Prior to a terrorist attack in Libya last month that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff, multiple requests for reinforcements to defend the American mission in Benghazi went unanswered by the State department.
U.S. security officer Eric Nordstrom, who was based in Tripoli until about two months before the September attacks, said Charlene Lamb from the State Department wanted to keep the number of U.S. security personnel in Benghazi "artificially low," according to a memo obtained by Reuters.
Earlier this year, Nordstrom also listed 230 different security incidents that occurred in Libya to bolster his case that the U.S. embassy was not adequately secured. The incidents occurred between June 2011 and July 2012, according to another document.
Meanwhile, the White House is under fire for portraying the deadly embassy assault as a spontaneous protest that turned violent. After a week, and an embarrassing televised response by Obama appointee Susan Rice that placed blame on a video mocking Islam, the White House changed course, and admitted the sustained assault was planned well in advance.
The State Department, and Obama’s foreign policy, will be examined under a congressional spotlight during a House committee hearing on Wednesday. The debate will center on why the American Ambassador and a handful of lightly-armed American security agents at the embassy were not reinforced prior to the assault by militants on the diplomatic mission in Libya's relatively lawless eastern section.
Documents showing agents on the ground in Benghazi requested reinforcements multiple times over a period of months and received no response and in Lamb’s case a denial of a request for additional security does not bode well for Obama’s re-election campaign.
The second presidential debate between Obama and Romney focuses on foreign policy while Obama is on defense after being historically trounced in the first presidential debate.
Nordstrom is scheduled to testify at the congressional hearing Wednesday, as is Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary of state for international programs.
Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood, head of an earlier security support team at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, is also expected to testify.