Lt. Col. Andy Wood will appear this week at a House Oversight Committee hearing that will examine security decisions leading up to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi. Speaking to CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson, Wood said when he found out that his own 16-member team and a six-member State Department elite force were being pulled from Tripoli in August - about a month before the assault in Benghazi - he felt, "like we were being asked to play the piano with two fingers. There was concern amongst the entire embassy staff."
"They asked if we were safe," he told Attkisson. "They asked... what was going to happen, and I could only answer that what we were being told is that they're working on it - they'll get us more (security personnel), but I never saw that." Wood insists that senior staff in Libya, including Ambassador Stevens, State Department Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom, and himself, all wanted and had requested enhanced security. "We felt we needed more, not less," he tells Attkisson. Asked what response their repeated pleas got from the State Department in Washington, Wood says they were simply told "to do with less. For what reasons, I don't know."
Blog author's comments - In part via the Wall Street Journal - The U.S. ignored warnings of a dangerous situation in Benghazi. Nothing happens because nobody is really paying attention, especially in an election year, and because Libya is supposed to be a foreign-policy success.
When something does happen, the administration's concerns for the safety of Americans are subordinated to considerations of Libyan "sovereignty" and the need for "permission." After the attack the administration blames a video, perhaps because it would be politically inconvenient to note that al Qaeda is far from defeated.
Denouncing the video also appeals to the administration's reflexive habits of blaming America first. Once that story falls apart, it's time to blame the intelligence people and move on. I would guess Obama considers the attack in Libya as what he has referred to as one of those "bumps in the road."