White House Blames State Department, House Republicans for Lack of Security in Benghazi

October 12, 2012 - 1:47 PM

benghazi consulate

Glass, debris and overturned furniture are strewn inside a room in the gutted U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Backing up Vice President Joe Biden’s claim the previous night about being unaware of a request for more security at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the White House Friday asserted the responsibility lay with the State Department.

“What I am saying, when it comes to the number of personnel, who are in place at consulates and embassies and other diplomatic facilities around the world, those decisions are appropriately made at the State Department by security personnel,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

“When it comes to funding, this president makes sure that diplomatic security is adequately funded, make sure that that funding is restored when efforts on Capitol Hill are made, principally by House Republicans, including Congressman Ryan to slash it in order to cut taxes for the wealthiest 2 percent in this country,” Carney added.

During the Thursday night Vice Presidential debate between Biden and Republican challenger Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Ryan criticized the Obama administration for not responding to requests from the Benghazi consulate for more security prior to the attack on Sept. 11 of this year.

Biden responded, “We weren't told they wanted more security. We did not know they wanted more security.”

Several reporters asked what Biden meant, considering that State Department officials testified to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that they requested more security. Carney explained, “He was speaking directly for himself and the president.”

Ed Henry of Fox News followed, asking if Obama or Biden were ever briefed about the need for more security.

“You are saying from this podium that the president and the vice president have never been briefed about the fact that security was needed in Benghazi. Never at a presidential daily briefing?

Carney responded, “What I’m saying is that matters of security personnel are appropriately discussed and decided upon at the State Department by those responsible for it. Obviously, it is the case that everyone responsible for national security in this administration and those I believe who were knowledgeable about it on Capitol Hill have long been aware of the fact that Libya is a dangerous place.”

Carney later added that during the House oversight hearing, there was no reference to notifying the White House.

“There was a four and a half hour public hearing where the very specifics of requests for security personnel were made, were adjudicated at the State Department. Unless you were listening to another briefing, they never made it past the State Department,” Carney said.

Henry followed again, “It was never in the presidential daily briefing?”

Carney replied, “I’m not going to talk to you, Ed, about the details. I’m saying that matters of personnel are assigned to how many embassies and consulates and other diplomatic facilities are not decided at the White House. They are decided at the State Department.”