Biden makes liars out of administration's own State Department
This is easily the #1 gaffe of the night and has raised eyebrows in the foreign policy establishment.
Josh Rogin writing at The Cable:
Vice President Joe Biden claimed that the administration wasn't aware of requests for more security in Libya before the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi during Thursday night's debate, contradicting two State Department officials and the former head of diplomatic security in Libya.
"We weren't told they wanted more security. We did not know they wanted more security there," Biden said.
In fact, two security officials who worked for the State Department in Libya at the time testified Thursday that they repeatedly requested more security and two State Department officials admitted they had denied those requests.
"All of us at post were in sync that we wanted these resources," the top regional security officer in Libya over the summer, Eric Nordstrom, testified. "In those conversations, I was specifically told [by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charlene Lamb] 'You cannot request an SST extension.' I determined I was told that because there would be too much political cost. We went ahead and requested it anyway."
Nordstrom was so critical of the State Department's reluctance to respond to his calls for more security that he said, "For me, the Taliban is on the inside of the building."
"We felt great frustration that those requests were ignored or just never met," testified Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, a Utah National Guardsman who was leading a security team in Libya until August.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) released the unclassified cables containing those requests.
Ryan didn't cover himself in glory either on Libya, wondering at one point why Marine guards weren't protecting the life of the ambassador. In fact, the Marines are there to protect the embassy, not to safeguard the ambassador's life. He has a separate security detail for that job.
But Ryan's minor gaffe does not compare to the surprising statement from the vice president. Not only did he disown the State Department narrative on security, he also claimed that intelligence agencies were telling the administration that the attack was related to the anti-Muslim video - this despite widespread reports that the intelligence community recognized it was a terrorist attack within 24 hours of the assault.
But will it matter? In 2008, Biden made the fantastically stupid statement that America and France kicked Syria out of Lebanon. The fact that 2 million Lebanese swarmed into the streets of Beirut demanding that Syria live up to the Taif accords and several UN resolutions that required it to leave Lebanon apparently escaped the notice of our clueless Veep.
Nothing came of Biden's monumental gaffe back then. It is doubtful anything will come of this one.