Sunday, December 8, 2013

Benghazi security excluded from State Department's frivolous spending sprees

The Weekly Standard reported last week that, in late September, as "the federal government's fiscal year was drawing to a close and the threat of a government shut down was increasing," the State Department agreed to purchase over a million dollars of artistic work to place at several U.S. embassies and consulates around the globe. The purchases, part of the State Department's Art for Embassies program, included a granite sculpture produced by Irish-born artist Sean Scully, at the cost of $1,000,000, which will be installed at the new U.S. Embassy in London.

The Weekly Standard noted that "although the form of the Scully sculpture is not identified in the award notification, the artist has produced granite sculptures before, including this one entitled "Wall of Light Cubed 2" in 2008 - or, as Front Page magazine calls it, "A pile of rocks".

It is worthy to note, that in the aftermath of the Benghazi terrorist attacks, the State Department initially cited budget concerns as the reason it did not respond to requests for additional security at the U.S. consulate in the months prior to the attacks. And yet, Front Page Magazine notes, the State Department didn't have any budgetary concerns when it spent, and squandered, a $1,000,000 for "a pile of rocks."

Moreover, the Weekly Standard reported that the State Department's 2013 budget request included a total of $2.5 Million for the Art in Embassies program.

Bloomberg news noted last year that "through the State Department’s art-in-embassies program, US ambassadors can surround themselves with the finest works of art." Bloomberg also noted that many US ambassadors, who were appointed by President Obama, received their appointments as payback for the huge amounts of cash they brought in to Obama's Presidential campaign coffers. Hence, it certainly goes without saying that, on the basis of their campaign-bundling activities on behalf of Obama, the aforementioned ambassadors are clearly deserving of being surrounded by the finest works of art - or, the finest pile of rocks.....

On the flip side, it is highly doubtful that any of the four Americans killed in the Benghazi attacks brought in any significant amounts of cash to Barack Obama's presidential campaign, hence there was clearly no reason to surround these people with the finest security - or even adequate security.

But truth be told, the State Department's decision to deny requests for additional security in Benghazi had nothing to do with budgetary concerns, but rather it was due to various other motives:

1) As others have noted previously, Gregory Hicks, the former State Department deputy chief of mission in Libya, testified to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee earlier this year that one of the primary reasons why ambassador Chris Stevens traveled to Benghazi prior to the attack was because the Obama administration, according to Stevens, had plans to convert the temporary facility in Benghazi to a permanent State Department facility - and Stevens traveled to Benghazi to help facilitate those plans.

And thus, the State Department was reluctant to comply with the request to send additional security personnel to Benghazi to defend against the increasing al Qaeda threat, because it would have most certainly stonewalled the administration's plans to establish a permanent presence there. If the increasing threat of al Qaeda, in Benghazi, required additional security personnel, how could the Obama administration proceed with its plans to establish a permanent State Department facility there? How could the Obama administration make the case that setting up a permanent and larger facility was a safe, feasible and viable plan?

2) The Obama administration, on a number of occasions, has expressed a reluctance to take necessary action in Benghazi for fear that such action might not sit well with the new Libyan government. Hence, sending additional security personnel to the US consulate, which already had a Libyan security presence there - albeit a Libyan security presence with ties to militants - was something the Obama administration was not keen on doing because it might agitate the Libyan government.

There are additional motives that we can add to the mix. But the bottom line is the budgetary concern cited by the State Department was clearly nothing more than a lame excuse for denying Ambassador Stevens' urgent requests for additional security.

Here are a few more examples of the State Department's unnecessary and frivolous spending sprees:

Frontpage magazine notes that the Obama administration is spending millions of dollars to help rebuild Islamic mosques and minarets in 27 different countries.

According to the State Department, the aforementioned projects are  “cultural preservation” projects designed to “fight Islamic extremism by building relationships with Islamic leaders.”

Judging from the fanatical, extremist leaders that Obama has chosen to rebuild relationships with, it is clear that the tax-payer money being squandered on these kind of projects is money well-spent. Ahem. Heh....

Frontpage Magazine also notes:

"While the State Department was busy repairing Egyptian mosques, scores of Egypt’s Coptic Christian churches were being burned down by Muslim mobs....

"In 2010 the State Department provided monetary support for saving three mosques on Zanzibar Island off the coast of Tanzania... That generous American donation was repaid in July 2012 when Muslim mobs, shouting, 'Away with the church — we do not want infidels to spoil our community, especially our children,' burned down three Christian churches on Zanzibar Island."

"In 2011 the State Department provided funds to restore the 15th century Gobarau Minaret in Katsina State in Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north, an area which has become a virtual killing field for Christians at the hands of Muslim militants, led by the al-Qaeda-linked terror group Boko Haram.

"Since 2009 over 288 Christian churches in Nigeria have been burned, thousands of Christian-owned homes destroyed, and over 2,000 Christians killed, including in July 2012 when fifty members of a northern Nigerian church were burned to death in their pastor’s house."

And, apparently the State Department has an affinity for booze expenditures too:

Fox News reported:

"The department spent about $180,000 on alcohol in September and $400,000 in all of 2012, three times the $118,000 spent in 2008.

"The booze tab reportedly has risen every year since 2008, but the end of fiscal 2012 saw a particular spike. Part of the reason could be that, toward the end of the year, federal agencies often try to spend what's left in their budgets in order to reduce the risk that Congress will target them for cuts.

"Records for U.S. embassies show that alcohol spending went up at American posts around the world. The purchases included nearly $16,000 for bourbon and whiskey in Moscow, and more than $22,000 for wine in Tokyo...

"[State Department Spokesperson Marie] Harf said that the September alcohol purchases were made after the department's fiscal operating plan was approved by Congress, which coincidentally ended up being right before the partial government shutdown."

But of course, booze, and the fine art works that surround Obama's campaign-bundling US ambassadors, and the Islamic Mosque restoration projects are far more important than the lives of four lowly American citizens in Benghazi - especially when these American citizens went to Benghazi for the sole purpose of helping Obama rebuild a new Libya - a new Libya, which, unfortunately for the four dead Americans, is being dedicated to the Al Qaeda movement and to the Al Qaeda flag.........