Where Was Hillary Clinton's State Dept. on the Eve of Benghazi?
The question of what Hillary Clinton's State Department was busy with during the days and weeks before the September 11, 2012 terrorist strike in Benghazi, Libya needs to be asked insistently and often. What was happening at Foggy Bottom as Islamic terrorists planned the murder of United States Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and other Americans?
We now have part of the answer.
At least some of the State Department's attention (and funds) were being spent on organizing international music tours. Clinton's staff was literally involved with fiddles (and guitars and drums) while Islamic terrorists where plotting to attack and burn the American consulate in Benghazi.
Two separate musical concert series were being planned by State at the exact same time when American diplomatic personnel in the Middle East were issuing requests for security to be upgraded at consulates and embassies in Islamic countries. There is now no doubt that their demands were dismissed far too quickly.
The State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has a program, called American Music Abroad, that is tasked with sending American musicians to perform overseas. This year's tour began its concerts in the Philippines on September 11, 2012. For weeks before the attacks, some at State were working on this program.
How much time was spent on security analysis for the Philippines tour is unknown. Parts of the Philippines continue to be unsafe for Americans due to the stubborn insurgency there of al-Qaeda linked group Abu Sayyaf.
The other program the State Department was busy with before the 9/11/2012 Benghazi attack is called OneBeat (SM), started on September 10 in New York. It brings foreign music acts to the United States to tour.
OneBeat (SM) is also a project of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. In 2012, State was scheduled to bring 32 rock musicians from 21 foreign nations to our shores.
One participant in this year's program is from Egypt. How much time is spent screening these foreigners for any ties to terrorist groups is also not known.
In an era of high unemployment and record-setting debt, how much money did Mrs. Clinton's team spend on these music tours?
More importantly, why is State involved in such programs to begin with? What cost/benefit analysis was conducted on these concerts and by whom?
The first mission of the State Department must be to provide protection for Americans abroad. In that Foggy Bottom failed. How many other silly and unproductive efforts was State involved with when the murderers of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens were preparing their attack?
Moshe Phillips is the president of the Philadelphia Chapter of Americans For a Safe Israel (AFSI). The chapter's blog can be found at http://phillyafsi.blogtownhall.com, and Moshe tweets at http://twitter.com/MoshePhillips.