No one has yet to argue that the DC-3 would have definitively made a difference for the four Americans killed that night. The security team in question, after all, left Libya in August.
But the question – both for the State Department, which is conducting an internal investigation, and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is holding hearings next week – is whether officials in Washington, D.C., specifically at the State Department, were as aware as they should have been about the deteriorating security situation in Libya, and whether officials were doing everything they could to protect Americans in that country.
Earlier this week, the chair of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and another member of the committee wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton listing 13 incidents leading up to the attack, ranging from IED and RPG attacks to a “posting on a pro-Gaddafi Facebook page” publicizing early morning runs taken by the late Ambassador Stevens and his security detail around Tripoli.
“Was State Department headquarters in Washington aware of all the above incidents?” they asked Secretary Clinton, requesting written responses by Oct. 8. “If not, why not? If so, what measures did the State Department take to match the level of security provided to the U.S. Mission in Libya to the level of threat?”
The subject line of the email, from Miki Rankin, the post management officer for Libya and Saudi Arabia, reads “Termination of Tripoli DC-3 Support.”
Rankin informs Stevens and the others on the email, whose names have been redacted, that Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy “has determined that support for Embassy Tripoli using the DC-3 will be terminated immediately. Post’s request to continue use of the plane in support of the SST was considered. However, it was decided that, if needed, NEA will charter a special flight for their departure.”