Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said he would call himself “surprised” that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not know about an August cable warning of the deteriorating security situation in Libya:
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: When Secretary Clinton testified a few weeks ago that she had a clear-eyed assessment of the threat that we faced in Libya, is that really a credible statement if she didn’t know about the ambassador’s cable on Aug. 15, saying we can’t defend this place.
DEMPSEY: Well, I don’t know that she didn’t know about the cable.
GRAHAM: She said she didn’t.
DEMPSEY: Well, that’s a–
GRAHAM: Are you stunned that she didn’t?
DEMPSEY: I would call myself surprised that she didn’t.
The cable, sent from the late Ambassador Chris Stevens, detailed the security issues the U.S. mission faced:
He said the “absence of significant deterrence has contributed to a security vacuum that is being exploited by independent actors. … Islamic extremists are able to attack the Red Cross with impunity.”
“What we have seen are not random crimes of opportunity but rather targeted and discriminate attacks.”
His final comment in the two-page document was: “Attackers are unlikely to be deterred until authorities are at least as capable.”