by MEREDITH DAKE | 3 Nov 2012
Accountability Review Board (ARB) to investigate the murders of U.S. diplomats and intelligence gatherers in Benghazi, the State Department has been tight-lipped on any developments discovered by news agencies. That changed this week when a State Department official went on the record in an attempt to explain some of the decisions by the State Department in response to the consulate attack.
While the Administration claims they have been stonewalling reporters’ questions because there is an ongoing investigation, frustrations are growing because of the fact that an explanation to already widely-reported events and cables could not possibly interfere with an investigation about unknowns in the aftermath of Benghazi. Is the Administration stonewalling reporters to keep the integrity of an investigation, or is this just a stall tactic because an election is only days away?
Fox News has reported that in the critical response time after the Benghazi attack that senior counterterrorism officials felt “cut out of the loop” and that decisions were “isolated” to “the most senior level.” These officials told Fox News that a FEST team (Foreign Emergency Support Team) should have been deployed immediately because it would have helped the FBI gain access to the consulate much faster. State Department spokesman Philippe Reines explained to Fox News, off camera, that a FEST team is only one “resource” of the State Department, and that one wasn’t called because the embassy in Tripoli was able to operate normally.
This has frustrated reporters because the Administration has now given an official, on the record, statement but refuses to comment further on anything, especially on camera.
Read the exchange below: