American drones were in the skies above theÂ U.S. consulate in Benghazi as the deadly attack that killed ambassadorÂ Christopher Stevens unfolded, it has been revealed.
Defense department officials consideredÂ sending troops in to rescue the ambassador and staff, according to CBS News, butÂ ultimately decided not to .
They would haven been able to watch theÂ attack on-screen as it unfolded.
The revalations came a day after it emergedÂ that U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens repeatedly pleaded with the StateÂ Department to ramp up his security team in Libya — requests that the PentagonÂ ultimately denied — in the weeks, days and hours leading up to the terroristÂ attack that killed him and three other Americans, newly released cables haveÂ revealed.
Stevens, who was killed in the 11 SeptemberÂ attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, warned the State Department of aÂ ‘security vacuum’ in Libya ‘that is being exploited by independent actors’ inÂ one cable that described rapidly deteriorating securityÂ conditions.
‘Islamic extremists are able to attack theÂ Red Cross with impunity,’ he wrote. ‘What we have seen are not random crimes ofÂ opportunity but rather targeted discriminate attacks.’
Stevens said the attackers would not beÂ deterred ‘until authorities are at least as capable.’
Just hours before his death, he sentÂ theÂ Pentagon a cable describing ‘expanding Islamist influence in Dema,’ a town eastÂ of Benghazi, and said he was seeing a ‘troubling increase inÂ violence andÂ Islamist influence.’
Stevens recapped a meeting in whichÂ theÂ commander of Benghazi’s Supreme Security Council told him there isÂ ‘growingÂ frustration with police and security forces.’
The cables were released byÂ Republican Rep.Â Darrell Issa of California, the chairman of the U.S.Â House Oversight andÂ Government Reform Committee, which is investigatingÂ the security mattersÂ surrounding Stevens’ death and questioning whetherÂ the State Department couldÂ have prevented the deadly attack.Â
Less than three weeks ahead of theÂ presidential election, Republicans are using the cables to attackÂ PresidentÂ Obama on his foreign policy, despite the State Department’sÂ claim that it wasÂ solely responsible for the decisions to deny Stevens’Â requests for moreÂ security in Libya.
‘These critical foreign policy decisions areÂ not made by low orÂ mid-level career officials — they are typically madeÂ through aÂ structured and well-reasoned process that includes the NationalÂ Security Council and the White House,’ Issa wrote in a letter to Obama onÂ Friday.
The letter claims that Obama had aÂ politicalÂ motivation in rejecting Stevens’ security requests, since theÂ president wasÂ eager to show improving conditions in Libya after theÂ U.S.-led internationalÂ operation that toppled Libya dictator MoamarÂ Gadhafi.
On Aug. 2, six weeks before StevensÂ wasÂ killed, he requested ‘protective detail bodyguard’ positions,Â calling theÂ security situation in Libya ‘unpredictable, volatile andÂ violent.’
A month earlier, he requested thatÂ the StateÂ Department extend his tour of duty personnel, which is aÂ 16-man temporaryÂ security team trained in combating terrorism. TheÂ request was denied and theÂ security team left 8 August.
Stevens had asked for the security team toÂ stay through mid-September.
Colonel Andrew Wood, the leader ofÂ theÂ security team that left Libya in the weeks before the terror attack, told CBSÂ News that Stevens fought hard against losing the team.
‘It was quite a degree of frustration onÂ their part,’ he said. ‘They were — I guess you could say –Â clenched-fist overÂ the whole issue.
Source: The Daily Mail