“We did not know they wanted more security there,” the vice president says. A hearing this week suggested the opposite.
WASHINGTON — During the vice presidential debate Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden said the administration "did not know" that personnel working at the American embassy in Libya had requested more security before the deadly attack on Sept. 11.
As Biden was discussing the attack, Martha Raddatz, the debate moderator, cut in.
"And they wanted more security there," Raddatz said.
"But we weren't told they wanted more security there," Biden responded. "We did not know they wanted more security there."
That assertion runs counter to evidence and testimonies that were presented at a House Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday, where the committee released five memos requesting additional security, and witnesses from the State Department confirmed that those requests had been denied.
During the hearing, Eric Nordstrom, who was in charge of security in Libya for the State Department, recalled his frustration when he tried to request more agents in Benghazi. He told a regional director, he said, that the toughest part of his job was "not the hardships, it’s not the gunfire, it’s not the threats. It’s dealing, and fighting, against the people, programs, and personnel who are supposed to be supporting me."
He added, "For me, the Taliban is on the inside of the building."