WASHINGTON — Republicans on the House oversight committee charged on Tuesday that officials in Washington turned down repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi, Libya, before the fatal attack on the diplomatic compound there last month.
In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, leaders of the committee listed more than a dozen episodes, several of them violent, in the past six months that they said formed the basis for repeated requests by the diplomatic mission in Libya for more security resources.
“Based on information provided to the committee by individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya, the attack that claimed the ambassador’s life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to Sept. 11, 2012,” the letter said.
“Multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed to the committee that, prior to the Sept. 11 attack, the U.S. mission in Libya made repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi,” it said. “The mission in Libya, however, was denied these resources by officials in Washington.”
In June, the letter asserts, Mr. Stevens was threatened in a posting on a Facebook page supporting the old regime in Libya.
Other episodes included harassment, beatings, unsuccessful bombings, gunfights and attacks with rocket-propelled grenades, directed not only at Americans but also at other international representatives and the new Libyan authorities.
“Put together, these events indicated a clear pattern of security threats that could only be reasonably interpreted to justify increased security for U.S. personnel and facilities in Benghazi,” the letter said.
One episode cited by the House committee was the firing in May of rocket-propelled grenades at a Red Cross office less than a mile from the United States diplomatic office in Benghazi, an attack that occurred in the early-morning hours and caused no casualties. A Facebook posting that claimed responsibility said, “We announce that Libya is an Islamic state,” adding, “Now we are preparing a message for the Americans for disturbing the skies over Derna,” a port city in eastern Libya.