The Cable

Log Cabin Republicans disavow ad with picture of dead ambassador

The national organization of the Log Cabin Republicans is disavowing an ad sponsored by its Broward County chapter that featured a photo of the body of Amb. Chris Stevens following his murder on Sept. 11 and accusing the Obama administration of failing to protect gay Americans.

"We reject that ad absolutely. That ad that was run the Broward County chapter. It does not represent the views of the Log Cabin Republicans," Log Cabin Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper told The Cable today. "I'm stunned."

The ad plays into the original erroneous reporting that photos from the night of the attack showed Benghazi residents dragging Steven's body through the streets triumphantly. Official accounts say that the residents took Stevens to a local hospital, where doctors tried to resuscitate him, and a video later surfaced of Libyans discovering his body amid the charred debris of the consulate, believing they had rescued him.

"If the Obama administration isn't going to protect Gay/Gay-friendly American citizens from the terror of Islamic radicalism, what makes you think they will protect us from Shariah law... anywhere?" the ad reads. "Support Israel in this hour of darkness. Vote Republican!"

Cooper said the Broward County chapter sponsored the ad without consulting the national organization, that other local chapters were also disavowing it, and that the national headquarters has already been in touch with the Broward County chapter to voice its displeasure.

Cooper said that as an Army veteran and former diplomat, he was personally embarrassed by the ad and was embarrassed to have to explain it to two pro-Israel, pro-gay rights officials he knows personally, Israeli Amb. Michael Oren and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), whom he has worked for in the past.

"This wrong on so many accounts. As a conservative organization, we feel there are plenty of reasons to vote Republican to support U.S. interests and human rights abroad. That ad in this publication was fallacious, grossly inappropriate, and irresponsible," Cooper said.

"They were trying to show their support for Israel and get people to the polls, but this is not the way to do it."

The Cable

White House: Obama and Biden were never aware of requests for more Benghazi security

Vice President Joseph Biden speaks only for himself and President Barack Obama, and neither man was aware that U.S. officials in Libya had asked the State Department for more security before the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, a top White House official told The Cable.

Biden has come under fire for saying at Thursday night's debate, "We weren't told they wanted more security. We did not know they wanted more security there."

The Cable asked Deputy National Security Advisor for Communications Ben Rhodes whether Biden was speaking for the entire Obama administration, including the State Department, which acknowledged receiving multiple requests for more Libya security in the months before the attacks. Rhodes said that Biden speaks only for himself and the president and neither of them knew about the requests at the time.

The State Department security officials who testified before House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa's panel Wednesday never said they had made their requests to the president, Rhodes pointed out. That would be natural because the State Department is responsible for diplomatic security, not the White House, he said. Rhodes also pointed out that the officials were requesting more security in Tripoli, not Benghazi.

"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 [Site Security Team] 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.

Issa released the unclassified cables containing those requests.

At Thursday night's debate, Rep. Paul Ryan seemed to suggest that the requests were for Marines to go to Libya, which was not the case. The requests were to extend the tours of a Mobile Security Detachments [MSD] and the Site Security Team [SST] at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, which are teams of military personnel, not Marines, who can help protect an embassy and its personnel.

"What we should not be doing is rejecting claims for calls for more security in our barracks, in our Marine -- we need Marines in Benghazi when the commander on the ground says we need more forces for security," Ryan said. "There were requests for extra security. Those requests were not honored."

In his prepared testimony, Nordstrom said that "because of Libyan political sensitivities, armed private security companies were not allowed to operate in Libya." Instead, the Benghazi mission, through a British company, hired unarmed Libyan guards to work inside the compound and a local Libyan militia patrolled the exterior of the compound.

Ryan also erred when he criticized the State Department for assigning Marines to protect the ambassador in France but not Amb. Chris Stevens, who died in Benghazi on Sept. 11.

"Our ambassador in Paris has a marine detachment guarding him, shouldn't we have a Marine detachment guarding our ambassador in Benghazi?," Ryan said.

According to the U.S. Embassy Paris website, there is a Marine Security Guard Detachment in the embassy, but they are there primarily to protect classified information and are not part of the ambassador's personal security detail.