His admonishing tone, suggesting members of the panel might have an election year agenda, was startlingly inappropriate. The panel consisted of Col. Andrew Wood, who had been stationed in Libya earlier this year, Eric Nordstrom, who was a regional security officer and had been in Libya earlier in 2012, Charlene Lamb, who is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security, and Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy.
In the course of the four-hour testimony there were some obvious gaps in congressional knowledge of how embassy security operates. As Victoria Nuland pointed out on September 17, internal security (walls inward) is the task of the guest country, and external security (walls outward) is up to the host country, Marine Embassy Security Guard (MESG) is posted at embassies (not usually at consulates) primarily to secure documents not personnel. That task falls under the purview of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security headed by Eric Boswell who testified in camera along with Secretary Kennedy yesterday to the same committee.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (center) and South Sudan Foreign Minister Nhial Deng Nhial (far left) walk to a vehicle escorted by members of her Diplomatic Security protective detail (third from left in striped tie, and right in sunglasses) upon her arrival for her first visit to South Sudan August 3, 2012, at Juba International Airport in Juba. (AP/ Wide World Photos)
The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) is the security and law enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of State. DS is a world leader in international investigations, threat analysis, cyber security, counterterrorism, security technology, and protection of people, property, and information.There were moments of contention, as could have been expected, and too much showcasing by some. Of course, as Issa pointed out at the end, it is a general election year. Directing that remark to the panel, however, appeared ignorant and was certainly arrogant. Three of the four, career Foreign Service officers, are, as the Department of State is, apolitical. They serve, and have served through multiple administrations of both parties and were not there to promote anybody's candidacy. Perhaps the most bizarre moment came when Trey Gowdy (R - SC) appeared to accuse Kennedy of sending White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice forth with erroneous information. (For the record, the under secretary cannot do that.)
So what was all this showmanship during a congressional recess weeks before a general election really all about given that both the FBI and a separate State Department Accountability Review Board (ARB) have investigations ongoing? Perhaps Brent Budowsky at The Hill got it right.
By Brent Budowsky - 2012-10-10 04:03:00 PM ETDon't miss the story in The Hill "Issa closes in on Clinton" about Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) aiming at his biggest target yet, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The story is correct. The Issa strategy will backfire. It will prove to be a disaster. House Republicans, whose brand is not exactly soaring with voters, are making a huge mistake using congressional hearings as a partisan weapon to exploit a national tragedy to attack one of the most admired and respected public servants in the nation.
There is now an independent and nonpartisan investigation of exactly what happened in Libya. A partisan witch-hunt by Republicans using taxpayer money against Secretary Clinton, as a partisan weapon in the closing days of an election, to exploit a tragedy to score political points is exactly what the American people believe has gone wrong with Washington, and is exactly why the Republican brand is in such disrepute with many voters.
One thing is for certain. A national tragedy has now officially been turned into a political football by the party in power in the House of Representatives, the same body that cut the State Department's security budget for two years in a row - coincidentally the two years following a Tea Party coup in the House.
Saying his will undoubtedly tee some people off. Let me remind one and all, this blog has been equally critical of Obama and received angry comments on that account as well. We call them as we see them.
(If you have a burning desire to see your government