The Next Benghazi
At approximately 9:40 PM, on September 11, 2012, a culmination of bureaucratic failures materialized as members of a terrorist organization known as Ansar al Sharia attacked the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. That attack resulted in the deaths of US Ambassador to Libya John Christopher Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith. As the attack continued, the CIA Annex in Benghazi also fell under attack and Global Response Staff (GRS) employees, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, subsequently lost their lives in the defense of the compound. This tragedy was preventable. The sad reality was that anyone paying attention to the developments in Libya was not surprised by this attack. Appropriate actions should have been taken because of the widespread prior knowledge of the growing threat in Libya. The specific time and date of the attack may not have been known, but US Department of State employees readily acknowledged for months in advance that "it was only a matter of time." Further, in the months prior to September 11, 2012, numerous attacks were conducted against foreign missions in and around Benghazi proving the area was becoming increasingly hostile and dangerous.
Today, it appears that if the State Department had learned any lessons, it has now forgotten them. A new threat has emerged that the Department is woefully unprepared to combat. If not effectively countered, the US will be dealing with another Benghazi moment in the near future. This isn't because the Department hasn't been warned. This is because the Department has willfully chosen not to take appropriate aggressive action. The proof of this is evident. To date, there is not a global program in effect to combat this threat and those that have tried have been effectively told to "stay in their lane." Like in 2012, the Department is still failing to accurately predict future threats in a way the Department can and will take timely action. "After the fact," is not how a national security policy should be implemented. Unfortunately, it is only a matter of time before we experience another Benghazi.