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Instead Of Security, State Was Buying ‘Volts’

This is an editorial from Pennsylvania’s Republican Congressman, Mike Kelly, via the Washington Times:

Libya security cut while Vienna embassy gained Chevy Volts

Examining the State Department’s misplaced green priorities

By Rep. Mike Kelly | Wed October 10, 2012

In a May 3, 2012, email, the State Department denied a request by a group of Special Forces assigned to protect the U.S. embassy in Libya to continue their use of a DC- 3 airplane for security operations throughout the country.

The subject line of the email, on which slain Ambassador Chris Stevens was copied, read: “Termination of Tripoli DC-3 Support.”

Four days later, on May 7, the State Department authorized the U.S. embassy in Vienna to purchase a $108,000 electric vehicle charging station for the embassy motor pool’s new Chevrolet Volts. The purchase was a part of the State Department’s “Energy Efficiency Sweep of Europe” initiative, which included hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on green program expenditures at various U.S. Embassies.

In fact, at a May 10 gala held at the U.S. embassy in Vienna, the ambassador showcased his new Volts and other green investments as part of the U.S. government’s commitment to “climate change solutions.” The event posting on the embassy website read: “Celebrating the Greening of the Embassy.”

While the embassy in Vienna was going green, the consulate in Benghazi was getting bombed, and little was done to stop it.

Before the terrorist attack that took the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, there were more than 230 security incidents in Libya between June 2011 and July 2012.

Of those attacks, 48 took place in Benghazi, two at the U.S. diplomatic compound and scene of the September 11, 2012, terrorist attacks.

This first attack on the Benghazi compound occurred on April 6, 2012, when two Libyans threw a crude improvised explosive device over the compound wall. Two months later, another IED exploded at the compound, wounding one person and leaving a hole in the perimeter wall large enough for 40 people to run through.

But were they ‘green’ IEDs?

The second attack was linked to the “Brigades of the Imprisoned Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman,” a jihadist, pro-al Qaeda group named after the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The same group was responsible for subsequent attacks on the British ambassador to Libya and the International Committee of the Red Cross, both of which took place in Benghazi just months before the September attack.

And it should be remembered that the return of the ‘Blind Sheikh’ has been a top demand from Egypt’s new President, Mohammed Morsi.

While these steady and increasingly violent attacks on western interests mounted, the U.S. State Department repeatedly rejected requests for additional protection measures for our security teams in Libya…

When Lt. Col. Wood and Mr. Nordstrom surveyed the Benghazi compound’s physical security in March 2012, they said the security provisions were “inappropriately low,” with just one DSS agent available to supervise the 24-hour security. In addition to the DSS agent, the compound was protected by four armed members of the 17th of February Martyrs Brigade and unarmed Libyan contractors employed by the British-based Blue Mountain Group.

According to an employment contract recovered at the Benghazi compound by the Washington Post shortly after the September attacks, those unarmed Libyan contractors were making roughly $4 dollars an hour.

If that was indeed the case, the State Department, using the funds provided to the U.S. embassy in Austria for an electric vehicle charger, could have provided Ambassador Stevens with three additional guards, 24 hours a day, for 365 days, with some money left over.

This is not to argue that having more guards, extending the SST presence, or authorizing the continued use of the DC-3 plane would have prevented Ambassador Stevens’ death, which marked the first assassination of a U.S. ambassador since the 1970s. It does, however, raise a question about the State Department’s spending priorities

As Mr. Nordstrom noted in his Congressional testimony. It wasn’t about the financial cost. It was the political cost. Mr. Obama did not want to admit that the people we had just gone to war to liberate might not love us.

Meanwhile, we have this unsettling report from the UK’s Telegraph:

British firm secured Benghazi consulate contract with little experience

A small British firm based in south Wales had secured a contract to provide security for American diplomatic facilities in Benghazi despite having only a few months experience in the country.

By Damien McElroy, Richard Spencer, Raf Sanchez | 14 Oct 2012

Sources have told the Daily Telegraph that just five unarmed locally hired Libyans were placed on duty at the compound on eight-hour shifts under a deal that fell outside the State Department’s global security contracting system.

Blue Mountain, the Camarthen firm that won a $387,000 (£241,000) one year contract from the US State Department to protect the compound in May, sent just one British employee, recruited from the celebrity bodyguard circuit, to oversee the work…

Other firms in the security industry expressed surprise that Blue Mountain had won a large, high profile contract from the US government. One industry executive said the level of service Blue Mountain provided did not appear adequate to the risks presented by a lawless city.

"We have visited the consulate in Benghazi a number of times and have an excellent relationship with the Americans. Our assessment was the unarmed Libyan guards were extremely poor calibre," said one security source. "The Libyan Ministry of Interior are generally not happy with Blue Mountain and had them on their close observation/target list."

The New York Times last week reported that major security firms with a track record of guarding US premises elsewhere had made approaches to undertake work in Libya but were rebuffed.

"We went in to make a pitch, and nothing happened," a security firm official told the newspaper…

US congressional investigators have told the Daily Telegraph that consular staff had reported Blue Mountain guards to the Libyan police on one occasion last year. The diplomats believed that two disgruntled Blue Mountain employees were behind a minor pipe bomb attack on the facility.

However after questioning no action was taken by the police or company over the incident…

How reassuring. They sound like they are perfect for the job.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Monday, October 15th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Instead Of Security, State Was Buying ‘Volts’”

  1. GetBackJack

    This, in regular CPA terms, is called cooking the books

  2. Right of the People

    “–And it should be remembered that the return of the ‘Blind Sheikh’ has been a top demand from Egypt’s new President, Mohammed Morsi. –”

    I’d put a bullet in his head and send him back COD.

    I wonder who they’ll blame when the Volts spontaneously combust and burn down the embassy.

  3. canary

    So, that’s how Obama got the number of volts with bad batteries sold in last 3 years up to 125,000 at.




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