happening more than anyone else because we also had dozens of other embassies we were concerned about. so we were looking for every piece of information we could get from no matter what rarble and reasonable source to feed into our consideration of what steps we should take to protect -- >> is it unusual for you all to rely on the intelligence community for that kind of information? >> we have a great partnership with the intelligence community and we heavily depend on the information they provide us just as they depend on information we provide them.
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>> now the gentleman from ohio has five mins. >> how many months were you in libya? >> i was in libya approximately six months. >> mr. nordstrom, how many months were you in libya? >> approximately ten. >> ms. lamb how many times have you visited libya? >> i have not >> none since the security incidents in libya? >> no, sir >> how many times have you been to libya? >> none. >> we had numbers earlier from mr. nordstrom, you talked about three/five in libya. and you wanted 12 plus a back up of six. in your testimony mr. kennedy, you said the department regularly assessed risk for security a process which considered judgment for professionals using the best information available. so that process, i want to know how the decision was made.
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are you involved in that process ambassador kennedy? >> most normal occasions i am not involved. >> are people in the white house involved in that process? >> if there are disagreements between the post in the field and the dip plomats -- >> would you classify what took place here a disagreement? >> no, sir -- >> this didn't reach a disagreement level. i would describe it as a dialogue -- >> this didn't reach a disagreement? >> no, sir it did not. >> mr. nordstrom let me turn to you then. i want to know in the e-mail that congressman referenced earlier, the interview you had back on october 1, you stated this was a post to reduce security resources in
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accordance with artificial time lines. yet today in your testimony it was a little different as the ranking member brought out aund mentioned the answer should not be to operate from a bunk. i want to ask you these questions. first of all, since that interview with the chairmen, staff indicated they tried to contact you six different times and you did not respond. is there a reason you didn't respond? >> that's correct. >> is there a reason you didn't respond? >> i was add rice viced by state >> who our legislative office >> did ms. lamb tell you to do that no >> did secretary clinton tell you to oh do that? >> no >> who told you that after you gave us this information? >> i was advised by the
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assistant secretary boswell's office that his staff that all request for information and documents would need to be vetted or routed through that office. >> did those same individuals help you prepare today's testimony? >> in the sense of providing general guidelines on how -- >> did they tell you they wanted to look it over before you came and gave it today? >> of course. >> did they write it for you? >> no they did not. >> ms. lamb, i want to go back to this decision making process. so is it customary to not listen -- i would characterize listen as intently as you should have to the guys in the field when they requested the 12 plus the six back up? >> yes, sir i listen intently to those conversations. >> mr. wood let me bring you into the conversation here.
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i want your comments on that specifically, the number you wanted in libya plus the additional six. >> we agreed to the numbers between eric and i and put forth those numbers. we felt great frustration the fact that those demands were ignored. >> so the process when i was asked ambassador kennedy, tell me who you felt was involved in that process? who were the folks in washington in that process? >> i heard eric nordstrom refer to ms. lamb as far as the deciding authority on providing those additional resources. >> experienced professionals on the ground in washington, who were the other experienced professionals in washington that helped make that decision? >> i don't know >> mr. nordstrom who else. somebody had to decide, someone in washington was telling you guys you couldn't get what you wanted was it just ms. lamb or
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were there other people? >> i can't speculate in terms of who was. i dealt with our regional grecttor and then ms. lamb. the ambassador in the d.c.m. raced the same concerns. the d.c.m. met with ms. lamb raced the same concerns in person. it's my understanding additional phone calls were made. all of us at post were in sink we wanted these resources. >> on behalf of ms. lamb, ambassador kennedy. briefly previous. >> absolutely mr. chairman. i was asked on a different question, i was asked whether i was going to request a third extension of the s.s.t. icon sulted with my colleagues and because our colleagues had
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put together -- >> that's not what you said earlier. you said you weren't involved. which one sit? >> this question will be for the next round for both of you. with that we recognize the gentleman from ohio. >> mr. kennedy has testified today that u.s. interest and values are at stake in libya and that the u.s. is better off because we went to benghazi. do you think that after ten years in iraq and eleven years in afghanistan that the u.s. would have learned the consequences, you would think that after trillions have been wasted abroad while our infrastructure crumbles at home congress would reexamine priorities. today we're engaging in a discussion about the security failures in benghazi. there was a security failure. four americans including our
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ambassador, ambassador stevens were killed. their deaths are a national tragedy. my sympathy is with their families. there has to be accountability. i haven't heard that yet. we have an obligation to protect those who protect us. this security decation did not happen over night. we could talk about hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts over the last two years for blind pross terty. we could talk about whether it's prudent to rely on security contractors rather than our own military or state department personnel. we could do a he said she said about whether the state department should have beefed up security in benghazi. we oh it to the dip plo mat i can corp to start at the beginning and that's what i shall do. the unclecked extremist groups
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exist because our nation spurred on a civil war in libya. and no one defends gaddafi. libya was not in a melt down before the war. in 2003 gaddafis gave up his pursuit of nuclear weapons. it made our country and world safer. during the spring up rising as cross the mid middle east. based on those verbal threats we interveend absent conssturebl authority i might add. we bombed them, we lacked any civil authority control iv security. al guide da expanded its presence. there are thousands of missiles on the loose. our mill tire intervention led to greater instability in
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libya. many of us made that argument to try to stop the war. it's not surprising given inflated threat and the expectations inherent in our nation building in libya that the state department was not able to protect our dip plomats from this predictable threat. it's not surprising and it's not acceptable. it's easy to blame someone else. we all know the game. it's hard tore acknowledge that decades of foreign policy contributed to instability in the rise of militias ashed the world. it's hard to stop the war in iraq, the war in afghanistan, the war in yemen, the war in pakistan. it's hard tore recognize congress to stop st. drone attacks that are killing civilians. we want to stop the attacks on
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our emba sis, let's stop trying to overthrow governments. let's avoid the hype. let's look at the real situation here. interventions do not make us safer. they do not protect our nation. they are themselves a threat to america. now mr. kennedy. i would like to ask you is al qaeda more orless established in libya since our involvement? >> i will have to take that question for the record. i am not an intelligence expert. >> you don't have the intelligence you're saying. i'm going to go on to the next question. >> i think the other two may have an opinion also if you wanted to squ them. >> i wanted to ask ambassador kennedy. >> next question ambassador kennedy. how many shoulder to air missiles are capable of
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shooting down passenger airlines are mising in libya? can you answer that question? >> no, sir, i'll be glad to provide it for the record. >> you don't know? >> no, sir i do not know. it's not in my normal purview. >> does anybody know how many shoulder to air missiles that can shoot down passenger airlineses? >> the rough approximate inflammation is between ten and 20,000. >> the gentleman's time has expired. if anyone has an answer, they can answer >> >> yes, sir their presence grows every day, they are certainly more established than we are. >> with that we recognize the chairman of the subcommittee and a determined individual to
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get to the bottom of this. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. nordstrom, as we spoke before and i think it's clear on the record, you were asking for more personnel and that was either rejected or denied or just simply ignored, correct? >> actually, to clarify, we were asking just to keep what we had. and when you weren't able to keep what you had, what happened to your pay and the other security officers on the ground? >> i'm sorry. as i recall what you told me what that was denied, you were given a pay increase, they increased your pay? >> what i think you're referring to is the increase in danger pay for post as part of normal procedures we're asked for input at post. i as part of that process would provide information, not security. >> you were asking for more assets, more resources, more
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personnel, that was denied but the state department went back and classified it as more dangerous therefore increased your pay. they didn't tell you they didn't have resources. they gave you a pay increase because the danger was rising? >> yes >> did the benghazi meet the standards. after the bomb ngs beirut we went back and formalized some standards. did they meet those standards? >> negotiate the buildings in benghazi nor tripoli met those standards nor was there a plan for the next phase of construction would they meet the standards either. that was scheduled to be on the ground for approximately ten years. that was a may jore cause and concern and that was the major security issue we continued to raise. >> i would continue to point to
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an august 20 cable that you and officials believed the sup preem security counsel is fading away unwilling to take on anyone from powerful tribes. this backed the washington d.c. said incidents continue in this security vacuum in benghazi. i would also point to sept 4 in their mem memo maximum alert. a maximum alert september 1. this was the information that was coming. and what's infuriating is that we have hundreds of terrorists activities, our consulate is bombed twice, the british ambassador has an assasination attempt and yire arguing about whether the number was five or two or five or flee. and the security officials who haven't even been to libya wouldn't give the resources you
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asked for. did you participate in any way shape or form to request for additional personnel in libya and what was the consequence of those requests? >> yes i did. i with i would like to add, there was frustration from the beginning. the second request for extension that occurred apple -- april 5, the ambassador encountered some difficulty in understanding what was going on. he was getting conflicting signals from dod and dos. i got him to gather up but the general and they worked out a complete understanding. the general made it very clear
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to the ambassador. this was a great interagency cooperation and it was made very clear to him. it was also made clear -- he also reiterated that same point, the sst was his as long as he needed them. >> mr. nordstrom, it did you ever specifically ask -- did she ever specifically directed not to ask for additional extension? >> i recall two specific phone calls. one in february and one in july. i talked to the tw agents who
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happen to be present in the living room of the ambassador. in those conversations, i recall that i was specifically told, you cannot request an extension. how i interpreted that was there would be too much political cost. for some reason there was a hesitancy on that. in the first case in february, the ambassador felt strongly about the need for that. we went ahead and requested that any way. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> we now go to the gentleman from massachusetts. we appreciate his patients. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i also want to thank the witnesses. i want to acknowledge the tremendous sacrifice of ambassador stevens and former navy seals.
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as well as communication specialist sean smith. the best way to honor the memories of those american heroes is to address the general and global issue of the embassy security. so that we do a sign other brave americans to fill these posts, they do have added get -- adequate security many members of security -- this committee have traveled to the middle east dozens of times. the chairman has mentioned damascus, syria, beirut, lebanon. i just came back from yemen. they are undergoing some structural changes in response
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to threats. we have some embassies that predates even the attack on nairobi, tanzania, so that we have old world indices located on the street, in the middle east better terribly exposed to car bombs and to attacks. the best way to approach this is to take a holistic approach and figure out how we can prevent this type of thing from happening again. my second point, the easiest way to strengthen embassies' security is to get on the same page and -- i have to tell it like this. in recent budgets, my republican colleagues have supported cuts
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to funding for embassy security. the first thing you have to do to strengthen embassies' security is to try to meet secretary clinton's request for funding for embassy security. that will help lot. ambassador kennedy, what would a few hundred million dollars black was cut from the president's request for embassy security, what would that mean to you in terms of providing that level of protection that every son and daughter of america and deserves when they accept that post to go into a dangerous area? what would that few hundred million dollars to in your ability to provide an adequate level of protection?
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>> if we received the president's budget request for fiscal year 13, we would be able to construct new facilities and we would be able to upgrade additional facilities to get to the higher standards we seek. >> i want to go back to the chairman's blank. the situations in damascus and beirut, we still have the same problems there when things get straightened out. we are still on the main street. i had personal conversations with president bashar al-assad a couple of years ago about getting a new facility. do we have the task force that is looking at providing the said that we need to provide that level of protection and to relocate some of these embassies? >> we do, sir. we have a strategic plan.
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we know which embassies are more endangered than others. we're working through that. there are limitations on offense. i can only construct so many new facilities each -- there are limitations on affianced. i can only instruct so many new facilities. >> in addition to the security team, there was a rapid response force that was located in the next -- annex. how many are in that rapid reform -- rapid response task force? >> serve, there were seven and their job was also to -- >> point of order. >> i would renew my concern that we're getting into an area that is classified and should be
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classified. dealing with the map is one issue. the markings on the map were terribly inappropriate. the activities there could cost lives. >> on the point of order -- >> may i speak on the point of order? >> this whole hearing is responding to allegations that were not enough people on the ground at the benghazi facility. those accusations that you made public late. now i'm trying to get in -- publicly. now all all the sun that is off the record, that is classified information? you have to be kidding me? >> i am prepared to rule. unless you are prepared to get clearance and classify any and all information about additional personnel, this hearing will be limited to the information already given, which is the amount of individuals responded from the rapid force. this hearing is not specifically
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about september 11, but is intended to clarify much more failures, accountability, decisions. i do not think any of us figure that since four people, something went wrong. i would recommend the entire committee have a classified briefing as to any and all other assets that were not drawn upon, but could have been drawn upon. i would ask the gentleman to respect that. >> ok. mr. ambassador, can you clarify any answer around that question that may not violate -- >> certainly, sir. the american embassy annexes and
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benghazi consisted of two separate compounds. we cannot all fit on one compound. there were security personnel stationed on both compounds. there was a mutual assistance arrangement that had been worked out by the regional security officers. if one compound came under attack, security personnel would flow from one to the other or vice versa. it is a common practice. we are very interested in making sure that we have the maximum utilization in any country and we do that and we are certainly mindful and respectful of the general security concerns. >> thank you. >> mr. nordstrom, during your time, were those other people under any of your control?
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>> i am glad you asked that question. in being completely cognizant, because i have some of the same concerns, all of the people there were under the chief of mission. >> thank you, i think that clarifies that. we now go to the gentleman from oklahoma. >> i need to shift my questions little bit from what i intended based on the conversation we have had so far. can you clarify for me, where were you working september 11? were you in the washington area? >> i was then named ds command center on the evening of the event. -- i was in the fourth ds command center on the evening of -- i was in the ds command center on the evening of the event.
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>> did you follow what was happening in real time? >> they were making multiple phone calls and it was very important they communicate with the annex in tripoli because this is for additional resources were coming from. it would hang upon us and call us back. >> after a very long night for them, they are evacuated out into tripoli. were they in communication with the ones that got to tripoli? >> no. at that point, and this seat tripoli took over communicating. >> you have no other -- embassy tripoli took over communicating. >> they notified us when they got to the hospital. they notify us when they were in route. >> these are your folks. i cannot imagine the emotion of that for you. you had no other connection to know what happened, the details.
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these frantic phone calls, all of these things happening back and forth, they get to tripoli and you are not aware anymore? >> we continue to follow them, but half the team had to be rushed to the hospital and treated. post -- they had just been through a horrific ordeal. >> your detailed account of this is horrific. >> providing them the comfort to just come down from the adrenaline and the horror of what happens, we respected that and we worked through our colleagues at the embassy in tripoli. >> here is my struggle. you are listening in on the command center. they get to tripoli, all kinds of conversations happening back and forth, and state department is testifying five days later
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they did not know what happened. that was a coordinated -- maybe this was some spontaneous event that occurred when there was constant communication happening. did someone come to you and ask you from state, was this a protest? i would assume that the new pretty quickly this was not some protests that went out of bounds. it is not like there is some big group of people and 24 people jumped out and started shooting. there was no gathering. i would assume that you knew that immediately. >> it was not clear. a very large compound and each individual agent was looking at what was happening from a different perspective. >> was it clear that there was not a protest going on? it is not that large of a compliment -- a compound that you cannot see outside the front gates. >> it happened so quickly. >> the anas reports that this
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was some large approach -- the initial reports was that it was some large protest. ambassador kennedy said that is the best we would know even five days later. i find that hard to believe based on your report but you are tracking what is occurring and individuals are reporting that what happened that someone did not say, here is what occurred and award protest never came out of it. >> they were all fighting for their lives on that compound. >> i completely understand that. the testimony seems to be conflicting today. we're getting reports from state that this was the intelligence community that made this report. you were aware of what happened and others around you and folks of the embassy, i cannot of imagine, seven days later, the white house press secretary is still giving the same report.
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there are a lot of other issues i want to talk about, but i am amazed about this dialogue today. i am struggling with the basic facts on this. this is irrelevant to what we will do in the future. i cannot put all these pieces together when i am getting such conflicting stories. >> there were multiple reports coming out. >> were any of the report saying there was a protest? >> there were reports that we received saying there were protests. i will not go any farther than that. and then things evolves. . . period. >> you said you would not go any further. i would only ask why.
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why won't you go any further? >> i do not want to cross certain lines in open session. >> you are testifying there are multiple reports, but you cannot tell us -- >> in open session. >> there is ongoing conversation happening. there is ongoing conversation the next morning in tripoli. i find it difficult five, six, seven days later, the same story is coming out when there was constant communication. it seems like a very difficult story for me to believe. >> if i could, as i said in my opening statement, they were multiple reports. we are trying to wreck -- reconcile the reports. we regard our responsibility to keep the congress informed.
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we came up very early to talk and we still have multiple threads out there. we were not about to precipitously try to reconcile those multiple threads. >> i appreciate that. i do appreciate the two days later, as you call did a terrorist attack. yesterday, in a closed session, ask you for the 50-minute tape that exists that would allow us to see the video feed that was available. he said it was not available. -- you said it was not available. have you been able to make that available? on both sides of this -- we would like to see that 50 minutes of video that was turned over by the government. quickly. >> mr. chairman, i have made it clear to the other government
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entity that has this tape, i have communicated your request to them. since this -- i do not feel i am in a position to make a recommendation about an investigative process. >> i apologize, i only learned about that briefing in order to get there for a few minutes. i want to confirm the fbi is doing the investigation. they do not have custody, and another agency dallas. -- another agency does. >> we were not invited. >> your committee did know about it. >> we were not invited.
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>> i learned about it in a discussion with the secretary of state. there were surprised to see me. i am glad i went there. >> we do not want to do anything to interfere with an ongoing investigation, do we? >> i would like this can need to have the 50-minute tape before the press has it. we should of had it before today. it is not interfering with an investigation. we were told, for example, that when the wall was blown up some months earlier, they did not sit blown up because they did not have the video equipment and it was pointed the wrong way. they did not have enough people to man the top.
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they did not have the people inside. much of that is beyond the scope, but since people told us what assets they did not have, yes, i would like to see what that tape did discover. ms. lamb told us there was somebody monitoring the talks. i would like to see when they began panning them, for example. there is multiple evidence we have not gotten. i want to mention the state department would be clear that they had no objections to us having it. is that right? >> we defer to the law enforcement investigative elements on this matter. >> the fbi told me they do not have it. they do not need it. hopefully, you will stop using law enforcement.
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we now go to the very patient gentleman from tennessee. >> all americans mourn the loss of the four brave americans who died in benghazi. it is important that we put their sacrifice and a tragedy in context. serving america abroad is dangerous. every u.s. veteran knows that freedom is not free. our state department personnel know that, too. sometimes civilians forget. sometimes these terrible incidents -- sometimes we're focused on other things. i would like to read an honor roll of the fallen from a previous time. these men died as victims of terrorists. it was in a different time we
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had a great president, ronald reagan, who was known for his strength on national defense. i was only able to find the data base of the navy and marine victims. there are 56 dead, 46 wounded. a lot of us remember that as a peaceful time. it was not. sam novello, killed by turkish leftist, istanbul, turkey. marines wounded in a terrorist attack in costa rica. one u.s. embassy marine security guard wounded in beirut, lebanon. terrorist bombing of the u.s. and debate -- embassy in beirut, lebanon. lt. cmdr killed by terrorists in
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all salvador. corporal d.r. mo -- killed in a terrorist attack in cyprus. shocked by terrorist near athens, greece. -- shot by terrorists near athens, greece. hospital man wounded beirut, lebanon. michael wagner assigned to the defense office, killed. civil engineer harvey whitaker, killed. builder first-class and four marine security guards when did in the terrorist bombing of u.s. embassy in beirut, lebanon. steelworker, a second class,
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underwater construction team, killed by terrorist, athens, greece. off-duty marines assigned to -- killed by terrorist, armed with automatic weapons at a cafe. 37 killed, five wounded when the uss stark was struck by iraqi missiles. terrorist attack at the u.s. " -- uso club in barcelona, spain. uss samuel roberts struck by an iranian mine in the persian gulf. japanese red army terrorist bombing in naples, italy. loss of an attack helicopter during operations against iranian naval forces. defense and naval attache killed
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by terrorist car bomb, athens, greece. that was just during one administration. a president known for his strong defense policy. we should be thankful for the sacrifices of our men and women abroad. you are in charge of 275 posts around the world. to many americans cannot find this place is on a map much less appreciate the sacrifice and the risks involved of serving in many lawless zones. the dangers are incredible. especially when we can live in comfort here at tom. thank you for your service and sacrifice. >> the chair recognizes the dumb
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and from arizona. >> my family would like to honor the memory of our fellow patriots the lost their lives in this act of violence. the date that will forever be regarded as a day of unity for america. i am going to come back, in an interview, ms. lamb said in may 2012 and betsey tripoli had said -- if are going so great they're willing to give up assets and not ask for replacements, he did not need them. again, the functions that were being used for working slowly filled by local national
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employees. lieutenant would, -- wood, is it true that things were going back great? would you describe the conditions from your personal point of view? >> yes, sir. things in libya always remained difficult and uncertain and could devolve that a moment into further problems can result in loss of life in any minute. sst members were fully integrated with diplomatic security people there and worked through and under all these difficult circumstances. i have a couple of things i'm trying to find. there were numerous incidents of lawless situation, it was pretty much the norm.
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there was assassinations that went on of gaddafi loyalists and back and forth. insurgent activity continued along the border town it trained a lot of the meager resources of the fledgling government to try to put down rebellious and insurgent activity. there was no control of the borders and weapons street -- weapons smuggling in and out of the country. tanks and anti-aircraft guns could be found in the possession of almost anyone anywhere in libya. tribal interest for economy competed with each other resulted in firefights. it was a common occurrence. when i first arrived on the ground in tripoli, i could recognize celebratory gunfire from actual gun fire fights.
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that did die off a little bit, however, we did notice an increase in targeted attacks towards americans. these indicators spelled out that the country was far from secure and the sst was still in need at that location. >> in a document that was produced in late july, and i have the document right here, over 230 events in libya since june of 2011. mr. nordstrom included in this in as part of the general assessment. prior to this attack on our embassy, the red cross and the british consulate moved out of libya. >> yes, sir, that is entirely correct. the british consulate moved out and they had an mou with us to
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leave their vehicles and weapons on our compound and benghazi. they would do their work and then leave. the attack on the international red cross was another attack that also involved us and threats to the compound in benghazi. the price for made on facebook -- the threats were made in facebook. the red cross was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades in early june. when it was attacked the second time, they made their decision they were going to give up and leave. when that occurred, it was apparent to me that where the last flag flying in benghazi. were the last thing on their
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target list to remove from benghazi. i voiced my concerns at the team meeting, although it was a difficult thing, the country team was left with no options to try to change the security profile and benghazi. the resources had been with john, the decision to not renew the sst was a foregone conclusion i urge them to do something to include withdrawal from benghazi. i knew that was possible at -- impossible at the time. >> you were not there on september 11. mr. nordstrom, you were not there on september 11. my understanding, several american successfully got out alive.
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the three armed individuals who represented libyan nationals survived. from your experience, from your training, both of you, what is the marginal difference between everybody getting out to and half or so getting out? the state department has been saying effectively, nothing could have stopped this. this was so overwhelming. what would take? what one more armed agent make a difference? it would to mark, three more? i understand we will never know for sure, but what is the difference between chaos and control in a fire fight? >> superior weapons and superior tactics. that is why the sst brought to
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the table. those are the qualities and attributes and bolstering the fact in this type of environment. when they were on the grounds, those residents qualities were there for the use of the rso. we left, there were no longer available. >> which you agree they did bring nothat? >> in tripoli, i was never concerned that we would be able to repel any sort of assault there. >> thank you. >> with the gentleman from to the ranking --
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member? >> i was hoping that the chairman -- i would gladly wait for that request, sir. >> take what you get. >> i want to go back to something you wrote in your statement in reference to the question that the chairman asked you. i am reading from page 2. having an extra foot of wall or half-dozen cards or agents would not have enabled us to respond to that kind of assault. did you write that? >> yes, i did, and i still believe that. >> thank you. >> i want to say picking up on my friend from tennessee's remarks. i was a young professional staff member in the early 1980's when ronald reagan was in the white
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house. our marine amphibious unit was attacked by a truck bomb at the beirut airport. dozens of young americans were killed. i had just been to beirut on a senate staff study and surely after i returned, at our embassy was bombed -- shortly after i returned, at our embassy was bombed in downtown beirut. it is very serious business. when tragedies occur in a dangerous world, to attempt to exploit it politically, and i know we are not trying to do that here 27 days out from an election. you testified that he had concerns when you approached -- you are with the utah national guard, is that correct? you approach your congressperson without concern -- with those
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concerns? >> i tried to make contact with senator mccain because he made several visits to tripoli. i was unable to give a response from his office. >> what time did you approach your congressperson? >> i sent an e-mail on sunday the september 28. >> a recent me? -- recently. are you aware of the democratic side of the salt made several attempts to try to contact you and to have some opportunity to explore with the the nature of those concerns you share and possibly to understand what you might be testifying today? a common practice, by the way. >> i send the information i was giving would be sure to the whole committee at some point. -- i assumed the information i
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was giving would be sure to the whole committee at some point. >> that is why you did not respond? >> yes. >> you were not encouraged or discouraged from talking to the democratic side of the aisle in preparation for this hearing? >> it was easier for me to talk to one point of contact with everything else i had going on. >> thank you. ambassador kennedy, is there an ongoing investigation into what occurred in benghazi? >> yes, there are two ongoing investigations. what is being conducted by the fbi and another is being conducted by the accountability review board, which is a congressional remanded in process that comes into being after eight tragedy of this nature. >> when do we expect those investigations to be completed? >> i cannot speak to the fbi
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investigation, sir. that is beyond -- i know the secretary has asked the accountability review board to proceed as expeditiously as possible while making sure they are thorough and accurate. >> we're having this hearing as those investigations have not completed their work or provided their findings. >> that is correct. >> if i am understanding, it is hard for me and others to follow what we're trying to get at here. would you agree, mr. nordstrom, that the libya i experienced briefly, i was in libya the same amount of time. i do not know, did he go to benghazi? >> i was not allowed to go. >> key and died both went to tripoli. it seemed -- he and i both went to tripoli. it seemed to many people with
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too many weapons. no matter how many security personnel we might have had in the field, that was a problem at that time. would that be an accurate assessment? >> that was one of our major struggles, trying to figure out who was too. >> inherently unstable as we are trying to transition from gaddafi to something we hope is more democratic and more stable. >> correct. >> ambassador kennedy described it as we're going back and forth about needs assessment. it was your recommendation that the team be extended a third time. your view was, we are trying to graduate from that and we think we have the assets to do that.
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therefore, at that request was not honored because it was felt that it was not needed? or what? >> what we were trying to do is build a state department capacity to replace the personnel we borrow from the department of defense. the sst was great, and we appreciated the assistance, they provided some airport analysis. provided medical capability. the state department replaced it with its own medical capability. they provided communications capability. they also provided a direct security assistance personnel. wonderful colleagues from that unit. we're replacing them by building an inherent state department capability and my colleagues believed we had achieved that balance between what the state department could provide and
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what the military had been providing to us when we were not ready to assume those responsibilities. >> thank you. >> you got that extra 30 seconds. >> you are always generous. >> we go to the gentleman from idaho. >> what of the most difficult jobs i have as a congressman is to call the families of the men and women who lose their lives in service of this country. i take that responsibility very seriously. i am looking right now and i am really confused by some of the statements that you are making. in particular, you say, for example, if any official, including career official, they would have said what ambassador
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rice said. the information she had is the same that i had at that point. can you explain to me how it was that on september 12, you told congressional aides that you believed it was a terrorist attack? >> congressman, i told them it was my personal opinion. i also believed that it was thatuse of the nature of it was a complex attack. >> how can you sit here today -- the following day, you had an idea that it was a terrorist attack. i understand you claim you are not a security expert. how can you claim today that he would've made the same statement -- you would've made
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the same statement? >> the ambassador was asked certain questions about information that she had in her possession. that was the same information i had in my possession. >> you came to a different conclusion. >> no, sir, i did not. >> yes, you dead. he said there were multiple reports. you did not want to specify what those multiple reports were. can you tell us, at least, when those multiple reports came out? >> i would have to go back to refer to notes. >> did they come out the day after the incident? >> i will be glad to get that information. >> you knew you were coming here to testify before congress. there were multiple reports. you cannot tell us when those reports came out? >> as i said earlier, there were
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an evolving series of reports every day since the top of september. >> will the gentleman suspend? >> i want to make it clear. the gentleman is asking a reasonable question. to the best of your ability, we know that seven days after the attack, there were false statements made. he is trying to figure out how many reports continue to come to use seven days, six days, five days. give us your best estimation and we will let you be accurate for the record. >> can you answer that question? >> i am not going to speculate on numbers that i do not firmly in my head. >> can you tell me if there was at least one report before september 16 that contradicted what the intelligence community was telling you? >> i do not remember a report
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that contradicted what the intelligence community was telling us. >> there were several reports. he said there were multiple reports that have different conclusions. >> in response to an earlier question, you are asking me to go into the nature of classified reports and i cannot do that in the session. >> ok. it is pretty clear that you are coming here with information about reports -- i think we will have to have a classified hearing at some point. i have a quick question. given the information that you saw on tv and your knowledge of the situation in libya, did you come to a conclusion as to whether this was a terrorist act or whether it was based on sound film on the internet? >> it was and still be recognizable as a terrorist
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attack -- it was instantly recognizable as a terrorist attack. i almost expected the attack. we were the last flag flying. >> mr. nordstrom? >> the first impression i had was that it was going to be something similar to one of the brigade's we saw there. the brigade that has been named in the press. it was a unit or a group that the personnel and i had talked for quite some time. we were concerned about. that pacific group had been involved in east -- about specific group had been involved in a similar incident at the end of june involving the tunisian consulate in benghazi where they stormed back facility in protest what they claimed was an anti- islamic film. >> thank you very much.
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on september 16, ambassador rice went on tv, at the direction of this administration, she was not there on her own. she told the american people but all of the intelligence information led to only one conclusion. it is clear that intelligence experts, security experts, and even ambassador kennedy, looking at the information that was happening, could have concluded something different. i think that is outrageous and shameful. >> we now go to the gentleman from illinois. >> i want to thank all the witnesses for participating. i also want to commend all the brave men and women who risk their lives on a daily basis by
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serving in these high risk areas. i also extend my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives or were injured during this tragic attack. following the death of gaddafi, libya and its citizens or entered a critical transition period. ambassador stevens once described this as "a time of great excitement as the libyan people first experienced freedom, but also a time of significant trepidation of what might come next. " ambassador stevens obviously it was correct. ambassador kennedy, benghazi was
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the cradle of the revolution. could you explain to us the importance of the diplomatic mission in libya and the special post in benghazi? >> absolutely. benghazi was the cradle of the revolution. there is essentially two major parts of libya, east and west. in order to help the libyans move forward, to take advantage of their new-found freedom and to build a democratic structure, and we wish for any nation to have, we could not hunker down, we cannot stay out. the state department has to go into harm's way. if we're going to advance u.s. national security interest, we cannot retreat. we have to go where the action as. we will take every step we can to mitigate the risk to our
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personnel abroad, but we cannot in those risks. we cannot stay out of the action. we have to go there. because of the importance of benghazi and the development of the new libya, we had to have a forward operating location there and we had to have visits there by ambassador stevens. >> thank you very much. can you describe some of the challenges faced by security officers in analyzing security risks while allowing the diplomatic mission to interact with the local leaders and individuals and still be effective? >> that was one of the tensions that we always hide. we are -- we always had. we understood the need to engage across a wide spectrum of programs. that was one of the main reasons
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we wanted that security resources so that we could deploy sufficient resources to respond when there was a problem. there was not open warfare at all times in libya. generally speaking, we saw a lot of improvements. it was fairly permissive during the daytime. things started to heat up after hours. we had sort of a joke, i saw that it was in the newspaper. in libya, you would be fine until you are not. our problem was if someone found themselves in an issue, we had three officers trapped in the prime minister's building when it was stormed by fighters protesting a pay issue. where we're going to have sufficient people who could respond -- were we going to have sufficient people who could respond and extricate those people? with time and with less resources, we would not have that. one of the frustrating things i
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found early on, i was pleased with the planning to get us into libya. the frustrating thing i found was once the first team started to expire at 60 days, there was a complete and total absence of planning that i saw in terms of what we were supposed to do from that point. when i requested resources, when i requested assets, instead of supporting those assets, i was criticized. somehow it was my responsibility to come up with a plan on the grounds and not the responsibility for ds. i raise that specifically in a meeting with the ds director. >> could i ask for unanimous consent for 50 additional seconds? -- 15 additional seconds?
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could you at -- and to tell us how security risks are evaluated? >> we have a formula we tried to use. it is not a quadratic equation, but we look at the possibility of the government, the threats against us post-government, counterterrorism capability, the physical plant we can muster, the ability to get sufficient local guard capability. we put all that together. in the end, this is an inherently risky operation. we cannot withdraw always to fortresses. we tried to place as we believe we place in libya on the basis of quality and permission we had
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to date -- all the information we had to date, we could a security program in place. that is what we'll call risk mitigation. if we cannot achieve that level of risk mitigation, as we did in damascus or as we have done and other locations, we simply remove or personnel from there because we cannot achieve that level of risk mitigation. >> with that, as a favor to the former chairman, i ask unanimous consent, he had two minutes to speak out of order. >> i will be brief. first of all, you said al qaeda is growing and it is exceeding our goals in libya right now. is that correct?
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>> i would make that assessment. >> mr. nordstrom, you said a another terrorist group loosely affiliated with al qaeda is very active there, too. >> i would not say it was affiliated. it was one of the brigade's which fell under the control of the libyan government. >> it is a terrorist organization. >> and not according to the libyan government. >> what is your assessment? >> we were concerned that it was an extremist organization. >> don't split words. it is a terrorist organization. ms. lamb, there were three mobile security detachments. they were supposedly asked to stay. you are required to make a decision.
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they left and they were not replaced. there were supposed to be back filled by diplomatic security agents. the 16 troops -- you said you were watching in real time. the 16 trips that were replaced or supposed to be replaced were going to be replaced, you said, no. there were going to be in tripoli. they not only worked in tripoli, and when needed, they went down to benghazi. >> they made to-street -- -- 2-3 -- >> they were not there, so they were gone. >> secretary kennedy has stated, the specialized skills they brought when it came originally had been back filled by other parts of the state department. the specialized -- >> but not with u.s. military.
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that is all i need to know. >> would your response -- it looks like you were chomping at the bit. >> i would not agree. a special forces soldier is way above the skill level of a hired local national armed with a pistol. or even the agents on the ground. >> thank you. i think i remember the quote, never take a knife to a gun fight. we go to the gentleman from connecticut. >> i add my gratitude to those members of the diplomatic corps and the military who are putting their lives on the line for this country. my sympathies to the families of those that were lost. mr. chairman, i think you have one of the most important lines
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of questioning about 20 minutes ago when you were inquiring as to what level of security it might have really been necessary to repel this attack. i wanted to pursue that one step forward. >> your characterization is almost exact. i was talking about in order to extricate those who otherwise died. you cannot rappel forever typically that size force. >> i want to expand on that line of questioning. the numbers that we are arguing today, one or two additional security forces, six or seven armed security forces, may not make the difference. you did not have the chance to answer that question. when you look back on this attack and you look at what was requested versus what would be necessary to either fully
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extricate everyone or to fully repel an attack such as this, you think there is any amount of reasonable numbers that could have been present on the ground there today at the time that would have prevented this attack and this tragedy? >> i am hesitant to speculate on specific numbers. i think it goes without saying that having more resources on the ground is generally not something you will turn down in a firefight. i would rather have more guns, more special forces, more soldiers to have combat experience have more armed agents on the ground. the more of those you can bring to bear, the outcome is going to tip in your favor. >> a similar question to the ambassador. we shudder at the notion at an attack like this could happen in the future, that this
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exceptional event in which 120 attackers armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades could pose a threat to an installation. what is our position on trying to equip our outposts on the kind of armor in staffing necessary to repel an attack of this size? is that possible and does this attack reef frame your position and our country's position in the terms of the resources we give our outposts? >> we are never going to be able to achieve a defense of an american facility abroad. that level of lethality with internally generated resources, what we try to do and we have done it in many places around the world and we are still
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constructing more and more, we construct new embassies and build into those new embassy's physical protections we hope will permit our personal who will withdraw into that building with the capability to wait until the host government as he has been required to do under the vienna convention and diplomatic law responds. but a attack -- an attack of that kind of lethality, we are never going to have enough guns. very diplomatic service, we have some of the finest law enforcement professionals in the world, but we are not an armed camp ready to fight it out as the u.s. military does. >> what have we learned and what has potentially changed if we
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cannot repel this kind of lethal attack? are there changes you can share with us as to how we protect our installations above? >> the accountability review board is going to judge whether our security there was adequate for the information available to us, whether we implemented it correctly, and whether or not there are lessons learned. >> they will make recommendations? >> yes. >> thank you. we know there are some members to have flights to catch. if anyone needs to go first, please inform the chair and we will reserve the right to take people out of order. for now, we get to the gentleman from pennsylvania. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. nordstrom, you may comment
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-- complete and total absence of planning. you were brought to the country, part of the team that was in place to be responsive and provide security. one of three teams of 16 people associated with the department of defense not coming from the budget, but nonetheless providing, and i see a tale of two cities. while you have that kind of force early on in the process, notwithstanding your request, continuously, that group has worked down from three teams to finally one team toward the end instead of 16. your final request in which it is eight. at the same time, we see a worsening of the circumstances. this is a draft from february of the month. overall security positions
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continue to be unpredictable. large armed groups not under the control of the central government continue -- the security to support teams was central to providing static security in the absence of a local guard force. we saw a litany of issues, and ied thrown into the outpost, a second one -- we have received a litany. was there that capacity to be able to provide the kind of security you thought was necessary while things continue to get worse? >> yes. i thought that was the genius behind the design and construct. it brought all the elements of government power together for the embassy, the diplomatic, informational, it gave them the
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military side of that governmental power we could project abroad and gave them the expertise of some of the finest quality soldiers in the world and the backup resources they could tap into. to provide them with the intelligence and capabilities, why they would turn that asset down is best answered by themselves. >> let me ask you about the process called normalization. there was an effort to transition from people who were trained here by the united states, our soldiers, who were in a country into a transition to trained locals, largely libyans. there was a posting that would be put out where they ask for people to apply for those positions. you were there. part of your responsibility was to train those locals to be
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able to do the work from your professional opinion -- where -- were a sufficient number trained to provide the kind of security that should have been necessary in the circumstances? >> buthe individuals we trained were local libyans. the sst participated in training some of those individuals, but the caliber and quality was subject. i can see where they're dealing with numbers on this end of the table, adding up numbers on a piece of paper. i think it reflects in this description of the benghazi compound not being accurate and the fact that the security that was there had to sleep with their weapons, with secured
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communications. they did not have the complete understanding of how difficult it was or failed to recognize that. >> your response that there needs to be something where these professionals are replaced by locals who are not sufficiently trained to do the work? >> this is the same model we used and it has been very successful. >> did you take any time to listen to the reports coming up during the time the events were getting worse? not the same model, but was there specific attention paid to the events in country? >> yes. at the same time, post reduced their travel policy. instead of moving with full motorcades, bailout personnel to go out with an embassy driver and hard car. the positions being filled by this team and by our team members had been reduced.
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they were using a quick reaction force that was available for multiple people to be moving with drivers and it reduced the numbers that were needed at post. when asked to do a function earlier in his testimony today, erik nordstrom cited the fact that he had requested 12 armed, plus six more. in essence, we worked out with his desk officer, they outlined a program that he needed 21 armed security personnel. we made a commitment from washington that we would provide him with 23. it has not dropped below that number since that commitment was made. >> mask 1 additional question? >> briefly. >> ambassador kennedy, reports have been made, public report in which it has been stated that the imprisoned brigade -- this
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was on cnn -- is believed to have been one of the group's suspected of carrying out these terrorist attacks? cnn has reported that. are you aware of any determination that this point in time in which there has been any discussions within the state department for the potential transfer or release of the blind sheik from american security? >> i am unaware of any such discussions. >> at the state department, this was in september, the state department said the topic had not come recently from any senior officials and egyptian authorities. no discussions, whatsoever, that involve the state department that involve the transfer or release of the blind sheik from incarceration? >> that is correct. i am unaware of any such discussion. >> are you prepared on behalf of
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the state department to make an unequivocal statement that there will not be a release of the blind sheik? >> i'm not going to appear to avoid that question, but i am the under secretary of state for management. i have a series of responsibilities and that is a question i will be glad to take for the record to get a complete state department position for you. >> thank you. you are trying to enter the previous question? >> i would like to make a couple of points. it was a mess -- it was mentioned we shifted to a lighter security profile. that was done in march because we had 18 ds agent and we were told was going to move to 12. three teams down to two. there was an emergency action cable dated in march that
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specifically references that. if i recall, the tone of that was since we had no choice, we have no other options but to move to a model moving from man- to-man defense to a zone defense. i think that is an important point to make. the other. that was made earlier about the reduction of sst by six persons, that is something colonel wood could back me up on. they did not leave country. those six sst were on a compound, could provide internal defense support. what they were doing was involved in training and liaison with libyan special forces. why were we doing that? as i testified before, we have no ability to call upon a host nation, forcing the event we
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were attacked. the conclusion was one such force we might be able to count on. we saw that very much as bolstering our internal defense and footprint. >> we placed in front of you something a different whistle blower gave us. is that the document you were referring to? from march 28? >> this is a specific one in terms of a follow-up for support. there was an earlier document in march where we adjusted our movement transportation because we simply would not have the bodies to provide a security agent in each vehicle. >> thank you. i request that earlier document be taken to help and delivered to us. would you do that? >> i will take that request, yes, sir. >> i am asking you now.
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>> mr. chairman, i have not had a chance to review the document. i have not -- >> wait a second. you cannot tell us you were going to allow the documents that you have in camera review of. i will enter into the record the march 282012 and specify the earlier document is being withheld by the state department. hopefully you will reconsider so it can be put in the record. >> i did not say i was denying it. i'm simply saying that since i have -- >> would you put the document in front of the ambassador, please? would you put that in front of the ambassadors of he could see it in camera?
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you will have to remove it, it is an unclassified document, said the ambassador can see it. with that, with the staff make sure this one is being distributed while we are seeing whether we can get the other one? it has been distributed. not wanting to delay this any further, we will come back to this. with that, we go to the gentleman from pennsylvania for five minutes. thank you for your patience. >> thank you for all of you being here today. the question is not about patriotism and heroics of the people lost their lives that day. it is what can we do to prevent that from happening again? i am surprised. i come from western pennsylvania and people look at things in a different fashion. when i'm not down here amid all these brain-dead intelligence and you get home and talk to people, if i were to say to you,
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what is 9/11 mean to you? >> this last 9/11? >> it an attack upon the united states of america. >> the same. >> absolutely. >> if you can connect the dots right here, why in the heck it take so long or all of these highly briefed and intelligent people -- intelligent people to figure out it wasn't a 15 minute youtube video? it was a 9/11 event, a terrorist attack? i don't know about this stuff what is classified and unclassified -- i sat in a members only briefing on the september 20 of with secretary clinton and some other personnel. is that something we are not allowed to talk about? by if it was in a classified setting, the only thing i think
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is appropriate in any inconsistencies you seen in testimony today, you could relate otherwise the specifics, i could not get it. >> it all comes down to what caused this. i read your testimony and i think it would be horrible to watch in real time what was going on. i read another account from that same night -- this is about the ambassador. at 8:30 p.m., he said good night to a visiting turkish diplomat outside the compound and the streets were empty. but at 9:40, noises, gunfire and explosions were heard in the building. it is absolutely preposterous to me that we would watch ambassador rife go out and say five days later that i would sit in a briefing -- you have it all wrong. this is the results of the 15-
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minute youtube. we are either in the nile and i know other members are concerned because i have to tell you is very unfortunate that terrorists don't recognize this is an election year and they tend to do with a want to do it anytime they want. when they have a weakened position around the world, and we leave our people as unprotected as we do and say this is terrible because this is 27 days before an election, why are we bringing it up now? i asked the same question. where the heck were we before this 9/11? why weren't we questioning it then? my goodness. between then and 2012. two of which took place at the scene and we are still saying i think it's the result of the video on youtube? this is based on intelligence.
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you say you couldn't possibly have had a different idea about it than secretary rice did when she went before the nation on september 16. i'm going to tell you, this thing smells. it waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. for you to come in here and say it was based on some of the things i knew but i can't tell you all that i knew -- we have four americans dead. i have to tell you, it's very upsetting for me to go back home and look at those people and i, people who don't do what we do here with all the briefings and intelligence, just guys to go out every day and come home and they can figure out what we are still trying to figure out and pieced together and you watched it in real time? the ambassador said goodbye to a turkish friend and everything was quiet. my goodness. they got ahold of that video between 8:00 27:40 and decided to go crazy and africa is on
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fire? thank you for pointing out as mr. romney did that hope is not a strategy. i feel sorry for you and lieutenant-colonel would to have to come here because you are on the ground. you are not watching in some faraway room in real time. your people are there in real time. colleagues beour killed. the question doesn't become what is it that we didn't know? it is because we have become lax. we have done down. by the way, i know it's about the money, although i saw a list of things that were able to do. did you know the embassy in vienna in early may, we did a beautiful presentation of the embassy going green. spent $110,000 on an electrical thing to plug the cars and. we had 100 people and worshiping -- were sipping
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champagne and my goodness. september 11, we had a tough day. a couple of bombs in the road. >> thank you. >> i have to say i know i'm going over, but the people of america should be outraged to have to sit here and listen to what we're saying and say what are we doing to protect the other embassies? they are true patriots. but you know what they rely on? the state department for their security, and we let them down. >> there was no question, ambassador. i perceived no question. with that, we go to the gentleman from florida for 5 minutes. >> mr. nordstrom, earlier in your testimony, you were discussing your recollection of the conversation you had with two agents regarding the denial of the extension of the -- it is your understanding you are not to request an extension?
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what is correct. >> who was on the other end of the line? >> i was on the telephone with mrs. lamb. -- >> she did tell you that? >> that's right. >> just the other day in an interview with committee indicated on your july 9, requesting security personnel, you did not formally request an extension. you just made a recommendation. can you explain the difference between a recommendation and request? i felt that was a clear request for resources. >> have you done it before with the idea that it was a request? >> i believe it was titled request. >> and it was a denial of that extension? >> we never actually received a response. >> correct. >> did you see any further
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effort to follow or make a re- request. >> i believe that was prior to sending in the cable. instead of specifically asking for amnesty or whatever, we said give us the 13 bodies, where you come from, and that's the way we crafted the cable. >> you testified that you trusted your rso's in the field. how you justify that saying he would not support an extension? >> the cable indicated any of the credit -- >> any -- before any of the cable was a phone conversation. >> correct. >> he would not supported at that time. >> we had department of state
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security assets that could do the same functions. >> that was explained to him as well? >> yes. >> lieutenant colonel wood, i understand your this senior officer. >> yes. >> do you have any reason to believe if you had to go up your command for a request from the state department that they extend the tour of duty, that your chain of command would not grant that? >> the general was fully supportive of extending the sst as long as they needed it. >> their resources were available? >> absolutely. >> have they been there, it would have made a difference? >> they made a difference when i was there. they were a deterrent effect. >> ambassador kennedy, everybody has been beating this and i understand this, but i want to
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reconcile in my own mind. we have the official statement from the state department that this protest, this attack was the result of a video that was controversial, yet the next day, the president of libya says it was not as a result of a controversial and video. in fact, he had no doubt it was an act of terrorism. my question is, is the libyan intelligence so superior that they knew within 24 hours it was a terrorist attack and within six days, we're saying it's the result of a video? take the liberty here and correct one. if i might. you asked the colonel if his team would have made different -- >> the death gentleman from florida controls the time for the questions he wishes to ask. >> the intelligence between the libyans and americans was just not the same. if they were more superior, and
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you testified just earlier that you were gathering information, that's why you didn't say it was a terrorist attack, then why in the world did you say it was anything at all when you put j kearney out there and ambassador rise to say this was an inflammatory reaction to a controversial film? it begs the question -- what happened was a result of political pressure crumping professional protocol. was it not? >> i have been a career foreign service officer for 39 years. i have served every president since richard nixon. i have directly served six secretaries of state, democratic and republican. on my honor, no, none political pressure was applied to me in this case by anyone in the state
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department, at the national security council, or the white house. >> it was a professional protocol malpractice. >> we now go to the gentleman from south carolina. >> thank you. for almost a year, there was an escalating pattern of violent. attacks on the conflict in benghazi, attacks and assassination attempts on the british ambassador, a tax on the red cross, judges assassinated, -- a tax on the red cross, and the murder of four americans, including our ambassador to libya. just a few weeks before that, our embassy in libya said this to the department of state -- the security condition in libya remains unpredictable, volatile, and violet. mr. chairman, despite what would appear to any reasonably objective observer as an escalating pattern of violence,
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including sophistication, coordination, and management, this administration blamed the murder of our ambassador and three others on a video. don't take my word for it, let's look at what ambassador rice herself said -- our current assessment is that what happened in benghazi was "in fact, initially a spontaneous reaction." i don't know what the phrase "in fact" means in diplomatically please put in a courtroom, it means it's a fact. she went on national television and said not as this ambassador has said, i have to speculate and i to get all the information. she said it "in fact." this was a spontaneous reaction to what transpired, almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facility in cairo.
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then she proceeded to say the attack was spontaneous. i can think of few things more and the medical and a 12-month long prologue of violence in libya. then she said she relied solely and squarely on the information the intelligence community provided. i would like to have another hearing where we can ask ambassador rights under oath who told you what, when. you are going to blame the intelligence committee, come before the committee and tell us and told you it was the video. who in the intelligence community said it? who in the diplomatic community blame this on a video? then we move to jay carney, the spokesperson for the free world. based on information, our initial information that includes all information, we saw no evidence to back up claims by others that this was a preplanned or premeditated attack.
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what we saw was evidence it was sparked by the reaction to this video. that's what we know thus far based on evidence, concrete evidence. you know in a former life, i spent all time in the courtroom. when i hear the phrase concrete evidence, it means something to me. that's stronger language and saying something is "in fact." to representatives of this administration gave demonstrably false statements, not just to us, but our fellow citizens on national television. as the explanation for the is demonstrably false statements, as my colleague from florida just ask, was it negligent? was it a reckless disregard for the truth? or was it more nefarious than that? the american people are reasonable. people understand investigations take time.
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what they will not forgive is being misled. we want our questions answered and i want them answered by the people who went out before the american people and fought to mislead them by blaming this on a video when there is no evidence, concrete or otherwise, to support the assertions made by this administration. i just had a conversation out back. he still get emotional talking about what he saw in libya. there were four brave americans who died under circumstances we can scarcely fathom. the terror, the fear, the anarchy of being killed in that fashion. they did what their country ask them to do. they stood under dangerous circumstances even after request
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for security were denied. they stood there post. the least we can do is stand this meter post we have been assigned and the man this administration speak the truth to the people is supposed to serve. this was never about a video. this was never spontaneous, this is terror. i want to know why we were lied to. i yield back. >> as an officer of the court, i'm looking at the transcript from the date, and i will read it, if you want. oneme see your and accuse of our fellow citizens and secretary rice of lying, that's a very serious statement. i'm very concerned about that because he made it clear over and over again he was dealing -- she was dealing with the information she had at that moment. i looked at every single
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interview and i think we ought to be very careful, just as the gentleman talks about he wants the truth to come forward, i would be happy to have mrs. rice come up here, but we have to be careful, a distinguished attorney, and she made it in the attic, this is the information i have at this moment. >> i appreciate the gentleman's comment and i would inform the committee that the ranking member and i will be requesting a classified interview at the earliest possible date, perhaps as early as next week, similar to the one ambassador kennedy was in yesterday. i will inform both sides as soon as that has been granted. additionally, it is our intention to follow how one week after this people would say with certainty is true that we now know not to be true. i appreciate the ranking members statement. and i think the gentleman from
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south carolina. we now go to the ever patient senior member -- i'm sorry -- we get to the equally patient member from texas. >> i'm not sure my wife would agree with you on patients. >> she is more patient than you. we have mattered. >> we have a list of four brave americans who gave their lives for this country. ambassador stevens and three others. and i think my colleague did on the head. at best, this is negligence. we have an ongoing pattern of request for more help and it's not going up the chain of command. how many more people are going to have to add to this list? that is what i want to pursue in this line of questioning. i will start with ambassador kennedy. are there other indices, other state department outpost's asking for more help because of
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volatile situations that are not getting it? >> in volatile locations, no, sir. our sources need to confer with post management because it is a matter of bed space and logistical issues and the request and justification for what these personal will do. have granted if we don't permanent assignment to -- it is granted. if we don't have agents, -- >> it's not that you don't have the money to do this? >> it is a volatile situation. we will move assets to cover that. >> did you consider a libyan to be a volatile situation? >> absolutely. the desk officer sent e-mail and came to an agreement. we were trying to get eight clearly defined assessments on
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exactly what they needed out there. >> how long does this have to get tied up in bureaucratic red tape? this sounds like we are on fire company firemen do we send? let's just send some. >> we did provide everything he asked for. >> do you what my response to that? the answer is we did provide resources and at the point of clarification, following on your question, there has been a large discussion about the sst team. that was a tripoli team. >> i want to give to mr. nordstrom. do you think it was on fire and you communicated that urgently up the chain of command? >> i think my cables stand as they are in terms of addressing the assertion. there was not a specific or detailed list.
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members who are here can see it is more than detailed. i also have a number of memorandums that went back as far as february detailing not just the numbers we need it, but the specific hours they would be working and -- >> and yet you did not get them. >> the question to be asked is, and again this was asserted after my july 9 cable, the plan was to source our security needs from the department state rather than the department of defense. >> -- >> for those resources ever provided? i think the answer is no. >> do you have anything to add, lieutenant colonel wood? >> no. the realize you don't have level of information that mrs. lamb and ambassador kennedy have. but having been in the biz, are
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there other state department facilities similar to we had in libya that are at risk today? >> its my impression that a cookie cutter approach or some sort of plan was being applied. that's what we felt in the field as we tried to work this situation. certainly libya met none of those requirements. >> historically, it has been the marines that protect our embassy. i need to. no further than iraq and the huge amount of money we're spending to protect our embassy with contractors went for political reasons or whatever, we are not putting marines in. is that a good idea, that we are not relying on the marines? >> i think there is a place for it. i think each location will present you with a different situation that needs to be
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looked at on its own merits. >> as we had the arab spring coming and the freedom and democracy coming to these arab states, we have got to be aware that sometimes there are going to be times to transition when countries are not stable. there may be election results we don't like when people who don't like us are elected. we need to take this as a lesson to project more strength of this doesn't happen. in times, it can change in a matter of hours. i see i am out of time. >> thank you. with that, we're going to are very patient invited members of congress, starting with the senior member of the foreign affairs committee, mr. rocker. -- mr. rohrbacker.
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>> as the chairman of the said committee of foreign affairs, i appreciate you taking the lead in making sure we are deeply getting in the to an issue of importance to the american people. it has been suggested the budget cuts are responsible for lack of security in benghazi, and i would like to ask mrs. lamb, you made this decision personally, was there any budget consideration and lack of budget that led you not to increase the number of people in the security force there? >> no, sir. >> that's all i needed. wewasn't a lack of money, as have heard by some people trying to suggest that. was it a lack of intelligence? was this a failure of intelligence or lack of confidence or is this just something that will happen no matter how we try or how competent we are -- how, but and
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we are, we're going to lose lives? >> this was an unprecedented attack in size and ferocity. in the words of erik nordstrom. as long as we have the need to be outside the wire in these volatile countries, we can't -- >> let me just note that i do not believe that is the case. i think you honestly believe that. there are other factors involved here that make as vulnerable are not vulnerable to these types of evil forces in the world. i know we have touched on these issues of preparedness and the bureaucratic things people go through to make sure we don't have this type of suffering and loss of life. i would like to focus on not the bureaucrats planning and what could have been done and not
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done. we heard the list of names of those killed from the reagan administration who were killed by terrorists. i worked in that reagan administration and i can tell you not once with all of it -- when all these americans were being killed, did the administration in any way try to excuse or in any way, these murderous attacks, as some sort of spontaneous outrage due to something the administration had done or an american citizen had done. big difference. we are talking about a mind set that may encourage evil forces in the world to kill americans. this administration has been bowling and scraping to try to prove its sincerity and friendship seeking to the islamic world since day one. it has projected not strength, but weakness and has demoralized
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our friends and emboldened our enemies, which perhaps has something to do with people who took a long time to plan out this kind of attack. this mind-set might be seen in a psychological minimizing as -- psychological minimizing of the threat of islam in general and maybe even specific situations. this mind-set might be seen in situations like this when we are trying to come to the realization of what happened in a horrific terrorist attack on our people. for example, there is a mind-set that might lead people who are here testifying to not even use the word terrorism. we're talking about a terrorist attack that murdered our ambassador that not your fault, but there's a mind set somewhere that says the word terrorism doesn't come into your testimony. i would also suggest that
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mindset may be when people jump to the conclusion because it is an easy conclusion to blame a filmmaker and let terrorists off the hook for responsibility for these terrorist acts. that mind-set of minimizing the threat of terrorism and blaming it on a f, freedom of speech in america, we permit a film that created outrage overseas instead of putting the blame where it belongs. that is where the testimony from mr. kennedy comes in. mr. kennedy, we need to understand that whole scenario after this event to understand the mindset that might be at play here. we need to understand the scenario of what happened. six days afterwards, we know the american people were given false information about who is responsible. you are here today and you are unable to give us that you of
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how that came about and the fact is, as far as this member of congress is concerned, you are engaged in stonewalling or a cover, or whenever it. let me ask you flat out, did anybody tell you not to answer this question? >> absolutely no one. >> you have taken it upon yourself, taking what is a simple scenario -- when did you first know about this -- what did you know and when did you know about it? but you are not able to give us that answer. >> if i could answer -- let me exactly what susan rice said -- our current assessment, based on the information we have at present, is that in fact, what this began as was spontaneous, not premeditated. she said based on our current
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assessment. >> the retort to that is we're not just talking about her one statement. if you noticed, this innuendo and this blame for the time a immediately after, we all heard about it. it was the film. the secretary of state used the words "the film." it's not just one speech you are talking about which you may or may not be correct. we need to get to the heart of the matter. >> thank you. but we now go to the gentle lady from florida who is extremely familiar with law-enforcement and how it works. >> thank you for allowing me to sit here today. ms. lam, i am a former and of course -- i of a former law enforcement officer, so i'm going to go along that line. we tend to listen very intently
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and are trained to do so, so i believe you will understand some of the questions i'm going to ask you. mr. burton asked you at your sole discretion to deny the extra manpower, yes or no? yours will discretion, was that your sole discretion to deny the request to mr. notes from customer >> -- mr. nordstrom? >> >> it was approved by who? >> the director of diplomatic security and the assistant secretary. >> names, please. >> [indiscernible] >> i recognize there are certain dates law-enforcement prepares for because we believe they are significant to certain groups. one of which is september 11. it is significant to which
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group? which group would make that significant? >> i'm not sure i follow your -- >> which terrorist group finds september 11 significant? >> i'm sure all terrorist groups. >> but mostly al qaeda, would you not agree? yes or no? if you don't agree, say you don't agree. >> yes, i'm sure. >> we have requests, over 230 clear incidents, we have bombings that have entered our compound, yet multiple requests, over 230 clear incident, violence erupting everywhere around, and you in your agency deny security personnel that they have requested and been, on september 11, which is known to be one of those dates that all
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law enforcement and many people run world look at, and i'm sure you hope -- i'm sure you helped her out, why is it that after all of that, we have our ambassador to the un to go to the talk shows on sunday after work and many other people from your agency, even here today that say with the information that we had. why is it they said it was a film? when everything, all my law enforcement training taught me that it was pointing quite differently? can you answer me, did you believe, you, on a september 11, and the morning after, did you believe it was a video? and not a terrorist attack?
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yes -- >> with 35 years of experience, i choose to wait until the investigation is complete before drawing a conclusion. >> that's good because at the other thing i want to draw -- i want to ask about. with my investigative experience, i know the follow the lead very carefully and you don't go out and don't claim one thing until you do have the facts. on september 14, your agency said we have an open fbi investigation on the death of these four americans. we are not going to be in a position to talk about that and they may or may not be learning about how that happened. not who they are, how they happened, not what happened to ambassador stevens, not any of it until the justice department is ready to talk about the investigation. you did talk about it yesterday,
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said the department just to say they are ready to talk about it and you can go ahead and give up that information? >> we did -- >> i am asking mrs. lamb. did the department justice say you could release this information? >> no. >> three days after the attack, you said you would not release it and -- >> the fbi has cleared everything we have said here today. >> and yesterday also? >> i was not in the briefing yesterday. >> yesterday also? >> the material we used yesterday was drawn from the same pool the fbi cleared. >> the department of justice that it's ok to release that information? >> we presented in a closed
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session to the congress. >> is the gentle lady referring to the press? your press conference, i sort of stated a lot of things categorically except -- for everybody except for fox. >> i think this right -- i think the distinction i would draw is there is a difference between the investigation to her -- into the perpetrators were and a rendition of the fact that we now know ran out. there is the timeline and there is the cause. that's a distinct and i am humbly making. >> your spokesperson said you would not -- who they are, who they were, not how they happened, not any of it until the justice department is ready to talk. is the justice department ready to talk on this? >> the justice department is certainly not ready to talk about the first to --
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>> the gentle lady boss time is expired. i don't think you're going to get an answer from the gentleman on that subject but i appreciate your effort. the chair will inform everybody we're not terribly interested in a second round. i'm going to ask a couple of very quick clarifying questions and and if anybody has a burning desire, they may, otherwise we will conclude. everyone has been very generous with their time. it really boils down to there was a statement that has not uncovered any further, ambassador kennedy, that the aircraft that was available is taken away because "commercial airlines capacity was created", correct? >> correct. >> why are there five fixed-wing aircraft, at least one of them very big, and 35 helicopters in iraq even though they have commercial aircraft? >> there is no safe commercial air service available within iraq. there is a commercial air service available to and from
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libya, sir. >> libya is safe, iraq isn't? >> in terms of air service. specifically to move people in and out of the country. but i just want to make that clear. -- >> i is want to make that clear. i'm not trying to unreasonable use a prop. but i used it in an earlier hearing. everyone who goes to iraq gets one of these. this is from a brigade size force of diplomatic security personnel. it looks better this way. have any of you seen this in iraq? >> i have never seen that. >> it has been told that between 8100 diplomatic personnel have been working iraq in the last year, is that roughly right? -- between 80 and 100. iraq, a new place for a boar is to be over and say, has 6000
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contract personnel, 16,000 government employees -- over and safe. but you could not spare six more for libya? is that correct? or you didn't see a need for them? >> i'm not sure where the number six is coming from? >> that was the difference between to cruise and three crews. it would have been a difference of similar numbers had to back filled with military personnel who were available and offered to you by the general. >> eric nordstrom and the desk officer agreed on a number. we agree on a number. if he needed six -- >> you are saying you don't agree on number. the number available on september 11 is not consistent with what you thought was the need when your last in country, correct? >> whether or not the numbers are agreed upon, when i left,
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we did not have the 12 numbers that were agreed upon. >> thank you very much. i want to thank all the witnesses -- i will close at this point. i recognize the ranking member. >> just following up on what the chairman just talked about, ambassador, what is the budget for iraq -- just an estimation? >> i think the budget is close to $800 million, right. >> what about libya? >> much smaller than that. i did not bring that exact number with me. >> mrs. lamb, you have been in -- i have listened to the description he gave and -- of what happened, and some the asked the question a moment
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ago, basically why you made the decisions that he did make. i have to ask you -- i'm assuming you're always concerned about the safety of the folks there, right? >> absolutely. >> i assume you use your best judgment trying to make this decision -- try to make those decisions. >> absolutely. we send an e-mail to post right after the last team left, offering to leave them there to continue training even though they did not have the full complement for another class of armed bodyguards. basically, we gave post 2 options. if they needed them, they could keep them there and we would be happy to train a lesser class. we also gave the option we could come back a month later and train a full class. post chose to allow a team to
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come back at a later date. these are assets that would have been on the ground there as well. >> the reason why i'm asking these questions because i'm just trying to put myself in your place. right now. the implications that you are either incompetent, that you didn't give a damn, or you're some kind of scrooge, and i don't think you are any of those. i just -- i'm just giving an opportunity to respond to that. >> sir, we do have limited resources and it is very important that we have our regional security offices in coordination with their emergency action committees at post and with their ambassadors clearly laid out and articulate exactly what they need and why they need it.
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erik nordstrom did a fantastic job. he had a very difficult job as the first rso going in there. putting pen to paper and sitting down in coordinating a transition exit strategy, especially for the sst is a very difficult. we engage him on a regular basis to try to come up with an exit strategy we could all agree upon and to move on to a gradually. every time the security division left, there were three, before each one left, they spoke with rso nordstrom and the ambassador at post and reviewed everything they have accomplished and what the post needs were going forward. they got permission to leave before they left post. >> are you satisfied with your decisions? >> i made the best decisions i could with the information i had. >> thank you very much. >> thank you.
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mr. kelly, you want to make a brief statement? >> i do. thank you. i know there is incredible pressure put on you, but you are part of the executive branch, not so much the two officers, but there is a time -- these things come at a bad time and people talk about being 27 days before the election, but sometimes you have to worry about running the country more than reelection in you have to make a decision and yet to make sure the staff you have on board is somebody you can rely on all the time. these folks have to rely on you to make the decision. it does come from the executive branch. if you look at the organizational chart, the secretary of state has a great deal of responsibility. we lost four american lives. we have to ask these types of questions. what did we learn from the losses?
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if we do have people out there in harm's way, are we protecting them the way we should? they put their lives on the line. it is priorities that count. how do you prioritize those? i have to tell you, i have watched this thing since september 11. i am trying to understand why in the world we will continue to try to find out who to blame. there is a group of people in the world and were really bad people. we put our people in harm's way. do we do the best job we could to protect them? they put their lives on the line. after, what has happened in benghazi, why did we learn from that? there is not a crime scene that has been more contaminated than
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that one. it has been a long day for all of us. for those four americans and their families, it is a much longer day. i do appreciate you being here. as elected officials, we have a commitment to do what week -- when we took our oath of office. we better start to be able to look at this and place emphasis on where it needs to be. >> thank you, mr. jordan. >> i will be brief. we had 230 to security incidents in libya. when the 231st happened, the administration blamed it on the video. we had two guys on the ground to repeatedly asked for additional personnel and are denied. denied by people who have never
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been to the country. there is a process in place or professionals come together and make assessments and decisions about what the field is requesting. earlier, he said factors that you look at. i did not get all of them listed. stability of the government, threats, and facility concerns. in those three, there was nothing in libya that would say, they should not get what they're asking for. it is a transitional government. threats against us, we had 230. facility concerns, you have admitted that the facility was not up to coach. it seems to me that -- up to code. ok to give it have to u the guys on the ground, to get
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the additional security personnel? 232? 250? a government that had been in power eight months, not five months? to do what the professionals in the field of felt what needed to be done? we will start with you, ambassador. >> we do assessments every day of security around the world. we've looked at every location. 4 incidents.3 only 20% or in benghazi. the rest of them were in tripoli or elsewhere. there had not been a single incident in benghazi. there was not ever us single incident in benghazi of the
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lethality or the nature of the armed attack, which is almost unprecedented. therefore, we were very careful, we cannot and the risk to our people overseas. the state department must go into harm's way. we attempt to mitigate that level of threat. if we cannot make a level of threats, and we will withdraw our people. >> the british ambassador -- our embassy was bombed twice. what does it take? these are the professionals in the field who say, we need more security personnel in libya. this is for libya. the whole country. you guys say no.
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you allude to in your testimony this process of considered judgments of can it -- of professionals in washington. i want to know what those considered judgments -- what does it take? >> it is what i said, mr. jordan. there was not any actionable intelligence. >> are these guys professionals? these guys said they needed more help. >> if i could finish my statement, sir. >> there was no actionable intelligence available that indicated there was a plan or any indication of a massive
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attack of the nature and lethality. there was a single rocket propelled grenade fired at the red cross. there was an attack on the british compound. we analyzed those things. the french and italians and the united nations lifted that same threats -- >> mr. nordstrom, do you think there were ever going to give you what you wanted? what would warrant them saying, these guys know what they're talking about? >> thank you for asking that question. i had that conversation when i came back on leave for training in february. i was told by the regional director that there had only been one incident involving an american where he was struck by celebratory fire. the take away from that, for me
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and my staff, it was abundantly clear, we would not going to get resources until the aftermath of an incident. the question that we would ask, again, how often does the eyes have to get it before someone falls through? -- thin does the ice have to get it before someone falls through? >> not only do we have an individual struck by a bullet, but we also had individual members who had a shooting incident before returning to our duties. it was an attempted carjacking and there were shots fired going both ways. >> lieutenant-colonel were you pulling your hair out? were you just flabbergasted? what can we do? what can we say?
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what else can we do? it was that your sense an attitude when you got the answers from washington? >> he contacted me when i asked for 12 agents. his response to that was, you are asking for the sun, moon, stars. my response to him, at the know what makes this the most frustrating? not the hardships, not the gun fire, it is dealing and fighting against the people, programs and personnel who are supposed to be supporting me. for me, the taliban is on the inside of the building. >> i want to thank our witnesses. >> i want to thank all of our
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witnesses. in the case of lt. colonel wood and mr. nordstrom, is this the result proceed or actual of your testimony here today, you are approached or anything happens in your professional lives with the united states government that you have any questions about, please come to this committee. we take the work of whistle- blowers and people who give testimony very seriously. you have been critical to bring out things which would not have -- which would not have come out to. i will close with two comments. he did not produce security at the same time as you are increasing hazardous duty pay. it does not make sense. i have not heard that question asked and answered. i only heard that it occurred. i think the state department to take away from today and
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understanding that that sends a message that says, we will pay you for the risk. we will not pay to have you made safer. that is the impression that anyone would get if you reduce the staffing below recommendations or request an increase the pay. i do not think the men and women who service overseas want. i know the compensation for hardship is important, but safety comes first. i have the marine fellow who works for me. the united states military generously it delivers people for other branches before their names and return, those individuals come away understanding and more able to do a variety of jobs. your time, working with the state department is invaluable as you continue your career. whether you were talking to your
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national guard commanders or others, we do appreciate the fact that our men and women have varied careers and which they can assist others with assets that would not be available and take that back to their units. i want to thank you for your service and use you as a conduit for so many men and women who have added to what otherwise would not be there in the way of security and protection. with that, we stand adjourned. >> the house oversight committee holding the first congressional hearing looking at the diplomatic security situation in benghazi, libya, prior to the september 11 attack that left ambassador christopher stevens and three other americans dead. if four-hour plus hearing on capitol hearing -- on capitol
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hill. this hearing going over four hours. we're opening up our phone lines to find out your thoughts. the security situation in libya of. for republicans, that number is 202-585-3885. television when you call so you will not feedback. we're keeping an eye on twitter and comments using the hashtag c-span. we will read some of those in the next 10 or 15 minutes. in new york, margaret on a republican line. caller: thank you for thank -- taking my call. they did not want to leave any information not as far as -- but
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they let information out from a year to the video. that is ridiculous. -- from a youtube video. i respected rep mike kelly's comment about what did we learn from the lessons from 9/11. back in september 11 of 2001, 11 years later, we're still same boat. a representative of the date that lives in our history. our democrats to lined, and jacksonville, florida. call: i am very dissatisfied. i watched all day, hoping that they would ask more exploratory questions.
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nothing more than political statements that make themselves look good. from what i thought -- we have four americans died to save our lives, to protect our freedoms. this panels arrogance is said to disrespect to those lives. it amazes me. you have an ambassador who served under political administrations of both parties who could care less about which party, and yet they made statements that were inflammatory and subject to questions about their authenticity. all they want to do was grandstand. i heard very few questions trying to figure out what went wrong. it was all about, and we got you now, it is political season. that is what i got from it. host: at over four hours, we will give you a chance to see it
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all again tonight at 9:00. we will show you a portion of today's hearing on c-span. washington is next on independent line. >> i totally disagree with the previous comment from the democratic line. i am a retired navy wife and after 9/11 in 2001, my five- year-old watched the second plane hit. we have been told to be vigilant. we are to be watchful, and be prepared for anything that can happen close or around 9/11. i am absolutely appalled she would have the audacity to put up publicly that she took people away the were protecting state department employees. the ambassador and the three
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gentlemen that were killed, there were no reason for it. colonel wood and mr. nordstrom should be commended for coming forward and bring in what they felt needed to happen out there level on the ground. as a retired navy wife and a daughter of a naval officer, i do not understand why the american public, democrat or republican, do not get it that we cannot allow our politicians and statesmen to step aside and ignore what the military on the grounds are telling them. i came away with mr. nordstrom and i was in tears because my husband had put in for state department on to opportunities during his military career. and i am sad to think there are people like ambassador kennedy,
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ms. lamb, hillary clinton, who will put our service members in harm's way. when his parting comment was the taliban is inside, and america, wake up. host: she talked about ambassador lam,b who was questioned closely about the requests made in libya for more security. here is represented asking the ambassador about that. >> the problem i have is that the state department is basically saying, mr. nordstrom did not do his job. he did not make a formal request. the ambassador did not make -- to his job. that is what you were standing behind here today. there were five people there, therefore.
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a compound owned by us and serving at the consulate was breached less than 60 days before the murder of the ambassador in the facility. isn't that true? >> we have the correct number of assets in benghazi at the time of 9/11. for what had been agreed upon. >> my time is expired. to start off by saying you have the correct number and our ambassador and three individuals are dead because it only took moments to breach the facility, some how does not seem to ring true to the american people. host: all of today's hearing tonight at 9:00. checking some of the tour comments. here is one --
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back to calls, chapel hill, texas. republican line. caller: i lived in libya for several years. we worked for exxon libya. i am so proud of this committee. i am so proud of these two individuals who have spoken up. i am disgusted with the diplomatic people who are there who are playing into the whole situation this white house and this individual -- host: when did you work there? caller: back in the early 1970's. host: thank you for calling and. independent line. caller: in 1996, june 20, in an
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airport in moscow, russia, i was attacked by two tourists when they found out i was american. -- terrorists when they found that i was an american. the russian military is in charge of everything and they take those people and put the matter of the country. paul -- host: how did they attack you? caller: they tried to kill me. host: york tie and today's hearing? -- your tie-in today's hearing? caller: if you are an american, you are dead. host: let's go to our democrats line. caller: i live in new york city.
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on 9/11, this city is crawling with cops. we like it because it makes us feel better because we know, and i have seen and, on 9/11, they're trying to intimidate us. the state department did not know that attack was going to come. it is disgusting. they should know better. host: they did mention of the chairman said he and the ranking republican -- ranking democrat had issued a letter to susan rice for a classified briefing, a classified meeting with the u.n. ambassador. this was part of the white house briefing today. a lot of questions about the issue of the security situation in benghazi.
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>> they're both suggested that there were efforts from the u.s. embassy to have more security in the state department -- and the state department would not let it happen. why? why did the state department listen to these men on the ground in libya who wanted there to be more security? >> as i said, there is no question that the result of what happened to in benghazi is not acceptable, four americans killed is not an acceptable situation. that is what the president moved so quickly to ensure an investigation was launched to bring the perpetrators to justice. a review was launched at the state department to look of our
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security buster -- security posture. those matters are under investigation and they're also being discussed in a public hearing on capitol hill today. what i can tell you is what the president is interested in. he is interested in putting the perpetrators to justice and insuring that we find out what happens, why it happened, and taking steps to ensure that it never happens again. >> you have absolutely no idea why it happened? >> we are hearing on capitol hill today, we have learned a great deal as its investigation has progressed. we have been very clear about what we have known at different stages of this process. and what we have yet to learn. i did stage, at the investigation continues and more facts might be developed.
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the state department officials are on capitol hill today been very clear about what we know now based on the several weeks of investigations taking place. they're making clear the investigation continues and the accountability review board looking into the issues of diplomatic security is continuing its work. i am not prepared to preview the results of the investigation better not yet complete. or to second-guess what the experts in the fields are going to conclude. host: we covered the briefing earlier today. you can find it any time on our video library. a couple of tweets. later in the hearing, on that
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same issue. back to calls, massachusetts, republican caller. caller: thank you. it was very unsettling to hear mr. nordstrom say that he felt strongly that there were not going to get any support at the embassy until something happened. something did happen. four people died. that was very unsettling to hear his assessment. a big mystery to me is why our president of the united states would go before the united nations in the world and make misstatements about what happened and apologized to the world for something that was inaccurate. there was no substance to support this conclusion. i understand the definition of real time.
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i find it difficult to understand ms. lamb that she is falling something real time and following up with the people once they're in the hospital, and it still took them six days to come to a conclusion. their conclusion that it was a movie and not a terrorist attack and the president of our united states went before the united nations and the world and made -- and passed on that same misinformation. host: the president's appearance before the united nations, and we have covered that as well. you'll find that in our video library. let's stick to one more call. alexandria, independent -- let's take one more call. alexandria, at independent line. caller: when incidents occur, the first thing you're going to do is try to investigate.
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if you are not the guys outside of the fence with the rockets, we have no idea who is shooting at us. nobody knows who is shooting at us. it takes time to figure that out. whether it was a coordinated attack, we cannot do that. it is impossible to do. the guys who had been on the ground asking for more security, there are 294 embassies, consulates around the world. i bet you that everybody wants more security. particularly on 9/11. if the government is not willing to pay for it, how can they possibly get it? somebody has to be the decision maker. somebody made the decision that they did not needed, they did
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not make the case for it, that is what we want people to do, review those things. those people on the ground still have a responsibility to manage their own security with what they had. host: thank you for your call. thank you for all the calls. a lot of people commenting at twitter. we will give you a chance to see the entire hearing again tonight at 9:00. it runs over four hours. up next, we will show you a portion of the hearing, at the start of the hearing, the opening statements.
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we have heard it included artificial time lines for removing american personnel and replacing them with local libyans. this occurred as train delays and new threats also occurred. this rush towards a reduced presence of u.s. personnel continued even as a bomb blew a 12-but opening in the wall of this very compound we speak about today. officials in washington told diplomats in libya not even to make them.
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if you make them, they will not be supported. we know it was caused by a terrorist attack that was reasonably predictable and eventually happened somewhere in the world, especially on september 11. in closing, a secretary clinton has empaneled a blue-ribbon board to investigate what occurred. and this work is important. it is much broader for us and for that panel to take up an additional challenge there are hundreds of facilities similar to this around the world. there are thousands of personnel serving this country who could be a target. some of those are high risk and others may be lower risk.
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this committee is dedicated to ensure that security is taken differently than it was leading up to the events. we owe it to our federal employees, who put themselves and their families in harm's way around the world. the history of these panels is they deliver a full and complete results and a pull punches. admiral mullein is no stranger to controversy and getting to the bottom of it. i do encourage all to look at the result of the blue-ribbon panel. today, it is 30 days since the september 11 attack. it is a long time to wait if you are sitting in cairo and algeria and beirut, damascus, and you do not trust that the security measures you need have occurred.
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today we begin the process of saying, they must be able to trust because she must be able to assure them you were doing the work differently than just a short time ago. today we expect full cooperation from our panel and we expect to get to the truth. it will be a much longer time before all the facts are known. we do not intend to flush out all of the facts. we intend to date to ensure that we began the confidence building for our men and women serving this country around the world that we will insure that they be protected. protected more than the perceived threats and never less. i recognize the ranking member for his opening comments and then one additional, the chairman of the subcommittee on national security and his
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counterpart will be recognized for opening statements. all other members will have seven days in order to put their opening statements in the record. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. you grieve the loss of our fellow countrymen. it is not just your side of the aisle. we grieve the loss of them pastorate -- of the ambassador stevens. i believe we should conduct a responsible investigation into the attack on the united states mission in benghazi. we need to carefully investigate allegations that have been made over the past week and we need
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to run them to the ground before we jump to conclusions. we should not be about the business of drawing conclusions and looking for the facts. let me start by thanking secretary clinton and the state department for cooperating fully with this committee. they agreed to all of our witness requests they offered additional witnesses beyond those requested the promptly organized interviews with the department officials and they have been collecting documents. there are several specific allegations i would like to ask the witness is about for example, a former regional secretary in tripoli told the committee there should of been 5 diplomatic agents and benghazi.
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in other interviews, we learned there were five agents in benghazi on the day of the attack. should there have been even more? we will ask him about this and i hope he will be prepared to answer this, since there have been selling allegations in the press saying that there were not. and we will ask the state department for its views as well. another witness, colonel andrew wood said he believes the military stationed in tripoli should have had term extended because of security concerns in libya. just yesterday we learned that this was extended not once but twice. should it have been extended the third time? we need to ask where else was it
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needed and at were its functions being fully served by others on the ground by the time it left the country? we should listen carefully to these and other allegations. we should listen just as carefully to the responses. i am disappointed to say that although the chairman claims we are pursuing this investigation on a bipartisan basis, that has not been the case. for example, the chairman concealed his interactions with the colonel until friday night when he appeared on national television and then refused a request to mcconnell available so we could speak with him to ask him basic questions and prepare for hearings. we cannot even get a phone number. the chairman has withheld documents that were provided to the committee, which is in violation of the house rules. he effectively excluded democrats from a congressional delegation to libya this past weekend and we were told about the trip less than 24 hours before it was to take place.
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it's a shame they are resorting to such petty abuses in what should be a serious and responsible investigation of this fatal attack. the problem is that these acts have denied members of this committee the ability to effectively and efficiently investigate this incident. the members on this side of the aisle are just as concerned as the members on the other side of the aisle. we need to represent 700,000 of these people too. we want to make sure that all the questions are answered. in contrast, on the senate side, every member of the foreign relations committee, democrats and republicans alike, joined in a bipartisan letter to the state department requesting information on the attack. so, what do we do today?
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what do we do today? my goal is to try in some way to put this at partisanship behind us and focus on the security of our personnel at. every two years we put our hands up and swear to protect the people of the united states of america, as members of congress. all of us do that, not just republicans or democrats, but all of us. those people that we promised to protect are not limited to just the folks within our shores and our boundaries of this nation but those people who go out and put their lives on the line every day for us in foreign lands. the chairman has said our committee will examine not only the libya attack but security at outposts across the middle east. mr. chairman, i fully support this effort. if that is our goal, we have to examine the funding. the fact is that since 2011 the house has cuts embassy security by hundreds of millions of dollars below the amounts requested by the president.
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the house has done that. the senate restored some of these funds, but the final amounts were still far below the administration requests. there were far below the levels that we enacted in 2010. mr. chairman, i just heard what you said about making sure that we do everything in our power to make sure this never happens again. i join you in that statement. we can do better. i would like to ask the chairman to join me in doing so. mr. chairman, i ask you to join me in calling on our leaders in the house to immediately consider supplemental funding bill to restore funding for embassy security that was cut by the house over the past few years. according to the joint committee on taxation, we could save $2.5 billion per year just by eliminating the tax breaks for oil companies. even republicans now agree we should do this, including governor romney.
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we could fully replenished these embassy security accounts with just a fraction of that amount. restoring our commitment to embassy security could make a real difference to thousands of americans who serve our country overseas, often in extremely dangerous circumstances, as you just stated. i do agree with you that we should act with the utmost urgency. every single moment count. from this day forward, it's my hope that our committee will pearly investigate this matter in a truly bipartisan manner. because our dedicated foreign service personnel and our nation deserve nothing less. with that i yield. >> i thank the gentleman. i might note for the record that i said this side of the desk relative to all of those in the audience. >> mr. chairman, thank you very much. >> although you did not name a particular rule you say i violated --
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>> we will provide you with that, but we want to get on with the hearing. i promise i will provide that to you. >> with that i would ask unanimous consent that our colleagues, mr. gore backer, and ms. adams be allowed to participate. -- mr. rohrbacher. and now, mr. chafits. >> i believe we have a moral imperative to pursue this. we have four dead americans. we have others that are critically injured. our thoughts and prayers are with those people and their families. we cannot thank them enough for their service and dedication to our nation. and thank you to the people on this panel for participating, because i know you care about people in this country.
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it's a very serious situation. we have to understand how we got here. before 9/11/2012 and after the revolution in libya, there was a tumultuous and difficult situation. i like to enter into the record a document provided to us by mr. eric nordstrom, dated october 1. >> without objection, , so ordered. >> i would like to read the last paragraph of that statement. "these incidents paint a clear picture that the environment in libya was fragile at best and could degrade quickly. certainly not an environment where posts should be directed to normalize operations and reduce security resources in accordance with an artificial timetable."
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of all the things i have seen and read, that is one of the most disturbing. i appreciate the guts of those that stood up and will provide us with information. because it does take guts to do it. i will ask that we have some photographs. broad daylight, june of 2012, a two-car convoy carrying the british ambassador was ambushed military-style with rocket- propelled grenades in benghazi. these pictures seem to be out of order. i'm sorry. there we go. this was an attack literally weeks before when happened in benghazi. next slide. and the next. and the next. and the next. these pictures are of an attack that happened in benghazi. the first was the fish bomb. this was the compound in benghazi before the attack. go to the next slide. the second bombing was an
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improvised explosive device placed on the north gate, a regional mall -- breeching the wall. it was a test and we did not acknowledge it. we pretended it did not happen. it was a terrorist attack on the u.s. assets in libya and it was never exposed. we pretended it did not happen. the third time the terrorists came to attack us, they were even more successful, killing four americans. i personally believe, with more asset, more resources, we could have saved the life of ambassador steven zinda and the other people. -- ambassador stevens. the reason we have those details is mysterious. news outlets were not invited.
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any reasonable person looking at the security situation in libya had to come to the conclusion that it was a tumultuous, at best. i wish i could tell you everything i have learned. i did go to libya. i did drop everything. i had the same type of notice that was given to the democrats. the state department sent an attorney to follow me with every footstep. to suggest you did not have an opportunity to go was absolutely wrong. i wish i could share everything i learned there, but we have to be careful about the sensitive information and sources in a classified setting. i think some of the information the state department has shared has overstepped some of those bounds. let us be careful today to not reveal some of that classified information. it has been too difficult to get basic information. i will tell you that when i was in libya, a good part of the day, never once did a person ever mentioned a video. never.
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i am fascinated to know -- from the president of the u.s. and the secretary of state and the ambassador to the united nations, how they could justify that this video? cost of the video it was a terrorist attack. let's be honest. i look forward to the hearing. and god bless the men and women who serve us. i thank you for being here. and let's always remember those who serve this nation. i yield. >> i thank the gentleman. the gentleman is correct. both sides were informed once we had gotten clearance for libya. with that we recognized the gentlelady from the district of columbia for response. >> the tragic events in benghazi point out the hazards of serving our country go far beyond the military.
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i agree with mr chaffetz that perhaps had there been more resources we might have had a different result. but i must note that while the republican budget increases the budget of the defense department, it slashes the budget that would have protected these diplomats.
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the ambassador chris stevens and three others who died were man of unusual courage and died heroically protecting their mission. the best tribute to the ambassador comes from the mourning in the streets we saw from the citizens of benghazi and libya. it must be said that ambassador stevens did something that you rarely see in diplomatic work across the world. a little more than a few months after the arab spring, he had already established an entirely new and promising relationship between the united states of america and libya. what an extraordinary man he must have been. i thank you, mr. chairman, for holding this hearing this afternoon, even in the midst of a campaign.
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it was and is important to hold a hearing now when memories are fresh. i certainly want to go on record for thinking the state department, especially ambassador clinton, for what the chairman says has been a very open cooperation of the department with this hearing. i want to suggest that when there has been loss of life of this kind in service to the united states, there can be no difference between democrats and republicans in designing a hearing to discover exactly what transpired. that is why i regret that the spirit of bipartisanship and openness that came from the state department has not occurred here in this committee, that there has not
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been the sharing of information and witnesses so that both sides could be prepared to question witnesses and find out exactly what has happened. i yield the remainder of my time. >> i thank my colleague and welcome the witnesses here today. i join my colleagues in expressing the desire for a bipartisan inquiry, and i certainly hope the committee will endeavor to make it generally bipartisan. i regret the fact the trip to libya occurred with no members of this side of the aisle in attendance. i had the privilege of going with the republican chairman of the rules committee to libya in may. it is an unstable situation. it was then, it is now. it is one we americans hope will stabilize over time.
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i certainly hope today's hearing is not going to be perceived as an effort to exploit the tragedy for political purposes 27 days out from an election. i hope it is the down payment of a serious inquiry into how can we make this kind of thing not recur. how can we double our efforts to provide security to the brave men and women who served in the foreign service. how can we make sure we take a fresh look at the resources and make sure we're providing them on a bipartisan basis. no good is done to the security of the united states to politicize this tragedy. i cannot imagine that the late ambassador chris stevens would want us to do that. i hope we will proceed in a bipartisan way and get to the bottom of not only what happened, but what are the forces at work that led to that far beyond just the issue of what we were, but what was the nature and we based in countries like libya post-arab spring.
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thank you. >> thank you. i might note the funding that is currently enjoyed by the state department was voted bipartisan, one more democrat voting for the appropriations than republicans. so, hopefully, we can understand how bipartisan it was. in fact, it was voted by more democrats than republicans. the chair will recognize our panel of witnesses. first of all, lieutenant colonel andrew wood is a member of the utah national guard and i believe department of interior employee. mr. eric nordstrom is a regional security officer at the united states department of state. ambassador patrick j. kennedy is undersecretary of the department of state and a frequent witness.
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mrs. charlene lamb is the deputy assistant secretary for international programs at the u.s. department of state. i want to welcome you and persuant to our rules, i ask that you rise to take the oath. raise your right hands. do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you're about to give will be the truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth? let the record reflect all witnesses answered in the affirmative. please, take your seats. pursuant to our rules and tradition, each witness will have five minutes. please, when you see your time expiring, wrap it up. your entire prepared statement will be placed in the records. i will take a moment only to admonish that colonel wood, we
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got yours fairly late, but we understand this is not a regular schtick for you. for the other administration, i am disappointed. we have a 24-hour rule. ambassador kennedy, it is in, but we would appreciate in the future getting it earlier because i think members on both sides pore over it. with that, we recognize lieutenant-colonel wood. >> thank you. i am a member of the utah national guard with 24 years of service as a special forces soldier. i was mobilized for the winter olympics 2002, afghanistan from september 2003 to may 2004. for counterterrorism work in southern philippines from august 2007 to may 2008. i currently work for the u.s. bureau of reclamation as an upper colorado regional security officer. i am responsible to reclamation
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for security program that oversees 58-significant hazard dams in five western states, one of which is a national, critical infrastructure facility. upon hearing of the death of ambassador stevens, and later the congressional inquiry, i identified myself to the staff as a person with intimate knowledge of the security situation prior to the attack. i was subsequently contacted and began a dialogue with staff investigators. i made a personal decision to come forth with information and do not represent dod or any government agency. i had unique access and placement to many government leaders and agencies while working in libya. i feel duty-bound to come forward in order to inform and provide a portion of ground truth information. i feel a sense of honor for those individuals who have died in the service to their country. i realize much of what -- much
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of my work in libya was entangled in sensitive government work and must be careful not to betray the confidences placed in me. the killing of a u.s. ambassador is a rare and extraordinary thing and requires our attention as a people. as a citizen, i made the determination that this outweighs all other interests. i will risk whatever circumstances may result from my testimony. i served as site security team commander in libya from february 12 to 14 august of this year 2012. i was mobilized from utah national guard in title 10 status and reported to special operations command africa, which serves directly under africom. i was detailed in title 22 status to the department state. the element consisted of 16 members. it is my understanding it was crafted by the national security council to meet the demand security challenges facing the department of state and a requirement to reestablish diplomatic relations with the post gaddafi or free libya.
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the sst bond considerable support. in this uncertain and volatile environment. the mission was to support and answer to the chief mission in libya. i worked directly for the regional security officer. we provided security support, medical support, communications support, for every facet of security that covered the embassy. as the sst commander, at a seat on the country team. i was closely involved in the support for the rso's secure the objective. we lived more together to locations in tripoli and embassy property in benghazi. thw sst supported security but it's for diplomatic officers in and around tripoli and other parts of libya as the work required. on two occasions, i send members to benghazi to support and
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bolster security at that location. the sst was closely integrated with regular diplomatic security agents working directly for the rso as well as other diplomats teams. i traveled to benghazi on two occasions with the rso, once to evaluate a security situation there and once to conduct some work for the defense office. i was there a second time in june when the u.k. ambassadors' convoy was attacked. i responded with agents in order to provide medical and security assistance to wounded u.k. security personnel. i conducted a post attack investigation of the ambush for assault. and i regularly met with and held frequent conversations with the ambassador stevens and other members of the security team. in june when eric nordstrom rotated out, i was a senior member of the country team with the exception of the ambassador stevens. stevens.


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